Japan seeks a bigger role in regional security structures

15/12/2014


Over recent decades, Japan has not taken a leadership role in the region, despite its large economy. This makes Tokyo’s recent efforts to secure power and influence in the region a significant policy change. As Japan strives to establish itself as a leader in the Asia-Pacific Region, many of its policies have been perceived as being anti-Chinese. Some participants wondered if Japan is trying to encourage the United States to a play a more significant role in the Asia-Pacific in order to curb Chinese power.
Japanese security policy has witnessed significant changes over the last year, with the formation of a Japanese National Security Council and the adoption of several new defense and security guidelines. Tokyo’s annual defense white paper offered a reinterpretation of the country’s pacifist constitution and adjustments to policies regarding dual use and defense technologies. For many in China, these developments have reinforced the notion that Japan is seeking to contain it.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is seeking to reinterpret the country’s pacifist constitution to allow it to defend allies, freeing its military for the first time in over 60 years to play a more assertive role in the increasingly tense region, as part of a broader push for influence in the region as China asserts itself as an economic and military power. Japan and China are embroiled in a dispute over islands in the East China Sea and China is pressing its claims to a large part of the South China Sea, a major trade route.
In the security strategy, Japan pledged to seek more "proactive" roles for its military force abroad and to set new guidelines on arms exports, signaling a major shift from its previous restrictive policy.
Japan has so far interpreted its U.S.-drafted constitution as banning so-called collective self-defense because it exceeds the requirement to keep the use of force to a minimum, according to a previous report by Abe’s advisory panel. Faced with high barriers to his longer-term goal of revising the constitution, Abe is seeking to strengthen Japan’s military stance by other means.
Mr. Abe, a longtime influential conservative, has tried in the past to win approval for a wholesale rewriting of the Constitution, part of his campaign to make Japan what he calls a more “normal” country that no longer hides its power out of shame for wartime transgressions. Lack of public support for those attempts, in part, cost him his job seven years ago, the last time he was prime minister.
“As the prime minister, I have responsibility for protecting the Japanese people’s lives under all circumstances,” Abe said at a news conference in Tokyo. “I cannot believe that the Japanese constitution is telling me to abandon that responsibility.”
The latest move differs from many of those actions in that it fundamentally changes the reading of the postwar Constitution and seems to take Japan further than ever from the renunciation of force as a way of settling disputes.
Observers said the latest steps have pushed Japan further away from its pacifist Constitution and target China as an imaginary enemy.
Citing China's growing military capabilities, Tokyo expressed concern through these policies over what it calls Beijing's attempts to change the status quo, including the recent designation of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea.
Japan’s stance is part of a rapidly shifting balance of power in Asia, where China and its growing military are mounting a serious challenge to the regional dominance of the United States and its allies, including Japan, and making assertive claims to vast areas of two strategically important seas. The hawkish Mr. Abe’s response is certain to anger the Chinese — who have never forgiven Japan for its World War II-era invasion — and could set Asia’s two biggest powers even more on edge.
Since then, the region has been transformed not only by China’s rise, but also a deterioration of American dominance that is leading several countries in the region to try to beef up their own military abilities.
The decision by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will permit Japan to use its large and technologically advanced armed forces in ways that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago when they were limited to defending the country. The revision will allow the military to come to the aid of friendly countries under attack, including the United States.
While Japan’s military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, would still face severe restrictions on what it could do, it would be allowed for the first time to take such actions as come to the aid of an American ship under attack, or shoot down a North Korean missile heading toward the United States.
While Mr. Abe focused his comments on closer ties with the United States, analysts said the new policy could also make it easier for Japan to seek new military alliances with the Philippines and other nations that have similar territorial disputes with China.
“Japan is experiencing a security renaissance,” said Andrew L. Oros, director of international studies at Washington College in Chestertown, Md. “What is remarkable is not that things are changing, but that they are changing with so little fanfare.”./.
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All comments [ 10 ]


Quốc Cường 15/12/14 18:26

Yeah, I support Japan to play a bigger role in region, to balance with China, another big bad neighbour.

Hùng Quân 15/12/14 18:27

As Japan strives to establish itself as a leader in the Asia-Pacific Region, many of its policies have been perceived as being anti-Chinese.

Lê Tín 15/12/14 18:30

Japan are so developed and has an adorable culture.

Quân Hoàng 15/12/14 20:14

For many in China, these developments have reinforced the notion that Japan is seeking to contain it.

Huy Lâm 15/12/14 20:16

This steps have pushed Japan further away from its pacifist Constitution and target China as an imaginary enemy.

Huy Quốc 15/12/14 20:18

Japan and America will be counterbalance against China's aggressive actions.

Vân Nhàn 15/12/14 20:19

Japan’s stance is part of a rapidly shifting balance of power in Asia, where China and its growing military are mounting a serious challenge to the regional dominance of the United States and its allies

Quốc Kiên 15/12/14 20:20

the region has been transformed not only by China’s rise, but also a deterioration of American dominance.

Phạm Hiếu 15/12/14 20:23

In the past, both Japan and China were our enemies, but now, almost Vietnamese people prefer Japan to China, so hilarious!

Hoàng Lân 15/12/14 20:25

Japan should strech their military presence out to the region for peace and development to all countries.

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