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Japanese Proposal to Shift Military Outlook

New developments concerning Japan's Constitution and observation of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II will have far-reaching implications. 

The country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) released its first full-text draft of constitutional amendments on Monday. A final version is due at the LDP convention in November to mark its 50th anniversary.


The proposal sets out drastic changes that would give the new Constitution an entirely new look.


New clauses have been designed to clear the way for Japan to exercise the right of collective "self-defense," or coming to the military aid of an ally.


Japan is entertaining the idea of playing a greater role in global affairs in a military sense.


The Constitution of Japan, known as a pacifist document, renounces Japan's right to wage war or maintain military forces in Article 9.


The wording, however, has been interpreted in a way that allows self-defense forces, enabling the country to build up the 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces (SDF).


In the draft, the LDP proposes changing the Constitution's Chapter 2, titled "Renunciation of War," to focus on national security.


The first paragraph of Article 9 renounces war, but would be replaced under the LDP proposal by a paragraph stating the Japanese people will preserve the philosophy of pacifism in the future.


By amending the Constitution, the LDP wants Japan to be freed from constraints that limit military cooperation with allies.


The proposed constitution would enable Japan to deploy its troops in "non-aggressive operations" overseas -- which could entail the use of force -- on the condition operations are internationally coordinated, in line with domestic and international law, and approved by the Diet, the Japanese parliament.


The proposal calls for the scrapping of the second paragraph of Article 9 that stipulates Japan will never maintain land, sea or air forces and says that the "right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."


It is not difficult to see the bare fangs and brandished claws in the proposal.


Since the end of the first Gulf War, Japan has slowly and discreetly sought more active participation in international operations. Japanese troops have been sent to Cambodia, East Timor and the Indian Ocean, where the Maritime SDF provided the US military with logistical support in Afghanistan.


Japan deployed ground SDF personnel in Iraq on a humanitarian mission with instruments of war.


The proposed Article 9 fails to clearly define how such action should be regarded in future.


The LDP's proposed revision of the Constitution demonstrates Japan's new mindset -- encouraging military expansion. This is nerve wracking.


According to Mainichi Shimbun, Japan's ruling and opposition parties are scheduled to endorse a bill on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.


The bill, titled "Resolution of Vowing to Contribute to International Peace at 60th Anniversary of United Nations Establishment, End of World War II and US Atomic-Bombing on Japan," moves beyond Japan's aggression against Asian countries to other subjects.


Ten years ago, Japan passed a resolution that showed remorse for the country's colonial rule and aggression, and the tremendous damage and suffering wrought on the people of many countries, those of Asian nations in particular.


Ten years later, the references to colonial rule and aggression are gone. The wartime aggressor is planning to play the "only victim of atomic arms."


The rhetoric focuses on how the war was brutal to Japan, rather than Japan's imperial behavior.


Since the 1970s, Japanese prime ministers and even emperors have expressed varying degrees of regret and remorse albeit sometimes in vague, nuanced wording over the suffering caused by the war.


The depth of Japan's remorse is in doubt because in the end the country itself has not yet decided how it feels about the war.


Without a guilty conscience, Japan is attempting to turn itself into a regional military bully.


(China Daily August 3, 2005)

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Japan Adopts Retrogressive Resolution for 60th WWII Anniversary
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