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Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies
Published in Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies, 20 July 2008.
This article examines whether there is an identifiable Gaullist tradition in post-war Japanese security politics and how the security policies of Koizumi Jun’ichirō, a recent Japanese prime minister, compare to such a tradition. The article argues that Gaullism has been a minority tradition in domestic Japanese politics and so its practitioners have often compromised on their goals out of political necessity. Its most distinctive characteristic, therefore, has been its inward-looking agenda, the preoccupation with achieving a domestic political transformation in order to make Japan’s domestic politics more conducive to its agenda. Although Koizumi did not pursue a strategy encompassing all of Gaullism’s goals, he did make great efforts to pursue the Gaullist agenda. More importantly, he followed this established pattern of directing his efforts inward, toward a transformation of Japan’s domestic politics of security.