M-RCBG Faculty Working Paper No. 2012-14

National Security Policy

Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

November 2012


Japan is a major power. It is the world’s third largest economy. Despite its recent performance of relatively slow growth, it retains impressive power resources. It possesses an educated and talented population, highly sophisticated industry, and the most modern military in Asia. While China has nuclear weapons and more men under arms, Japan’s military is better equipped. It also has the technological capacity to develop nuclear weapons very quickly if it chose to do so. Japan faces severe demographic problems with it population projected to shrink to one hundred million by 2050, and its culture is resistant to accepting immigrants. But Japan retains a high standard of living, a highly skilled labor force, a stable society, and areas of technological leadership and manufacturing skills. Moreover, its culture (both traditional and popular), its overseas development assistance, and its support of international institutions provide resources for soft power.

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