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Japan's 'Sense of Crisis' is Pure Imagination

By Sun Ling

Japan is long well-known for its "crisis" awareness.

In recent months, its "sense of crisis" seems to have become increasingly sensitive.

On September 26, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper revealed a confidential "self-defence" plan drafted by the country's Self-Defence Forces (SDFs). The plan undisguisedly considered China a "threat," and hypothesized four possibilities of "military attack" from its close neighbor.

According to another report, a draft amendment to the country's post-war Pacifist Constitution, drawn up by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), is due to clearly define the SDFs as troops.

The Japanese Government has also taken a series of steps in recent months to strengthen defence against neighboring nations.

Under these circumstances, people cannot help but ask the question: Where does Japan's deep sense of crisis come from?

Currently East Asia's security is relatively relaxed.

Japan enjoys a consolidated status as the world's second largest economy.

And in military strength, the country is also at the forefront.

Although Japan has only 250,000 military staff, they are technologically advanced and well equipped.
An important ally of the world's sole superpower, the United States, Japan's homeland and so-called "neighboring areas" are covered by the umbrella of the US-Japan security alliance. Its security has never been challenged.

Japan's sense of crisis is purely imaginary, fully demonstrated by the country's policies towards China and other neighboring nations.

It seems China's sustained and rapid economic growth and its increasing international influence have made Japan extremely nervous that its status in East Asia is being challenged.

Japan has tried every means to disseminate the idea of a "threat" from China's military build-up.

The reality is that China has never regarded any country as a rival. Japan has imagined enemies for itself.

When in dispute with other countries, Japan does not rely on dialogue and talks. Instead, it tries to force others to accept its unilateral proposals.

This approach can be best demonstrated in its settlement of marine and territorial disputes with China, Russia and the Republic of Korea.

On the history issue, politicians in Tokyo have also from time to time made trouble, escalating the issue into a "crisis." Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has paid five visits to the Yasukuni Shrine since he took his current position. The country's education ministry has given a green light to history textbooks drafted by rightists, and top Japanese government officials have refused to recognize the verdict of the international tribunal and tried to defend Class-A war criminals.

According to surveys by Japanese media, the number of Japanese in favor of revising the country's peaceful constitution has been on the increase year on year, while the number of opponents to its arms development has been on the decline.

Japan's "imaginary foe" and "crisis fabricating" tactics are in consideration of its "national strategic interests." They are also a by-product of the country's narrow-minded "national interests."

By fabricating a conceived enemy, Japan attempts to arouse a "sense of crisis" among its people.

Since the end of the Cold War, profound changes have taken place in international and East Asian political relations.

Japan is unwilling to succumb to its status of "economic giant" but "political dwarf" in the international arena.

Desire to abandon its post-war path of peaceful development to pursue political and military power has become increasingly strong.

However, Article 9 of the country's Pacifist Constitution deprives it the right to develop its own troops and to wage war against other countries.

Such stipulations have long been regarded by the country's rightist forces as the biggest stumbling block on its way to achieving "normal state" status.

In view of the constitution's deep-rooted status in the Japanese people, creating an outside crisis seems to have become the most effective means to enlist people's support for revision of the constitution.

The country has succeeded in passing a bill to cope with emergencies as well as three war contingency bills, realizing a change in military strategy from "being limited to its own territory and coastal waters" to one that allows "pre-emptive strikes."

Asian countries and even the world should remain alert to Japan's fresh rounds of "national expansion" under the cover of "crisis readiness."

Early last century, the "survival crisis" was used by Japan as an excuse for its expansion.

Entering the 21st century, the country has established a new "maritime expansion" strategy under the excuse of a "resources crisis" and a "security crisis," accelerating its struggle for sea and territorial resources.

This tendency has worried people whether the country will once again go along an expansionist path and whether its post-war peaceful development policy can carry forward.

As an influential power in East Asia, Japan holds unshirkable responsibilities for regional peace and stability.

Its relentless efforts to create a "sense of crisis" among its people, undisguised intentions to regard neighboring countries as the "enemy" and a "threat" and then lay down corresponding state policies have in fact become a disruptive factor to East Asian peace and stability.

Only by building mutual trust and adopting a "win-win" strategy in peaceful co-operation and stopping fabricating crises that do not exist, can Japan completely get out of a diplomatic dilemma and eliminate its "sense of crisis."

(China Daily November 4, 2005)


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