[EDITORIALS]Japan stirs, neighbors blanchThe ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan produced a draft revision to Japan’s peace constitution, aiming to change the foundation of the constitution. The draft allows Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to become a regular army and its troops deployed overseas to use military force. The draft also includes clauses on the emperor, “Hinomaru” and “Kimigayo” ― the symbols of militaristic imperialism. It states that the emperor is the head of state of Japan, “Hinomaru” is the national flag and “Kimigayo” the national anthem. Article 9, the major peace clause, will be removed. The draft goes further to reinstate the symbols of the militaristic era.
We have no objection to “making Japan an ordinary country” that takes responsibility for defending itself militarily by maintaining military forces equivalent to its economic power. But we are worried about the article that would enable the Self-Defense Forces to become a regular military, allow the right to seek collective defense and make it possible to use military force to keep international peace. That is because the vague clause on international contributions and the phrase on collective defense could be used to expand the Japanese military’s role as a regional force.
It is highly likely that a change and expansion of the role of the Self-Defense Forces would aggravate the regional situation if the military situation in Northeast Asia turns bad. In a region where strong powers share borders, there are always causes for conflict. If Sino-American competition increases in the future, the region could be turned into a tense arena of conflict.
In such circumstances, if Japan becomes a militaristic power, the tension in the area will be heightened. In the region, there is no multilateral security consultative body that can lessen tension by coordinating and consulting regional conflicts.
Historically, Japan was an imperialistic country. Japan has not yet made sincere apologies to people in East Asia who suffered enormous material and psychological damage from its imperialism. Rather, Japan has reacted by distorting and fabricating its history. Therefore, we watch Japan’s moves to revise its constitution with uneasiness.
Instead of pursuing military power, it would be better for Japan to ease the worries of neighboring countries by concentrating on diplomacy and contributing to regional peace through its economic power.