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Building peace with weapons. Germany’s New Security Policy and Japan’s Take



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    Building peace with weapons. Germany’s New Security Policy and Japan’s Take

    October 5, 2023

    Claus Leggewie, Giessen University
    Hideshi Tokuchi, Research Institute for Peace and Security

    In February 2022, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz proclaimed a Zeitenwende (“epochal shift”) denoting a shift away from close economic ties with Russia and announcing a massive investment in Germany’s defense capabilities. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, these measures were meant to meet the economic and political challenges faced by a country that had previously relied on pacifist politics. They meant no less than a watershed. After 1945, Germany, like Japan, as a defeated nation in World War Two had focused on economic growth and peaceful development. Drawing on a historical perspective of Germany’s “long remilitarization” from the Korean War to the Armed Forces’ missions in Afghanistan and Mali, this talk evaluated what the Zeitenwende means for Germany’s present and future with a particular focus on German security policy. It also assessed how the national, European, and international perspectives for Germany have changed since 2022. Professor Tokuchi  commented on Professor Leggewie’s presentation providing a Japanese view on the changing global security landscape.

    Claus Leggewie is holder of the Ludwig Börne professorship and director of the “Panel on Planetary Thinking” at Giessen University. From 2007 to 2015, he was director of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen where he established the research area Climate and Cultures, the first of its kind in Germany, and founded the Center for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/ GCR21) in Duisburg. From 2008 to 2016, he was a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). In fall 2021 he was Honorary Fellow at the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles. Leggewie received several awards, including the Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse) and the Volkmar and Margret Sander-Prize (New York University).

    Hideshi Tokuchi served as Japan’s first-ever Vice-Minister of Defense for International Affairs from 2014 to 2015, after completing several senior assignments in the Ministry of Defense, including the Director-General of Defense Policy Bureau, of Budget and Equipment Bureau, of Personnel and Education Bureau, and of Operations Bureau. He has been the President of the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS), an independent think-tank in Tokyo, since June 2021. He earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Tokyo in 1979 and his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (M.A.L.D.) degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1986.