Date of Award

Spring 1988

Document Type



Political Science & International Relations

First Advisor

Philip Wittman

Second Advisor

Dennis Wiedmann

Third Advisor

Robert Swartout


In many ways, international relations have entered a new phase. The superpowers seem to be moving toward arms control as witnessed in the INF treaty. The United Nations has restored its self-confidence through successful intermediary activities. As recent U.S.-Soviet summits indicate, the climate of detente is reemerging. Japan, however, seems to be going in the opposite direction. In 1988, Japan, regardless of its constitutional restraints, has become the third largest spender on defense only behind the superpowers. The self-imposed ceiling on the defense budget, i.e., one percent of its Gross National Product, was breached in 1986. The Japanese industrialists have been pushing their government for legalizing the sale of arms, Why then is Japan moving toward military expansion when its mentor, the United States, is reducing its defense budget? History has been a dependable source for finding a clue to such puzzling questions as this one. The fundamental theme of this paper is to examine, using the formulation of the Fourth Defense Buildup Plan as a historical case study, how Japanese security policy was shaped in a time of transition through changes in both internal and external contingencies, 2 In order to fulfill this aim, a theory, concerning the way in which a dependent nation maximizes its interest through manipulative tactics and finally evolves into an independent nation, is utilized. While this theory's applicability to a country other than Japan remains unknown until a further study is completed, the theory provides an effective way of looking at the evolution of Japan into a more autonomous nation through changes which it made in handling of its security issues.