RPI Author Mike Mochizuki: Abe Needs to 1st Focus on Japan-South Korea Ties
Dr. Mike Mochizuki, Identity and Power in Asia project co-director and associate dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, offered his thoughts on Japan-South Korea relations during a recent interview with The Japan Times. Before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moves to reinterpret his country’s Constitution to allow greater flexibility on collective self-defense issues, Mochizuki stressed Tokyo needed to revive ties with Seoul.
“My judgment is that there’s no need to hurry about reinterpretation,” he argued, noting “it’s not the right timing because the relationship between Japan and Korea has been bad.” Despite domestic political considerations, Dr. Mochizuki warned that South Korea could respond negatively to a sudden increase in Japanese military capabilities and missions. South Korean leaders may try to isolate Japan by supporting Chinese criticism of the island nation.
If handled correctly, he concluded greater flexibility on individual and collective self-defense could benefit international security. Japan’s modern aversion to military force “would be good if Japan became a full-fledged member of the international community” as it would “provide some restraint on the United States,” Mochizuki said.