Executive Summary: The use of military forces should be
permitted for self-defense and peacekeeping in Japan. It is right to agree that
war is not a valid instrument to be used as means of settling international
disputes. A legal system of peace and justice is necessary to lead by example,
however a state should not be so ignorant as to leave its own peoples unarmed
for battle in the case that another state does not cooperate with the principle
of reciprocity. It should be the fundamental right of the peoples to defend
A key issue is the dependence of Japan on American defense,
creating a greater threat to the country with the rise of the aggressive
surrounding nations of China and North Korea. As an ally of the United States,
Japan is becoming an easy target of extortion. The declining security is
increasing pressure on the nation to step up.
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One important question for Japan is whether, and how to
militarize the nation without harming relations with the United States, and
becoming a potential threat to other nations. This could escalate conflict
among Japan and other nations. In retrospect, it could also be a great force in
strengthening the nation and regaining the confidence of its peoples.
Background: Article 9 of the National Japanese Constitution states as follows: “The Japanese people forever renounce war as a
sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of
settling international disputes’ and that ‘land, sea, and air forces, as well
as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of
the state will not be recognized.” This clause was added to the constitution following the allied
occupation of Japan during WWII. (http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2017/07/21/what-comes-after-japans-constitutional-amendment/)
This issue is becoming more pressing at the moment due to the rise of
surrounding aggressive nations that could pose as a potential threat to Japan’s
safety. The critical participants involved are the people of Japan who are
demanding a stronger military force while the other half of the country is in
protest, the Prime Minister of Japan who wants to amend article 9, the United
States who is in support of the decision to strengthen the US-Japan alliance
with special interest in the Asia Pacific, which is more pressing then ever due
to the rise of China and the nuclear strength of North Korea. It is important
to understand from the perspective of Japan that it is now time to stand on its
own two feet as a military power of the world.
Prime Minister Abe must shed his naivete about the state of
his country and its questionable future in the world. Not only is the first
step to reinterpret article 9, but to input greater security changes to cope
with the ever changing environment both foreign and domestic. Some of which
include: “expanding the
defence perimeter of the Maritime Self-Defense Forces; deploying the
Self-Defense Forces abroad to support United Nations peacekeeping operations
and US military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq; boosting the status of the
Defense Agency to that of a full-fledged ministry; and enhancing trilateral
military cooperation between the US, Australia and Japan.” (1)
The office must focus on implementing meaningful checks and balances to promote
the welfare of the state, Japan has faced a somewhat unguarded past that could
lead to future risks. This must not be done to compromise established accords
on the implementation of military forces. It must be emphasized that collective
self defense is for the greater good of the state, and thus is not
unconstitutional when the rights of the Japanese people are in danger.
It is important to see that
the Japanese people would be concerned of an attack against a close alli,
because this can potentially weaken the security of Japan due to the dependence
on the allied country under attack, leaving them defenseless. However, if Japan
were to build its arms to not only protect them selves but their allied
counties, geographically the would become a target of war themselves. This also
brings the concern of undermining constitutionalism. How secure would this make
the people of Japan feel? Would it then extend the amending of other clauses to
the constitution? Abe should only intend to make clearer amendment 9, not to
change it, thus the constitution is not undermined only enhanced for the safety
of the people, if and only if a majority of the people support the addition.
This is why it is important to advertise to the nation how they might benefit
from the addition. The amending of article 9 would not be to promote war, but
rather to protect the property and lives of the Japanese peoples. There would need
to be clear restrictions made of the Self- Defense Forces of Japan to give the
people of Japan piece of mind. In the end it all must come to a consensus among
the public opinion of Japan and its political parties.
Mainchi Shimbun newspaper
conducted an opinion poll that can shed some light on where the Japanese
citizens stand on this issue, 31 percent are against Abes’s proposal, 28
percent are in favor, and 32 percent are unsure. This 32 percent of people who
are unsure are not educated enough on the pros and cons of the subject. This
shows the importance of educating the public to gain their trust. Another News
poll, from Kyodo taken after Abes proposal showed that 56 percent were in favor
of clarifying the Self Defence Forces stance in article 9 (2).
Abe being the countires longest Prime Minister in office has the best interest
of his country in mind, and is fighting for what he believes is a modern
response in national security for Japan in the ever changing global community.
North Korean missiles have passed over Japan twice in the past months, leaving
citizens concerned for their safety. Kim Jong Un has also voiced threats to “sink
Japan” should not sit lightly with the people of Japan. Eventhough the Self
Defense Forces may not be needed now, it is never too late to prepare for the inevitable.