After Shinzo Abe’s crushing defeat of the opposition in Sunday’s election five Japan experts give their views on what lies ahead for the country – and the region.We need to talk about pacifism. A mature debate about constitutional reform is exactly what Japan needs right now. It’s extremely important, but it’s been largely sidetracked by ideological disagreements from both the left and right. The left insists that the pacifist Article 9 must remain untouched. That’s not a realistic proposition because the world has changed and Article 9 is now something of an anachronism. It’s not realistic to keep it in the current environment, with Chinese ambitions and uncertainty over the US’s willingness to continue contributing to regional security in the way it has done before.It’s unavoidable that countries like Japan and Australia need to contribute more to help keep the status quo in place. I can’t see any country in the region, with the exceptions of China and North Korea, opposing a more normal security stance by Japan. Gone are the days when south-east Asia and Australia were concerned about a revival of Japanese militarism.
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