Sunday, November 27, 2005

Japanese military again?

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the ruling party in the past 50 years in Japan, proposed a Constitutional change that could allow Japan to take a more assertive role in international military activities. Does anyone here immediately feel a bit scared and remember the WWII, Kamikaze, the Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Empire and what it did to many Asian countries, and A-bombs? You are not alone.

The proposal would give an official role to Japan's armed forces, allow them to assist military allies, and participate in armed international peacekeeping missions. In fact, a current domestic self-defense force will be promoted to a “military” and called something like “self-defense military” (This is my translation). The proposal mentions that this military would be used for peacekeeping missions, but I am concerned that it might eventually lead the country more aggressive military activities in the future.

Since the WWII, Japan has been proud of its pacifist Constitution, renouncing war and preventing the country from using aggressive military force in any international dispute. It has also helped Japan to rebuild diplomatic relationships with the neighbor Asian countries. In addition, with this Constitution, the nation was able to spend tax money to recover its economy after WWII rather than spending it for arming again.

This Constitutional change, bringing back the Japanese military, could jeopardize Japan’s hard-won relationships with its neighbor countries and risk its economy that has already been pressed under the long-lasting recession. Scary ….



Maria Elisa said...

Even if it is a bit scary to contemplate, it all boils down to sovereignty. They have a right to a standing army whether we like it or not.

False Data said...

If they spend anything close to U.S. percentages (estimates of which seem to range from "almost 20%" of the federal budget to 30% or more ) they'll take a pretty big economic hit.

As for sovereignty, I agree they have that right, but I'm not sure it's that simple in practice. For instance, it's hard to justify an invasion of Iraq on a sovereignty analysis alone. You pretty quickly find yourself talking about whether or not intelligence indicates terrorst activities, and so on and so forth.

Anyway, we may soon get a chance to find out how China and Korea think about the sovereignty issue.