Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies major in Asian Studies


College of Liberal Arts


International Studies

Thesis Adviser

Charmaine Misalucha Willoughby

Defense Panel Chair

Dennis D. Trinidad

Defense Panel Member

Benjamin San Jose
Darren Mangado
Jazmin B. Llana


This research argues that the Japan Self Defense-Forces combat capabilities are evolving while at the same time being shaped by Japans domestic antimilitarist norms as well on-going yet salient external defense imperatives. The JSDF during the second and current term of Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saw further bolstering of its warfighting capabilities in light of Chinas steady growth of military activities in East and South East Asia, the continuing belligerent behavior of North Korea, and also keeping Japans alliance commitment with the United States. Seeing how antimilitarism in Japan has been the restraining factor of the normalized modernization for the JSDF, there are two approaches that can explain how these polarized factors make the JSDF unique in its defense capability development. On one hand, the framework of Constructivism can explain how social norms set the limits on a states military/defense capabilities. On the other hand, certain aspects of Realism, like the balance of threat and strategic projection can explain how Japan manages to be a formidable defense force despite domestic constraints. With that, this study is divided into five parts. The first chapter serves as the background of the topic, and thus contextualizes the subject matter. The second chapter discusses the role of Chinas military modernization to the JSDFs capability development. The third chapter around the threat of North Koreas belligerent missile tests also affect the JSDFs capability development. The fourth chapter examines the challenges of the Japan-US defense alliance as a driver for the JSDFs capability development. The last chapter concludes and offers the future research prospects.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer disc ; 4 3/4 in.


Japan--Armed Forces; Japan--Foreign relations--China; Japan--Foreign relations--North Korea; Japan--Foreign relations--United States

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