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  • Aug 1, 2014
  • Updated: 5:20am

Shinzo Abe

Shinzo Abe is president of the Liberal Democratic Party and was elected prime minister of Japan in December 2012. He also served as prime minister in 2006 after being elected by a special session of Japan’s National Diet, but resigned after less than a year.

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Japanese PM Shinzo Abe wrong to roll back pacifist constitution

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 July, 2014, 3:52am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 July, 2014, 9:55am

Japan's proud pacifism has been rocked as if by an earthquake. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet has ignored the majority of Japanese and the concerns of China and other Asian countries by deciding to end a ban on troops fighting overseas. The move is a landmark, both for its disregard for the constitution, the nation's people and the region's sentiment about Japanese war-time aggression. It is a regrettable step that will only worsen relations with neighbours.

With most Japanese opposing amending the pacifist constitution, Abe instead opted for a reinterpretation of Article 9, which limits the country to defending itself in a conflict. Successive governments have taken this to mean that defending another country when Japan is not threatened would be unconstitutional. The decision, to be approved by parliament, but largely a formality given the coalition government's strength, will end the ban on "collective self-defence". The change means Japanese soldiers could fight abroad to help an ally and limits on participation in UN peace-keeping operations would be relaxed.

Reinterpreting Article 9 furthers Abe's militaristic and nationalist agenda. He has made strengthening Japan's armed forces a priority since taking office 18 months ago. His right-wing government has already formulated a new national security strategy, increased military spending with each budget and abandoned a long-held ban on arms exports. The goal is to protect overseas interests, broaden military cooperation with top ally, the US, and, most worryingly, be able to be more militarily assertive in defending islands disputed by China and South Korea.

The US has welcomed the change - it has long wanted Japan to be more responsible for its own defence - but there is no positive side for Japanese and the region. It erodes the constitution and raises tensions. Lawmakers have to dilute the measures and lobby for a rethink. Rather than being provocative, Abe should, as a matter of urgency, promote dialogue with neighbours.

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17

This article is now closed to comments

Lolitta Ho
I would just like to say that if Abe insists on using heavy-handed tactics to push for Japan's remilitarization, he is ruining the efforts of the millions of people who were harmed by it, e.g. the innocent Chinese who lost their lives in WW2. Nor to mention ruining the efforts of the post-war Japanese people.
syn
After seeing the US response to Ukraine it only makes sense. Japan is on its own with the current administration in the White House; with or without treaty obligations.
XYZ
China has nuclear weapons. So does North Korea. Why shouldn't Japan? China has been pushing, pushing, pushing, and now it has received its answer. The CCP leaders are not stupid; I'm sure they understood that this would be the result. Did anyone expect anything else? Get over it.
XYZ
"The change means Japanese soldiers could fight abroad to help an ally and limits on participation in UN peace-keeping operations would be relaxed."
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What's wrong with that?
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Maybe China would be better off making an ally out of Japan instead of an enemy.
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mrlcooper
Straight from the CCP propaganda department. Did they write it in English for you or did you have to go to the effort of translating?
woteva6891@hotmail.com
GUNDAM
Daniel Lee
Japan's PM Shinzo Abe castrating the peace constitution is as expected. For someone belligerent enough to pray to war criminals at the Yasukuni War Shrine and glorifying war, it wouldn't be very long before plenty of Japanese will be killed for their wars again.
stim
This article should be heavily criticized….there are many misunderstandings.
Inter alia, first, “Abe’s cabinet has ignored the majority of Japanese” > there is no fact that the majority of Japanese opposed the decision of the cabinet. Those who are against it just have louder voice.
Secondly, “…and the concerns of China and other Asian nations” > which countries does express its concern as a nation? The answer is ONLY China and Korea. There is no “other Asian nationS” As far as Philipine is concerned, the president supported and welcomed the desiction.
Hence, I would have to say, the article was made on the total ignorance (or intention to manipulate) of the writer.
How About
Japan had an easy peace-reconstruction deal from the USA who accepted your surrender on behalf of the world compared with the terms of Germany, regrettably the keiretsus and zaibatsus in that 70 years had regressed to their Shoganate default, idiotically choose to be geisha and courtesan of the US' hawkes.
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Let it be written that it is you who brought this onto yourselves, with open eyes, with two A-bombs later you are unable to repent your sins or hear what the ASEAN WW2 victims have been pleading, be that as it may OR overthrow Shinzo Abe and his stupid meiji arrows. But heed this- all of the post WW2 terms of surrender including war reparation are now fair game to China and ASEAN.
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XYZ
The strengthening of Japan's armed forces should be a surprise to no one. It is the natural response to China's military build up and aggressive rhetoric. What are they supposed to do, base their national security policy upon China's assurances of its benign intentions?
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Japan's reinterpretation of its constitution simply makes it more like a normal country when it comes to national defense policy. It's no big deal and it is long overdue.

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