Ja­pan launches se­cu­rity coun­cil

Body paves way to strengthen Tokyo’s mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLDREVIEW - By CAI HONG in Tokyo and ZHOU WA in Bei­jing

With an eye on China, Ja­pan es­tab­lished its USstyle Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Wed­nes­day, a move that an­a­lysts said will speed up Tokyo’s pol­icy de­ci­sions re­lat­ing to diplo­macy and de­fense.

The launch marked a ma­jor step in ef­forts by Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe to give the Cab­i­net greater power to strengthen the coun­try’s de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties, said ob­servers.

At a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day, Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Hong Lei urged Tokyo to re­spect the se­cu­rity con­cerns of neigh­bor­ing coun­tries in East Asia, stick to the path of peace­ful de­vel­op­ment and con­trib­ute to peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.

For his­tor­i­cal rea­sons, all Asian coun­tries pay great at­ten­tion to Ja­pan’s mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity moves, Hong said.

Ja­pan’s at­tempts to change its post­war Con­sti­tu­tion does not make its neigh­bors feel at ease, he added.

An­a­lysts said such moves will in­crease ten­sions in East Asia and change the sta­tus quo in place since World War II ended.

“The launch of the or­ga­ni­za­tion is one of the main pil­lars of the ex­pan­sion of its armed forces and will give Ja­pan more free­dom to use its forces,” said Zhou Qing’an, a pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional af­fairs at Ts­inghua Univer­sity.

Ar­ti­cle 9 of the Ja­panese Con­sti­tu­tion bans the coun­try from main­tain­ing a mil­i­tary, but the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the ar­ti­cle has al­ready been stretched to al­low the cre­ation of a mil­i­tary as large as France’s.

Re­vis­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion is dif­fi­cult be­cause amend­ments must be ap­proved by two-thirds of each house of par­lia­ment and a ma­jor­ity of vot­ers in a ref­er­en­dum.

“The con­di­tion is not at the mo­ment ripe for Ja­pan to change its Con­sti­tu­tion. The launch of the agency is only a means to an end for Tokyo,” Zhou said.

“It also paves the way for Ja­pan to send its mil­i­tary over­seas,” he added.

Through diplo­matic means, Ja­pan has been over­stat­ing threats to its se­cu­rity for a long time, said Li Qing­gong, deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the China Coun­cil for Na­tional Se­cu­rity Pol­icy Stud­ies.

“With the new NSC, it be­comes eas­ier for Ja­pan to change the Con­sti­tu­tion, be­cause Tokyo will surely make its de­fense poli­cies bet­ter fit the ‘se­cu­rity threats,” Li said.

The NSC will fo­cus pri­mar­ily on diplo­macy and de­fense, likely dis­cussing a set of de­fense agenda items that Ja­pan is due to ap­prove by year’s end.

“It will take lead­er­ship in craft­ing both guide­lines and strat­egy,” Ja­panese Chief Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga said at a news con­fer­ence.

Abe in­structed his Cab­i­net

The launch of the or­ga­ni­za­tion is one of the main pil­lars of the ex­pan­sion of its armed forces and will give Ja­pan more free­dom to use its forces.” ZHOU QING’AN PRO­FES­SOR OF IN­TER­NA­TIONAL AF­FAIRS AT TS­INGHUA UNIVER­SITY

min­is­ters on Tues­day to take a united ap­proach to se­cu­rity chal­lenges, while Suga said the new NSC will co­op­er­ate closely with its for­eign coun­ter­parts.

In Jan­uary, the NSC will set up a 60-strong sec­re­tariat whose of­fices will have ded­i­cated lines to its coun­ter­parts in the United States and Bri­tain, Ni­hon Keizai Shim­bun re­ported.

The news­pa­per said Ja­pan also plans to ask other na­tions, in­clud­ing France, Ger­many, In­dia and Aus­tralia, to lay di­rect hot­lines as well to ad­dress threats from the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea and China, as well as cy­ber­at­tacks and other se­cu­rity con­cerns.

Mean­while, as ten­sions mount in East Asia, the US navy de­ployed a next- gen­er­a­tion P- 8A sur­veil­lance air­craft to Ok­i­nawa, Ja­pan, on Sun­day, one day be­fore US Vice-Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den landed in Tokyo. Four more planes were sched­uled to be de­ployed this week.

The planes are in­tended to boost the abil­ity of the US to mon­i­tor sub­marines and other ves­sels in re­gional waters.

“The up­grad­ing of jets means an im­prove­ment of the sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the US forces and is one part of its con­tain­ment pol­icy to­ward China,” said Zhou, the pro­fes­sor from Ts­inghua Univer­sity.

Tokyo and Wash­ing­ton will also step up joint warn­ing and sur­veil­lance ac­tiv­i­ties over the is­lands in Ok­i­nawa and other parts of the East China Sea.

The US mil­i­tary’s Global Hawk un­manned spy planes will be heav­ily in­volved in th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties around the Diaoyu Is­lands. Ja­pan’s E-2C early warn­ing air­craft will be in­volved in the ramped-up joint ac­tiv­i­ties. Con­tact the writ­ers at cai­hong@chi­nadaily.com.cn and zhouwa@chi­nadaily.com.cn Liao Die’er in Bei­jing con­trib­uted to this story.

CLARK PIERCE / AFP

The US de­ploys a P-8A sur­veil­lance air­craft to Ok­i­nawa, Ja­pan, on Sun­day.

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