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Japan censured for skirting peace constitution at home, abroad

English.news.cn   2014-07-01 23:08:40

TOKYO, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Ignoring strong protests from home and abroad, the Japanese cabinet on Tuesday approved a resolution that would allow the country to exercise the so-called "collective self-defense right" by reinterpreting its pacifist Constitution.

The resolution, which is regarded as a major overhaul of Japan's postwar security policy, sets three new conditions that would enable the Japanese military forces to exercise the "collective self-defense right," such as when there are "clear dangers" to the lives of its people and their rights due to armed attacks on Japan or "countries with close ties."

In other words, it would enable Japan to fight for "countries with close ties" with Japan even though Japan itself is not under attack, leaving the war-renouncing Article 9 of the country's Constitution a dead letter.

Ironically, Japan committed heinous war crimes to Asian countries in the 1930s and 1940s and therefore has been banned to exercise the right to collective self-defense after World War II.

Japan's latest attempt to revise the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, widely taken as a radical turnabout from its post-war pacifist posture that has helped stabilize the security situation in Northeast Asia, has been initiated by increasingly assertive Prime Minister Shinzo Abe despite strong critisism at home and abroad.

As part of his effort to whitewash Japan's wartime military aggression, Abe's constitutional "reinterpretation" followed his brazen visits to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors 14 Class-A war criminals, and the challenge of the Kono Statement, which acknowledged and apologized for Japan's massive wartime sex slavery of Asian women.


Many are arguing that Abe has used his party's majority power in both chambers of parliament to craft, steamroll and enact this plan, in a manner that has not allowed for adequate debate in the Diet and has skirted the government's responsibility to seek public approval for such a monumental shift in security policy.

The public's voice has been marginalized to street protests. On Monday, about 10,000 protestors rallied in front of Abe's official residence, shouting loud "Tokyo against Fascism, now or never!" and "Step down Abe!" with megaphones and drums.

"I will never send my children to a battlefield to kill or be killed in a war, even the Americans urged us to," a 70 year-old woman with the family name of Murayama said to Xinhua.

28-year-old Hiroko Okada also came to the protest with her three-year-old son.

"Adults have a responsibility to make the right decision so children will not suffer in the future," she told Xinhua, adding "it's absolutely wrong to decide something so important only through a cabinet decision."

The protest, one of so many in recent days, was held only one day after a mid-aged man immolated himself on a girder of a pedestrian bridge in downtown Tokyo -- a rare form of protest in Japan -- after speaking out against Abe's re-interpretation of Article 9.

The tragedy seemingly did not touch politicians in Nagatacho, center of Japanese politics. Prevalent dumbness of Japanese mainstream media, such as the NHK, is also shocking.

Opposition to Japan exercising the right to collective self-defense is growing. According to the latest poll conducted by Japan's Nikkei News from June 27 to June 29, over half of Japanese oppose exercising the collective self-defense, 54 percent against reinterpretation of the constitution, with 29 percent supporting the move.

An earlier poll by Japan's Mainichi Shimbun showed that Abe's support rate has fallen to 45 percent, the lowest since his term from December 2012.

"U.S. will, others' calamity"

Abe's revised security policy has aroused criticism in many Asian countries, which had suffered from Japanese wartime aggression during WWII.

China on Tuesday urged Japan to respect Asian neighbors' security concerns and not to harm China's sovereignty and security interests.

For historical reasons, Japanese policy moves in military and security fields are closely watched by its Asian neighbors and the international community, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily press briefing.

"People cannot but question whether Japan will change the peaceful development path it has long stuck to since the end of WWII," Hong said.

Chheang Vannarith, a senior researcher of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, said Japan will further complicate regional security environment and hurt relations between Japan and its neighbors.

"The majority of Asian countries wish to see Japan not to amend its pacifist constitution," said Vannarith, who is also a lecturer of Asia Pacific Studies at University of Leeds in Britain.

Sok Touch, deputy director general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia's International Relations Institute, said Abe has intention to play a greater military role in the region.

"Abe's plan clearly shows that Japan is keen to use military forces legally again after it lost in WWII," he said. "It is a concern for Asia because Japan is capable of producing between 20 and 30 nuclear weapons a month due to its resources and expertise."

However, Abe's move to drop the ban on the exercise the right to collective self-defense will be welcomed by Washington, which has long urged Tokyo to take a larger stake in their military alliance.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki voiced support Monday for Japan's constitutional revision, saying "Japan has... every right to equip themselves in the way they deem necessary."

"We encourage them to do that in a transparent manner, and we remain in touch with them about these important issues," she said.

Abe's perilous obsession has already sent out a dangerous signal. It is high time the Japanese people and the international community jerked Abe back to common sense and stopped him from further befouling Japan's national ethos and undermining regional security.

As for the United States, which fought and defeated Japanese fascists in WWII, it should be wary of its rival-turned-ally's recklessness in case it lifts a rock only to drop it on its own feet.


China urges Japan not to harm its sovereignty, security interests

BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday urged Japan to respect Asian neighbors' security concerns and not to harm China's sovereignty and security interests as Japan approved a resolution to allow it a larger military role in Asia.

For historical reasons, Japanese policy moves in military and security fields are closely watched by its Asian neighbors and the international community, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily press briefing. Full Story

Japan's Cabinet OKs controversial resolution on collective self-defense

TOKYO, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese cabinet on Tuesday rubber-stamped a resolution that will allow the country to exercise collective self-defense right by reinterpreting the pacifist Constitution, despite strong criticism from the public and overseas.Full Story

Commentary: Abe's Faustian flirtation with specter of war

BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leading his country down a dangerous path as his cabinet is poised to approve on Tuesday a so-called constitutional "reinterpretation" that essentially guts Japan's pacifist charter.

The imminent revision of the long-standing rendition of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese constitution will overturn the ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense and pave the way for Japanese forces to fight abroad in defense of "countries with close ties."Full Story

News Analysis: Abe skirts constitution to wake up dormant war machine

TOKYO, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government on Tuesday is going to finish touches to a proposal likely to be accepted by the Cabinet, allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self- defense, in a historic move that has circumnavigated the nation's Constitution as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to leave his signature on the future annals of Japan's military history.

The move marks the most significant shift in Japan's post-war security policy and sees the realization of Abe's future legacy, as he has truculently, since returning to power, moved all the necessary pieces in his favor, including the final hurdle of getting his once reluctant New Komeito coalition ally on board with his militaristic ideology. Full story

Majority of Japanese oppose collective self-defense: polls

TOKYO, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Polls conducted by major Japanese newspapers showed that more than half of Japanese oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempt to lift the country's ban on collective self-defense rights.

According to a latest survey conducted through June 27 to 29 by Japan's Nikkei News, half of Japanese oppose dropping the ban on exercising collective self-defense as the rights may drag Japan into war. Full story


Editor: Mengjie
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