• Wed
  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 4:30pm

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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SECURITY

Shinzo Abe on tightrope as he pushes for change to Japan’s defence policy

Japanese prime minister will need to tread carefully when he makes the case for some flexibility in the country's pacifist constitution

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 8:59pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 May, 2014, 7:31pm

Would Japan send its military to defend the Philippines if it was attacked by China? That's the kind of question Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could face as he pushes for a landmark change to security policy.

Abe's private advisers will today present him with a report urging a loosening of legal limits on Japan's military, including an end to a decades-old ban on helping allies under attack that has kept Japanese forces from fighting abroad since the second world war.

This is not a simple matter that can just be pushed  through. It’s complex 
A SENIOR LDP LAWMAKER

The report sets the stage for Abe to make a pitch for a historic change in a defence policy that has long been based on the principle that Japan has the right to defend itself with the minimum necessary force, but that combat abroad exceeds the limit.

A lifting of the ban on "collective self-defence" would be welcome to Japan's ally the United States, but would draw criticism from China, ties with which have been damaged by a territorial row and the legacy of Japan's past aggression.

Despite Abe's desire to loosen the limits of the US-drafted charter, doubts remain about how far and how quickly he can go. His Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) junior partner, the New Komeito, is wary, voters are divided and the LDP's deputy leader is worried about the impact on local polls this year and next. "This is not a simple matter that can just be pushed through," a senior LDP lawmaker said. "It's complex."

Abe's advisers argue that Japan's security environment, including an increasingly assertive China and volatile North Korea, requires a more flexible approach.

Tension in the region grew this month when China positioned an oil rig in an area of the South China Sea also claimed by Vietnam, and spiked again when China demanded that the Philippines release a Chinese fishing boat and its crew seized off Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands, claimed by both countries. Japan itself is locked in a feud with China over Japanese-controlled isles in the East China Sea.

"Looking at China's moves, everyone thinks that in broad terms, allowing the exercise of the right of collective self-defence can't be avoided. But when the debate gets specific, it gets difficult. The question is, what kind of limits should be set?" said a second senior LDP lawmaker who also declined to be identified.

"Could we say a clash between the Philippines and China has nothing to do with Japan? Some would say after the South China Sea comes the East China Sea. Others would say helping the Philippines is going too far."

Examples in the report include protecting a US warship under attack in waters near Japan; mine-sweeping in sea lanes in a conflict zone; intercepting a ballistic missile headed for America; and inspecting vessels supplying arms to a country that has attacked the United States.

The draft also recommends legal changes to facilitate action not directly tied to collective self-defence but where the military has to date been constrained by legal concerns, such as rescuing Japanese overseas, using weapons in UN peace-keeping operations and dispatching troops to low-intensity conflicts that fall short of a full-scale attack on Japan.

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andreaswagner
It is such a pity that the last time Japan did not have the opportunity to finish the job properly as far as the Chinese dog balls are concerned. Hopefully this time it will work out :)
daily
It really is time to drop another nuke onto Japan and hopefully this time, it will land right where Abe is situated.
Dao-Phooy
Such short memories of the ruthless criminal actions of theJapanese Imperial forces! Abe and his followers cut from the same cloth!
superdx
This is almost verbatim what events transpired leading up to WW1. Every country was making alliances on the assumption that an attack against one would mean retaliation by a cadre of nations. It didn't work then, and it's not going to work now. But the way China is grabbing territory anyway it can, this is not going so well. Alliances will continue to be formed, even amongst a fractured ASEAN. Eventually it will come to blows. Hopefully it will be non-nuclear.
P Blair
Shinzo Abe the devil worshipper and war-monger is taking Japan down the path to total destruction.
M Miyagi
People will say to psychopath Shinzo Abe "Bring it on punk". Japan is asking to be bombed into non-existence.
andreaswagner
Japan needs to change its constitution asap, so that effective alliances against the communist threat from China and their NK goons can be formed with al the Asian neighbours which are under threat now.
Also Japan should build up a credible nuclear deterrent soonest. According to my sources they can have one in months if not weeks, because all the main components are already in place.
Like with Nazi Germany, there is no time to waste.
The Chinese will get their war which they are so desperately seeking. Make it worth it this time and finish the job Japan!
baysidedweller
"Like with Nazi Germany, there is no time to waste."
So Abe the revisionist wants to be Hitler now?
How About
Strategically Abe needs not lift a finger- he just needs to lower the annual rental for the 225 sq.miles Okinawa Naval Base and Japan has all the arms they need. If he does do it, he'll be selling Japan's future debts to buy more hardaware, making him a criminal and an imbecile. Let's see if the rest of the Japan cabinet is as doltish as him.
.
And at the rate they're not breeding, Japan will need to import Pinoy captains to fly the planes and man their frigates in a few years time.
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