2014年12月08日

Reinterpretation of Article 9 and Japan’s Security Destination 4

Irrational action will cost Japan

While it is true that China is becoming a major political, economic, and military power in the world, it does not necessary mean China is a threat to Japan. What Japan needs to do is to develop its own security strategy in the context of the newly established U.S.-China relationship.  As fighting proxy wars with China is not the U.S.’s interest, there is no guarantee that the U.S. will use their armed force to protect Japan should Japan and China have skirmishes over territory. And if this is the case, there would be no advantage of Japan to degrade its relationship with China. Instead, Japan’s security priority should be maintaining a good relationship with China. Japan, however, has not acted rationally as it has dealt with the territorial issues surrounding Senkaku-island.

The current territorial dispute over Senkaku-island was initially brought to an attention in April 2012 when the Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, declared that Tokyo was going to purchase the island. Up until that point the territorial dispute had been “put up on a shelf” by an unofficial agreement of the leaders of both countries. They determined that it was more important to prioritize the mutual strategic cooperation rather than feud over territorial issues that would be never settled.

In the end, the Japanese government nationalized the island, which not only caused more friction with China but changed their giant neighbor into somewhat of an enemy. Since then, there have been no further diplomatic conversations between Beijing and Tokyo. These days, the Japanese government considers China as a serious threat to national and regional security and that is precisely why Abe wants to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance and lift the ban on right to exercise collective self-defense.

Abe’s decision on collective self-defense, however, is completely irrational. The practical approach of facing all the new challenges with an emerging China would have been to heal wounds and redevelop a positive and mutually beneficial relationship. Abe has done very little to control the damages and is about to exacerbate it.


Is Article 9 Japan’s path to security?


Of all the security measures a country can use to keep their country safe, a policy requiring a country exist as a pacifist nation, as described in Article 9, is a powerful one. Born out of atrocities, Article 9 is the only silver lining for Japan post WWII and unintentionally placed Japan in the unique position of being the only country in the world with the opportunity to stay out of wars on foreign soil. Beyond all the criticism associated with Article 9, it allows Japan to say “we cannot exercise the collective self-defense” and provides Japan an insulation from the potential of war.

Through the decades, Japan’s commitment upholding Article 9 has sent a message to the world that it is Japan’s policy to hold its pacifist ideology and settle conflicts through diplomacy and international law. The pacifist reputation that Japan has acquired as a nation by not engaging in war for nearly 70 years, is, without doubt, a strong asset. Choosing a path to maintain an international profile as a pacifist nation by keeping the original interpretation of Article 9 intact is strategically wise.

One may argue that it is too naïve to think that the ideology will defend you or that Japan’s interpretation of Article 9 is a convenient excuse for not sending Japanese troops into harm’s way.  And although true, the reality is that Japan still has SDF that is legal and has U.S.-Japan Treaty as a deterrent mechanism. In the end, SDF is a no different from any other military and posses sufficient personnel and sophisticated technologies capable of engraining in war.

In a complex world where there are a lot of moving parts, foreign policy in one part of the world has global impacts. With the failed effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, the world is now less stable than prior to those wars.  Exercising collective self-defense that further binds Japan to the U.S. may not necessarily make Japan safer when tie to a country with failed foreign policy could put a target on Japan. Do Japanese really want to sacrifice their young soldiers for what can potentially raise their own security risks?

With the national election around the corner, it is the time for Japanese citizen to choose their own destiny. If Japanese people do not want to repeat the past and keep their country away from dangers of politically motivated wars, they need to elect a leader who will defend Article 9 with the clear vision to keep Japan a pacifist nation. 



posted by Oceanlove at 18:46| 日本の政治 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする
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