Following World War II, the Allies insisted on helping Germany and Japan write new Constitutions. Both prohibited a Military, per se; however, they would each be able to establish a Self-Defense Force, presumably to operate within their own boarders. Over the 70 years since, however, it seems that many other countries have reduced their Military Capabilities, thus relying heavily on the United States for their protection. The resulting Defense Spending has put considerable stress on the U. S. Budget.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a reinterpretation of the Japanese pacifist Constitution, freeing its Military to assume a more assertive role in the increasingly tense Region. Obviously, this was somewhat precipitated by the recent aggressiveness of China and, to a lesser extent, North Korea toward some of its neighbors.
Japan is in a position to use its large population, considerable wealth and technological capabilities in joining in with the U. S. Hopefully, this would also encourage other countries, such as the Philippines and Vietnam to join in, as well. Of course, we can always count on our Mutual Defense Agreements with Australia and New Zealand. The larger, and stronger Alliance, would take away claims by China, North Korea or any other Pacific Enemy that the U. S. is an unwanted outside influence.
The linked article from the International New York Times is as follows: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/02/world/asia/japan-moves-to-permit-greater-use-of-its-military.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMedia&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news. Now, if we can only get Germany–with its similarly substantial resources–to reinterpret its Military Capabilities, that would truly increase the Military Deterrence in Europe. This Legislation would also form closer ties with the U. S., and enable Japan, or potentially Germany, to form mutual-defense alliances with other regional neighbors.
As with Japan, the new role of its Military would still be controlled by the Government, through something akin to Washington’s National Security Council. It would be limited to self-defense and joining the defense of an ally, when an attack on it might endanger Japan. It appears that Japan might then be able to send troops to U. N. Peace-keeping Actions, rather than just filling support roles, as it has in the past.
Washington is all for Japan sharing the current Defense Burden in the Region, as are other friendly countries. As might be expect6ed, China and the Koreas are not receptive to the upgrade in a Japanese Military, since they have memories of past atrocities during World War II.
Prime Minister Abe wanted to go even further in enhancing Japan’s Military Capabilities; however, his Cabinet toned it down due to some yet pacifist feelings among the Japanese People. But, given the time that has past since World War II, and China’s and North Korea’s recent aggressive behavior, most Japanese are in favor of a stronger military. It’s Congress must still clear legal barriers by revising more than a dozen Laws before passage of the Defense Reinterpretation Act can be considered. Final passage of the enabling Legislation might be expected in the Fall.