Abe’s three shots at paci­fism

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - ED­I­TO­RIAL

IT IS HARDLY CHEER­ING NEWS THAT A COUN­try whose lead­ers still salute war crim­i­nals has for­mally launched its mil­i­tary re­con­struc­tion.

Ap­prov­ing Ja­pan’s se­cu­rity strat­egy, de­fense pro­gram guide­lines and mid-term de­fense pro­gram on Tues­day, the Cab­i­net of Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe of­fi­cially man­dated his doc­trine of “proac­tive paci­fism”, which her­alds a new round of Ja­pan’s mil­i­tary buildup.

Serv­ing as a guide­line for Ja­pan’s for­eign and de­fense poli­cies, the first na­tional se­cu­rity strat­egy sets Ja­pan on a course to­ward greater in­volve­ment in mil­i­tary-re­lated mat­ters, with re­duced em­pha­sis on diplo­macy.

Based on the na­tional se­cu­rity strat­egy, Ja­pan’s na­tional de­fense pro­gram guide­lines and mid-term de­fense pro­gram show a Ja­panese army that will be beefed up in the com­ing decade.

If this is what Abe’s “proac­tive paci­fism” is about, he is steer­ing his coun­try along a dan­ger­ous path.

It spells a rad­i­cal break with Ja­pan’s post-World War II tra­di­tion of keep­ing a dis­tance from in­ter­na­tional con­flicts and try­ing to build peace through non­mil­i­tary means, which has earned Ja­pan the trust of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. Paci­fism is one of post­war Ja­pan’s cen­tral val­ues many Ja­panese have ac­cepted.

Abe’s “proac­tive paci­fism” doc­trine is essen­tially turn­ing Ja­panese self-de­fense forces into “or­di­nary armed forces”.

Since com­ing into power in De­cem­ber 2012, Abe’s gov­ern­ment has openly crit­i­cized China, tough­ened its stance on Ja­pan’s ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute with China, boosted mil­i­tary spend­ing and taken steps to free the coun­try’s mil­i­tary from the con­straints im­posed by the Ja­panese Con­sti­tu­tion.

The re­vi­sion of the guide­lines for the Ja­pan-US de­fense co­op­er­a­tion, which is due next year, will for­mal­ize “ro­bust” new mil­i­tary ar­range­ments be­tween the two coun­tries and fa­cil­i­tate Abe’s plan to build “a strong mil­i­tary”.

It is worth­while not­ing that this ad­vo­cate of the doc­trine of “proac­tive paci­fism” is a his­tor­i­cal re­vi­sion­ist who min­i­mizes or ig­nores Ja­pan’s war­time atroc­i­ties.

He suc­ceeded in hav­ing his doc­trine in­cor­po­rated into the joint state­ment the Ja­pan-ASEAN sum­mit is­sued on Satur­day.

In do­ing so, he asked the South­east Asian na­tions to take sides with Ja­pan to con­tain China. He has been plant­ing seeds of dis­trust and even ha­tred in South­east Asia, driv­ing a wedge be­tween the re­gion and China.

If this is part of his “proac­tive paci­fism” doc­trine, it will in­vite con­fronta­tion rather than make peace.

The catchy but vague ex­pres­sion “proac­tive paci­fism” is Abe’s cam­ou­flage to woo in­ter­na­tional un­der­stand­ing of Ja­pan’s move to be­come a mil­i­tary power.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.