Asian Review

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This article examines the functions of the concept of human security in Japans foreign policy. Tracing the process by which Japan internalized the idea into policy formation and public discourse, the article shows that human security as a concept has served multiple purposes in the national quest for appropriate international roles. On one hand, the concept is used to resist the twin forces pulling Japanese roles away from the desirable status quo. These forces are the external pressure for a more active military contribution from Japan; and the domestic constraint against contribution policy in general. On the other hand, the concept of human security also serves as a principled guideline in enhancing Japan's contribution in a way that suits its national identity



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