Japan, in responding to US expectations for support in the 'war on terror', has displayed a degree of strategic convergence on global security objectives, thus prompting policy-makers and observers to dub it the 'Great Britain of the Far East'. This article argues, however, that Japan is far from assuming this role. For Japan, the 'war on terror' serves more as a political pretext for legitimating long-planned changes in military security policy that are often only marginally related to the US's anti-terrorism agenda. Instead, Japan has focused much more on using the terror threat rationale as a means to push forward its response to the regional and traditional security challenges of North Korea and China, even if at times it attempts to depict both as 'new security challenges' or as involving elements of counterterrorism. The final conclusion is that US military hegemony may be weakened by Japan's and the Asia-Pacific's potential divergence from the US global security agenda
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