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Japan Faces an Uncertain Asia: Abe's Bold Vision for the Future

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La Trobe University - City Campus

Teaching Room 4, Level 20

360 Collins Street

Melbourne, Victoria 3000

Australia

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Japan has a challenging future. Its population is declining, the economy remains anaemic while the country’s security environment is extremely challenging. North Korea presents an existential threat, and China’s growing military power threatens the country’s long-term interests. Even though it is an affluent country the restrictive constitution forced on it after World War II places limitations on Japan’s military and makes it dependent on its ally, the United States.

The prime-minister, Shinzo Abe, is pushing for constitutional reform to alter this, and while many in Washington would welcome Japan’s assistance to maintain regional order, it is a polarising proposal. Domestically Japan is split at the prospect of becoming a military power, despite maintaining a sophisticated defense force among the world’s top-ten in military budgets.

Is the region ready for a Japan that can freely flex military muscles? How might China respond? And what impact would a more strategically influential China mean for Asia and the world?


In this discussion two experts try to provide answers to these questions.

  • Murray McLean is Chair, Australia Japan Foundation (since 2012); a non-resident Fellow at the Lowy Institute (since 2014) and Chairman of his family company, Dunmore McLean Pty Ltd. Formerly a senior officer of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), he retired in 2012 after a 42 year career during which he was Ambassador to Japan (2004-2011)
  • Professor Nick Bisley is the Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University.

A light lunch will be provided from 12.00pm (please contact the organiser if you have any dietary requirements)

The discussion will start promptly at 12.30pm.

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La Trobe University - City Campus

Teaching Room 4, Level 20

360 Collins Street

Melbourne, Victoria 3000

Australia

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