Komeito wields influence in major security policy decisions, especially the one that has most Japan-watchers intrigued: constitutional amendment.
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2019 had its share of good, bad and ugly moments, but overall it was a net positive for Japanese security.
As long as the U.S. nuclear umbrella exists, the Japanese government will not have the political impetus to change its policy on nuclear weapons.
The latest resignations are symptomatic of broader Japanese Cabinet politics.
Although he still routinely ranks high among respondents as the top pick for prime minister, the reality is that he still has years before he is ready for the job.
For the first time ever, the Defense Ministery is headed by a prime minister-ready politician.
Once willing to let others take the lead in foreign policy and defense, Japan is now employing a comprehensive security strategy.
If Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lasts for another year or two, Toshimitsu Motegi will be best-postured to succeed him.
Abe demonstrated that he is clearly in the driver's seat, posturing his allies for advancement in the LDP ranks, keeping bandwagoners contained and edging out rivals altogether.
The next step in the evolution of Japanese security practice will involve growing pains, but for better or worse, the Abe administration has demonstrated its willingness to endure some friction to posture against China's steadily increasing presence in the East China Sea.