Japan and its new military role

japanWith China showing arrogance and despotic territorial dominion over some islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan, and claiming practically the whole area of the South China Sea, notwithstanding the existence of the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for coastal countries in the region, Japan has found it imperative to make a major security shift by expanding the nation’s military posture.

What this means now is that Japan is freeing itself from the shackles of military restrictions imposed by the U.S. in the country’s post war constitution after its defeat in World War II.

Specifically, what the Japanese government did was change Article 9 of the US-imposed constitution, which renounces “the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes”, into allowing the country’s military, not only to defend itself and its territorial integrity, but also help defend allies and others “in a close relationship” with Japan under what is known as “collective self-defense.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the shift is needed to protect the lives of the Japanese people in an increasingly severe security environment.

Supporters say the change is necessary because of the worsening security situation in East Asia, where an ever confident and aggressive China is pushing its territorial claims and an erratic North Korea is threatening stability.

Under the new interpretation, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will be able to come to the aid of allies — primarily the US — if they come under attack from a common enemy, even if Japan is not the object of the attack.

While the US welcomes this move, the same has been criticized by China recalling the past when Japan militarists carried out barbarous wars of aggression when it occupied half of the Chinese mainland.

We, too, have suffered from the atrocities of the Japanese forces, but all is behind us now and recent developments only strengthens the alliance of our two countries and it bodes well for us considering that Japan understands very well our predicament and has offered its maritime assistance so we won’t be helpless victims of China’s devious expansionism in our part of the globe.

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