This article was originally published by the East-West Center in the 277th edition of the Asia Pacific Bulletin on 19 August, 2014.
The major ally of the United States in the Asia Paciﬁc, Japan, has undertaken repeated reforms since the end of the Cold War and especially since the collapse of its economic “bubble’ in the early 1990s. These have spanned the country’s electoral, administrative, educational, and security sectors. Although some of these changes have been potentially transformational, many have been largely transitional. Cautious incrementalism has largely won out over bold renewal.