Se­cu­rity bills show Ja­pan’s war­mon­ger­ing men­tal­ity

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

At a re­cent din­ner with high-rank­ing media fig­ures, Ja­panese PrimeMin­is­ter Shinzo Abe re­port­edly said the con­tro­ver­sial se­cu­rity bills he had in­tro­duced in par­lia­ment were aimed at con­tain­ing China, ac­cord­ing to Ja­pan’s Gendai Busi­nessWeekly. OnMon­day, the mag­a­zine re­ported that Ja­pan’s “se­cu­rity bills are tar­geted at China in the South China Sea”. On the same day, the “Anti-war Com­mit­tee of 1000”, a Ja­panese civil group com­pris­ing Con­sti­tu­tion scholars and au­thors, sub­mit­ted a mem­o­ran­dum with more than 1.65 mil­lion sig­na­tures to the Diet, Ja­pan’s par­lia­ment, de­mand­ing that it with­draw the con­tro­ver­sial bill and an­nul the de­ci­sion to lift the ban on col­lec­tive self-de­fense.

Ja­pan’s post-WorldWar II de­fense sys­tem is un­der­go­ing struc­tural changes thanks to Abe, who has been re­lent­lessly push­ing for the pas­sage of the newse­cu­rity bills. By in­tro­duc­ing the bills in the Diet, he is try­ing to lay the le­gal ba­sis for Ja­pan’s mil­i­ta­riza­tion and help the United States con­tain China.

Pre­pared with help of theUS, Ja­pan’s paci­fist Con­sti­tu­tion came into ef­fect onMay 3, 1947, stip­u­lat­ing that the coun­try will not have a full-fledged mil­i­tary or wage a war. Un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion, Ja­pan adopted a de­fenseonly pol­icy which gave its Self-De­fense Forces only min­i­mumpower and for­bade it from en­gag­ing in armed con­flicts or go­ing on over­seas mis­sions. Be­sides, it banned Ja­pan from ex­er­cis­ing the right to col­lec­tive de­fense, which many post­war Ja­panese Cab­i­nets have claimed their coun­try has the right to as a sov­er­eign state.

The pos­i­tive ef­fect of the re­stric­tions was that Ja­pan emerged on the global stage as a “peace-lov­ing coun­try” and ben­e­fited from its newim­age. Also, Ja­pan’s left-wing politi­cians and scholars, and even many of its or­di­nary cit­i­zens, have adopted paci­fism as their motto and made ev­ery ef­fort to pro­tect the paci­fist Con­sti­tu­tion.

But such Ja­panese cit­i­zens’ ef­forts have con­stantly col­lided with the in­ter­ests of hawk­ish na­tion­al­ists, which Abe ap­pears to lead. In­deed, Ja­pan should be al­lowed to make ef­forts to be­come a “nor­mal state”, but it should do so with good in­ten­tions in­stead of ex­hibit­ing a war­mon­ger­ing men­tal­ity.

Claim­ing more than once his de­vo­tion to na­tion­al­ism, Abe seems to be lead­ing Ja­pan away from the path of real in­de­pen­dence de­spite re­claim­ing the right to chart out a de­fense pol­icy by rein­ter­pret­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The new se­cu­rity bills are de­signed to over­turn Ja­pan’s post­war de­fense sys­tem, lead­ing to fun­da­men­tal changes in the Ja­pan-US mil­i­tary al­liance. Should the Diet pass the bills, Ja­pan’s Self-De­fense Forces would no longer be re­stricted by the tra­di­tional de­fen­sive rules. In­stead, they could trans­form into a real mil­i­tary and ex­pand their oper­a­tions across the world. And it is highly likely that Ja­pan will use its right to col­lec­tive de­fense to make il­licit prof­its, for ex­am­ple, by selling weapons to coun­tries in dis­puted re­gions and thus cre­ate re­gional ten­sions.

Ja­pan has reached a tip­ping point on Abe’s ill-con­sid­ered po­lit­i­cal choice, which has been crit­i­cized by an in­creas­ing num­ber of right­eous peo­ple in Ja­pan, in­clud­ing some of his Lib­eral Demo­cratic Party col­leagues. The public ap­proval rat­ing for the Cab­i­net has con­tin­ued to fall, reach­ing an all-time low of 47.4 per­cent since Abe was sworn in as prime min­is­ter for the sec­ond time in 2012, ac­cord­ing to Ky­o­doNews’ latest sur­vey.

But em­bold­ened by the mas­sive ma­jor­ity the rul­ing LDP-Komeito coali­tion en­joys in the par­lia­ment, Abe seems de­ter­mined to force the newse­cu­rity bills through the Diet by the end of Septem­ber.

Abe should know that de­spite not hav­ing any in­ten­tion of interfering in Ja­pan’s in­ter­nal af­fairs, re­gional pow­ers such as China will not sit idle if he con­tin­ues to sabotage re­gional peace. The au­thor is a re­searcher on Ja­pan stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

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