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Threat perception and the role of security entrepreneurs explaining the reinforcement of the US-Japan alliance since 1995 Omukai, Asako

Abstract

The US-Japan alliance and security cooperation between Japan and the US has been visibly strengthened since the middle of the 1990s. It is often argued that this strengthening of the alliance took place in response to growing security threats in the region. This thesis argues that security threats alone do not provide a sufficient explanation, and proposes an alternative explanation for the strengthening of the alliance. The alliance has been strengthened by domestic actors who used regional threats as opportunities to achieve their goals, which are different from the strengthening of the alliance itself. They attributed the need for security cooperation with the US to growing security threats in the region, and tried to pursue their real goal through the strengthening of the alliance. In particular, a coalition of three types of domestic actors (traditional nationalists, the staff of the Prime Minister's Office, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) has formed in the late 1990s. I named these actors "security entrepreneurs." The strengthening of the US-Japan alliance has become a focal point for cooperation among these domestic actors who are pursuing their own domestic goals in the process.

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