April 18, 2014 Temple University’s Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) Myths and Realities of Japanese Security Policy Narushige Michishita, Ph.D. National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) firstname.lastname@example.org http://twitter.com/#!/NaruMichishita Myth: The SDF is not a military force. Reality: The SDF is a full-fledged military force and one of the most powerful in the world. Myth: Japan is committed to the nuclear-free world. Reality: Japan regards US extended nuclear deterrence as an indispensable element in its security policy. Myth: Japan was a free rider during the Cold War, but it started to play an international security role after the Cold War ended. Reality: Japan started to play an important international security role in the last phase of the Cold War, but its international security role plunged after the Cold War ended. Myth: Japan is moving away from pacifism toward militarism. Reality: Japan is moving away from isolationism toward internationalism. Myth: Japan will start playing a big international security role if the constitution is reinterpreted. Reality: Japan will start playing a slightly more important international security role if the constitution is reinterpreted. Myth: Ballistic missile defense (BMD) is not perfect. Japan’s defense capability against missile attacks would be significantly improved if we possess offensive capabilities. Reality: Offesive capabilities, like BMD capabilities, are not perfect. Conducting effective anti-missile offensive operations would not be easy.