Last July, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed updating the Japanese Constitution, which had been re-written after World War II. The proposal was to authorize the Land of the Rising Sun to transform its current Self-Defense Force into a full-fledged Military one. Whereas the current Force is only authorized to operate within its own borders, the proposed Military would be able to participate with Allies in defending one another’s countries, and also to join U.N. Peace-keeping Forces.
Given the recent aggressive behavior of China and, to a lesser extent North Korea, an actual Military would provide Japan with some control over its own security. Although some neighbors are anxious about a potentially re-armed Japan, with the rise of China, it might actually provide for a deterrent against the much larger neighbor. At the same time, however, it would enable the Region to use Japan’s large population, considerable wealth and technological capabilities in a mutual defense effort.
The Prime Minister’s Cabinet had toned-down his initial proposal, due to lingering Pacifist tendencies among the Japanese People. Mr. Abe’s plan provided for the Military to be controlled by the civilian government through something akin to the U.S. National Security Council. It was expected to be presented to the Japanese Parliament last fall, for discussion, debate and a potential vote. That initial plan, however, seems to have been dropped, somewhere between the Cabinet and the Parliament.
The only change that Japan has made, so far, is that it has authorized itself to provide non-military aid to other countries’ military, rather than merely humanitarian aid. But, how can providing for non-military aid to a military component be reconciled with the very concept of what an army or a navy is all about? Would Japan really expect to receive an accounting from the other country? During Wartime?
With the recent horrendous executions of two Japanese civilians, by IS, there has been some shift in the public sentiment; however, after 70 years, old beliefs often die hard. Now, also keep in mind that the Japanese people don’t want to go through the horrendous hardships that they endured during War II: sons and husbands lost in War; considerable financial resources wasted; a significant loss of national wealth and, of course, the horrendous impact of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
At the same time, however, that reluctance to have any future involvement in Militarism is anachronistic in Today’s World. Currently, it seems that the U.S. is expected to protect the entire world. But, as other countries have cut-back on Defense-Spending, along with Germany and Japan adopting totally Pacifistic Constitutions, America would not be able to Save the World in the event of another Two-Theater War–similar to World War II. Other nations need to step-up, and do their fair share!
Just think of the potential boost that just re-arming Germany and Japan alone could contribute to World Peace–and potentially help deter China and, let’s say, Russia from attacking. Their combined population, financial resources and technological capabilities would certainly be welcomed by their Allies, in all Regions. The U.S, NATO and other countries would certainly welcome their engagement.
Also, given the hatred that China has for what the Japanese Army did in that Country, during World War II, the island nation may very well be the very first target in any true military aggression. So, the real question that only they can answer is: Will the Japanese Re-Arm?
NOTE: South Korea also still retains a significant mistrust due to the atrocities the Japanese Army committed during its Wartime occupancy. But, in the event of China escalating itself to a Wartime posture, I believe that most other neighboring countries would prefer having Japan’s assistance. In Europe, on the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be a similar mistrust.