• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 1:52am

Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe warns rally of dangers of bolstering Japan's military

Writer Oe says military changes spell one of biggest dangers in century

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 1:51am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 8:09am

Japan's spirit is approaching its most dangerous stage in the past 100 years, Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe warned during a rally against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to bolster the nation's military.

Some 3,000 people rallied yesterday in a Tokyo park against government plans to soften Japan's constitutional commitment to pacifism and give its military a more active role.

"By exercising collective self-defence, Japan will directly participate in a war," Oe told the people at the rally. "I'm afraid that Japan's spirit is approaching its most dangerous stage in the past 100 years."

By exercising collective selfdefence, Japan will directly [join] in a war

The protest in central Tokyo came as China called on the United States to restrain ally Japan at the end of talks between the American and Chinese defence chiefs.

A national opinion poll showed growing public opposition to Abe's plans for the Self-Defence Forces. He has argued that Japan needs to reinterpret its post-war pacifist constitution to permit "collective defence" - coming to the aid of an ally that is under attack.

That is not allowed under current readings of Article 9 of the US-imposed constitution, which says Japan forever renounces the use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

Previous governments have held that this means Japan's military may only open fire if fired upon, even if that entails leaving US counterparts in danger on the same battlefield.

The Asahi Shimbun reported that a poll of more than 2,000 adults nationwide showed 63 per cent oppose the concept of collective defence. That was up from 56 per cent last year and more than double the 29 per cent who support the idea. The percentage of those against revising Article 9 rose to 64 per cent from 52 per cent, the paper said in the poll published on Monday.

Abe's drive to strengthen the military provokes disquiet in China and on the Korean peninsula, where memories linger of Tokyo's brutal expansionism last century.

However, his position is welcomed in Washington, where there have long been calls for Japan to pull its own weight in a very one-sided security alliance. Unease in Japan about China's increasing assertiveness, and specifically its strident claims to disputed islands in the East China Sea, has helped bolster Abe's push to enhance the role of the military.

Defence Minister Chang Wanquan , during his meeting with US counterpart Chuck Hagel, said China would not take the initiative to stir up trouble with Japan, but warned that Beijing was ready to use its military if needed to safeguard its territory.

He said the US must "stay vigilant" against Japan's actions and "not be permissive and supportive" of Tokyo.

Washington has criticised Beijing's recent declaration of an air defence zone over a large swathe of the East China Sea, including disputed remote islands controlled by Japan but also claimed by China. Hagel was in Japan earlier this week, reassuring its leaders of ongoing US support. His trip to China comes weeks before US President Barack Obama is due to visit Asia to reinforce the country's commitment to its so-called pivot to the region.

Additional reporting by Reuters, Associated Press


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Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe is absolutely right about the Shinzo Abe rising militarism. The fascist LDP who are a bunch of radicals, devil worshippers and provocateurs have been agitating for a militaristic Japan and provoking Japan's neighbours.
At least some Japanese aren't fooled by Abe. Please continue to report on their opposition to increased militarism by the Abe government.
liu should be set free....yes....but to say china is a threat to world peace with the above comparison is overly exaggerated.
circumstances have indeed changed enormously with the Japanese ppl and it is amazing how they have transformed since ww2.
there are no quarrels with the locals or grudges or hatred but
the sad truth is the govt of japan has not change at all ....they are still governed by the same pariah DNA of the past and historical views.
as long as abe and co continue their endless deny and glorified their past wrong doing, there is no no doubt, japan will remain a pariah country.
Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel laureate in Japan, is allowed to protest publicly against the government's policy.
Liu xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize laureate in China, was sent to jail simply for criticizing the government.
So who is today's real threat to world peace?
The underlying reasons behind this difference is why china IS A REAL THREAT. This comparison shouldn't be (deliberately?) viewed at a superficial level.
As I said before, PRC is the now the real authoritarian militaristic country ruled by the a bunch of dictators constantly exploiting radical nationalism for its own political needs.
If you don't like this comparison, try comparing Nazi Germany with today's communist China.1) radical nationalism 2) authoritarian government 3) military expansion 4) overly exaggerated self victimization as a way to justify their aggressive acts - isn't it funny for someone to complain about the humiliation they "suffered" during the remote Qing dynasty - more than 100 years ago where their grandparents weren't born yet
Circumstances have changed a lot since WW2. At that time Japan was an authoritarian militaristic country ruled by a single Emperor where radical nationalism was exploited for gaining support for its expansionist policy. This kind of state was a great threat to its neighbours and history confirmed that.
But today, the picture reversed completely. PRC is the authoritarian militaristic country ruled by the a bunch of dictators constantly exploiting radical nationalism for its own political needs. The communists, not japanese, are today's real "radicals, devil worshippers and provocateurs". A real threat to its neighbours.


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