Japan’s Peaceful Self-Defense


Shinzo Abe moved closer Thursday to securing passage of legislation that will allow Japan to participate in collective self-defense. After seven decades of sheltering under the U.S. security umbrella, the Prime Minister’s move would give Tokyo the ability to fight alongside an ally when either one is threatened, while protecting stability and democracy in East Asia.

The Cabinet adopted a new interpretation of Japan’s postwar Constitution last July allowing this cooperation. In April the U.S. and Japan announced new defense guidelines to put it into practice. On Thursday the lower house of the Diet approved the plan, and now the legislation moves to the upper house.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Progress hasn’t come easily. Most Japanese oppose the plan, and according to an Asahi poll, Mr. Abe’s approval rating has fallen sharply to 39%. There have been tussles on the Diet floor and raucous protests outside it. Mr. Abe will need the support of coalition partners with pacifist tendencies to prevail in the upper house, though he could still overcome a defeat there with a two-thirds majority in the lower one.

Why is the Japanese public so skittish? One reason is that Mr. Abe has refused to spell out what the legislation would permit the Japanese military to do. That has allowed the opposition to paint the legislation as a “war bill.” Mr. Abe’s reticence is partly a matter of diplomatic necessity….(read more)


2 Comments on “Japan’s Peaceful Self-Defense”

  1. anniepani says:

    dissentinutopia.wordpress.com I’m really sad to see that Japan has been sucked into the current trend. This is the trend that countries which were formerly sceptical of getting involved in foreign conflicts are now lining up to join in enthusiastically. We saw this in the pitiful farce of Afghanistan.

    Nowadays the whole attitude is who wants to fight a war? Last one in is a sissy! Just one point I don’t think I have ever heard anyone anywhere in the world, least of all in the UK, say that they regret Harold Wilson keeping Britain out of the Vietnam War.

    Another thing that I find contemptible is that all these ‘know it alls’ who want to go around the world killing and destroying claim to be spreading democracy, but they actually don’t like democracy, unless people vote for what the powerful want. Ask the people? Hell they’ll say no! Don’t do that!

    • The Butcher says:

      You have it exactly backwards. Assuming Japan is just following (‘being sucked into’) a “trend” ? What ‘trend’? Makes no sense. Your issue isn’t with Japan, it appears to be a generalized aversion to anything military. If you’re anti-military, that’s one thing. But you’re misreading it as ‘Japan wants to ‘go to war’. Where is evidence of this? There isn’t any. Having a credible defense against China’s rising aggression is a serious issue that merits a forward-thinking realignment. Japan has been neutered for 70 years, disallowed constitutionally to rebuild their military – and expected to remain passive and dependent, to atone for ‘guilt for sins past’. Lacking independent military strength, Japan is unable to defend its interests or participate in combat except at the mercy of allied nations (primarily the U.S., who wrote Japan’s constitution during postwar occupation) who extend protective military power to include Japan. This 70-year-old agreement has been debated in Japan for generations, and the debate will continue. Your comments reveal an unfamiliarity with the topic.

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