Japan’s response to terrorism post-9/11

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In responding to the 9/11 attacks on the US, many liberal democracies substantively expanded the scope of the criminal law as well as the investigative powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. In some cases, constitutional rights have been curtailed or even suspended. In Japan, however, no significant changes to the Criminal Code or the Code of Criminal Procedure were enacted as a result of 9/11. Although legislative measures related to terrorist financing were introduced to ensure that Japan complied with obligations in international law and some controversial changes were made to immigration procedures for foreign nationals, no comprehensive anti-terrorism law of the kind passed in many other jurisdictions was enacted. In fact, the principle legal instrument for countering terrorism, the Subversive Activities Prevention Law, was not amended in spite of various well-documented deficiencies. At first glance, the Japanese response to 9/11 appears to be a controlled one, at least when compared with other states. And yet, although Japan’s response to 9/11 has been relatively uncontroversial insofar as it relates to domestic counter-terrorism law and policy, 9/11 did instigate a significant shift in Japanese legal and political culture. However, unlike many jurisdictions where discussion of counter-terrorism focused on balancing the civil liberties of suspect populations with national security interests, the Japanese debate primarily involved a different issue, namely what is an appropriate military contribution for a sovereign nation to make in the global war on terrorism. More practically, this has meant delimiting the role for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in counter-terrorism operations overseas, particularly in Afghanistan.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Anti-Terrorism Law and Policy
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781139043793
ISBN (Print)9781107014671
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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