Through a winding journey European industrial cooperation developed the 4th generation Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet in the early 2000s (Heinrich, 2015). European countries, however, eventually missed an opportunity with the following generation, relying instead on the American-made F-35 Lightning II. Therefore, European states are now eager to make up for lost ground by developing a 6th generation fighter jet. Two parallel projects are underway. Firstly, France, Germany and Spain are jointly working on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), a programme intended to develop a Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS) with a Next Generation Fighter (NGF) at its core. Second, Japan recently joined the UK and Italy in developing the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), a follow-up of the Tempest project similarly intended to deliver a 6th generation fighter.
On 11-12 July, NATO leaders held their annual summit in Vilnius amidst an unprecedented security landscape and high expectations on the steps towards enlargement and the new courses of action to preserve collective defence in the Euro-Atlantic area and states’ resilience and capacity-building. While the Alliance delivered on its core missions (collective security and crisis management), it was not as ambitious and straightforward when it came to more sensitive matters like Ukraine and Sweden’s membership paths, or partnerships in other global regions (e.g., the Asia Pacific).
Following the end of World War Two, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers and administrated by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur. While occupying the nation, the US oversaw the drafting of a new constitution that prioritised democracy, individual freedoms and pacifism. Japan’s shift towards pacifism is enshrined in Article 9 of its Constitution and formed a central part of its foreign policy for decades. This research paper seeks to understand how Japan has shifted away from Article 9 and began the process of remilitarisation. Despite maintaining a small military capability, the Japan Self-Defence Force, Japan has relied heavily on its alliance with the US to protect its interests internationally. In recent decades, Japan has taken further steps to increase the size and strength of its military for defensive purposes but also to protect its essential interests in the Asia-Pacific region.