• The Consequences of a Newly-Militarized Japan

    September 2, 2015

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Hooper's War, Military

    925012-japan-self-defence-forces-day

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing through legislation to give his country’s military the power to strike offensively for the first time since the war.

    It is hard to understate the potential impact of this development.



    The What

    Domestically, Abe is putting his own job on the line. Voters oppose the new legislation roughly two to one, opposition parties walked out of the vote in protest and the government’s support ratings fell to around 40 percent. The lower house of parliament’s decision to approve the legislation set off the largest demonstrations in Japan since the Fukushima nuclear accident; a crowd of 100,000 people gathered with signs reading “Abe, Quit.”

    Abe took this action knowing that 55 years ago similar protests forced his grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, out of the prime minister’s job after he rammed a revised U.S.-Japan security pact, seen as too militaristic, through parliament.

    Abe’s move is also darkly symbolic both in and outside Japan.

    Most Japanese remain proud of Article 9 in their postwar constitution, through which they became the only nation in modern times to renounce the use of offensive force. Abe’s walking his country away from this achievement represents the end of the last great ideal to emerge from World War Two, and an almost contemptuous disregard for his citizens’ view of themselves.

    In addition, as China contests islands in the seas south of Japan, North Korea rattles its nuclear saber and Japan’s Southeast Asian neighbors remember their own World War Two experiences, the new legislation throws additional fuel onto the coals of East Asian tensions. China’s foreign ministry said the move called into question Japan’s postwar commitment to “the path of peaceful development” and urged Abe to learn the lessons of history.

    Chief among the practical concerns in Japan is that Abe’s legislative end-run around the constitution will block case-by-case debate on the use of the nation’s military.

    For example, Japan’s only post-World War Two deployment of troops abroad, a single battalion to Iraq in 2004 in support of U.S. reconstruction efforts, met intense scrutiny to the point where the government published images of the small arms the soldiers carried, which were to be used only for self-protection, to assure the public of its non-martial intent. A separate, one-time-only law, passed in the wake of 9/11 to allow Japan to refuel American ships in the Indian Ocean, restricted Japanese vessels to “areas where no combat is taking place.”

    The new legislation does not immediately become law. The measure moves to the upper house, where no vote is expected to be taken. After 60 days, the measure will automatically return to the lower chamber, where Abe’s coalition holds a comfortable majority. In theory, the decision could then be challenged in the supreme court as being in violation of Article 9, though the court historically rules in favor of the government.



    The Why

    That addresses the “what.” The “why” remains much harder to discern.

    Abe says the legislation is in response to threats facing Japan, including from China. He also cites the murder of two Japanese hostages by Islamic State, suggesting his military could have rescued them. While these views play well to the ultranationalists who help fund the prime minister’s party, Abe’s critics see them as blather; American security guarantees protect Japan without a (Japanese, at least) thumb in the eye of its neighbors. And even if Japan had the special-forces capability to pull off a hostage rescue, such an action seems well within the intent of Article 9.

    Abe also says that the new legislation would allow Japan to help defend the United States, something his critics feel could lead to entanglements in U.S. aggression against China, or even in the Middle East. Abe’s own arguments about defending Japan aside, one real factor is the United States pushing the leader into a more aggressive stance under the banner of “collective defense.”

    However, the real “why” likely rests deep inside Abe. He has long held a hyper-conservative view of World War Two. He stated, for example, that Japanese leaders charged with war crimes were “not war criminals under the laws of Japan.” American occupiers arrested Abe’s grandfather, Kishi, as a war criminal for his role in the war. Some say Kishi, who helped raise Abe, pressed into his grandson his own dream of remaking Japan as a military power and throwing off the postwar constitution.

    Abe is a politician who found himself powerful enough to act on his own ideas, apart from what many feel are his nation’s legitimate security needs. Abe is apparently willing to pick a fight, risk his job and anger his country, all in service to his own ideology.




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  • Recent Comments

    • Avery said...

      1

      Abe’s approval rating is at 45-40%, which puts him somewhere around Obama. Has Obama “angered his country in service to his ideology”? Come to think of it, I guess so…

      09/2/15 8:56 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      2

      quote”OBAMA is a politician who found himself powerful enough to act on his own ideas, apart from what many feel are his nation’s legitimate security needs. Abe is apparently willing to pick a fight, risk his job and anger his country, all in service to his own ideology.”unquote

      There…fixed it.

      quote”However, the real “why” likely rests deep inside Abe. He has long held a hyper-conservative view of World War Two. He stated, for example, that Japanese leaders charged with war crimes were “not war criminals under the laws of Japan.” unquote

      yeah, and I’m positive there are Germans who still feel the Nazi’s weren’t war criminals under the “laws” that were in effect at the time they murdered 10 million human beings.

      Meanwhile, I’m also positive half of the US feels our current US war criminals were “authorized by law” to perpetrate torture and murder US citizens, notwithstanding the vaporization of a few thousand innocent human beings by Hellfire missiles.

      The reality is this. LEGAL IMPERIALISM is the law, as they can write any goddamned “law” they want.

      09/2/15 9:28 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...

      3

      Except, Dishonest Abe and BS (Bush Shadow) Barry-0 haven’t a single idea that’s NOT a Poppy PNACi $ock-puppet’s PNAC Attack.

      09/2/15 11:40 AM | Comment Link

    • Robert H Stiver said...

      4

      Bruce, I like your comment…as I wish that you had expanded it a bit to such as “Zionism/Zionists,” the “U.S. Zionist Lobby,” the “entangling alliance,” “Israel-Occupied WashDC,” “Illegally Occupied Palestine,” “Christian Zionists”…most, I would that you had included a recommendation to acquire, read and ponder Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment.” There: I’ve done it for you.

      09/2/15 1:28 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      5

      Bruce said…
      “Except, Dishonest Abe and BS (Bush Shadow) Barry-0 haven’t a single idea that’s NOT a Poppy PNACi $ock-puppet’s PNAC Attack.”

      Look. I’ve been trying to decipher your comments for a long long time. Maybe I’m an old fat dummy..but I beg your patience. Please put your comment into a form that a normal human being can consume and evaluate at face value, without having to de-encrypt your meaning. Thanks.

      09/2/15 7:20 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      6

      I second pitch’s request. John Poole Let’s refrain from clever or insider terms.

      09/2/15 7:59 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      7

      John Poole said…

      “I second pitch’s request. John Poole Let’s refrain from clever or insider terms.”

      “Let’s” refrain? umm.. Please..spare me. John, don’t let me rain on your or his clever or insider parade. By all means, don’t let this old fart dictate what you feel like saying. All I meant was if you have to encrypt comments to the point only clever “insiders” GET IT..well..I guess it’s time for me to move on. I haven’t got the time nor the inclination to figure out peoples intent by virtue of obscure abbreviations, connections that only the employees of the DOS would understand, and or clever convoluted phrases interspaced with dollar signs and other insider references that mean diddley squat to a casual reader.

      09/2/15 8:58 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      8

      Bruce may not even know that his phrasing is esoteric to most. He might be off in his own world. I hope not. PVB doesn’t need whackos trolling his site.

      09/2/15 9:19 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      9

      Stiver- one can only go so far with digging into AIPAC’s nefarious affairs and actual Israeli spying on the US without ending up either out of a job, kicked off the island of DC or being “disappeared”. Go ahead and explore-be my guest. Make sure your life insurance policy is paid up.

      09/2/15 9:22 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      10

      Apparently Japan has its own Dick Cheney.

      09/3/15 5:40 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      11

      teri said…
      10

      “Apparently Japan has its own Dick Cheney.”

      No, he’s Cheney’s dick.

      Btw, speaking of dicks, rumor has it Cheney had his third transplant. The last two rejected Cheney because ..you know… Black Dicks Matter.

      (yeah yeah..I know..I just couldn’t resist)

      🙂

      09/3/15 7:21 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...

      12

      “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the (Bush crime family and its minions, such as Obama and Abe). The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power (therein) exists, and will persist.”
      Such rational discourse has obviously had NO impact upon the “public” during the ruinous rise to power of the Bush dynasty, surreptitiously sought since their coup of 11/22/63 (Cui bono?). Even ‘astute’ “linguist” Noam Chomsky admits he can’t find reasoning words to effect enlightenment among the masses. And so, I’ve figured that a Johnny Acronym approach of randomly seeding absolutely wild and crazy words and ideas across our mental wasteland might just work, instead. As my former agency’s motto lamely implores, ‘Essayons’ (“Let US TRY”). Is this explanation sufficiently rational?

      09/3/15 9:30 AM | Comment Link

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