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Japan’s deep-right has more tongue than teeth

Those around the region who fear that shadowy conservative forces are rearming a resurgent, neo-Imperialist Japan would have found no comfort in viewing the cover art of Tokyo’s 2021 defense white paper.

It’s a striking design: a black ink image of a grim warrior pulling on the reins of a charging steed drawn by an artist noted for his work in manga.

Given the military history of Japan, the rendering of a mounted samurai might be considered appropriate for the subject matter of the white paper, released on July 13. But a glance at the Japanese Defense Ministry’s archive of white papers makes clear how different this year’s martial cover illustration is from its more genteel successors.