[EDITORIALS]Japan poses security threatThe Japanese Defense Agency has been upgraded to a ministry. This happened 52 years after the formation of the Defense Agency in 1954. A long-pursued dream by the politically conservative right wing in Japan to have military power that matches the country’s economic might may now be achieved. This move is worrisome because it is a catalyst for more militarization by Japan, which still has not reflected upon its past invasions of neighboring countries. The power and prestige of a ministry is much higher than an agency. Without having to go to the prime minister, the Defense Ministry can go directly to a cabinet meeting for decisions on its operations. Activities as part of UN peacekeeping operations can now be widened as well. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called the development a first step for Japan’s remaking of itself for the 21st century, shedding the current system that was established right after World War II.
What is eye-catching is that the right wing in Japan will use this opportunity to focus on strengthening their military power even further. They have argued for a long time that there is a need to accept a “collective defense,” and to amend the current constitution in which the military is called a self-defense force. They want it stated that the country needs a “military,” instead of a “self-defense force.”
If that happens, the situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula will become tense. That is because the armament of a country that already commands the third-largest defense budget in the world and the North Korean nuclear crisis could interact with each other. Put simply, this is a very serious threat to our security. It’s time for the country to monitor the situation closely. This is even truer because our country has already experienced Japan’s military expansions in the past.
Nevertheless, looking at these measures, one cannot but shake one’s head. Japan has driven toward militarization with determination and a detailed plan. For instance, it has taken the opportunity provided by the United States, which wants to balance the power of China through Japan, to strengthen its alliance with Washington. Under our current administration, such moves are hard to find. Policies toward Japan have been seen as tools for domestic political purposes. The recent remarks by the president regarding the East Sea show that there is no consistency. We have to rid ourselves of such unclear policies and come up with measures that will prepare for a Japan that aims to become a bigger military power.