News / Asia

    Japan Mulls Security Reform, Prompting Chinese Anger

    Japan Mulls Security Reform, Prompting Chinese Angeri
    X
    October 21, 2013 11:57 PM
    Japan’s government says it plans to allow its self-defense forces to play a greater role in global security. Currently, Japan's ‘pacifist’ constitution -- written under American supervision after World War II -- allows the country's armed forces to be used only for defensive purposes to preserve national security. But Tokyo's current plans have prompted anger in China, which is engaged in a heated territorial dispute with Japan. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from Tokyo.
    Henry Ridgwell
    Japan’s government says it plans to allow its self-defense forces to play a greater role in global security. Currently Japan's ‘pacifist’ constitution, written under American supervision after World War II, allows the country's armed forces to be used only for defensive purposes to preserve national security. Tokyo's current plans have prompted anger in China, however, which is engaged in a heated territorial dispute with Japan.

    On Friday under the glare of the media, a group of more than 100 Japanese lawmakers visited Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including several convicted war criminals.

    The visit prompted anger in China. Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said, "once again China urges Japan to abide by its commitment and promise to deeply examine history and take real measures to win the trust of Asian neighbors and the international community."

    The tension comes as the two countries dispute the ownership of offshore islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

    Opening a new session of Japan’s parliament last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made national security a central pillar of his policy reform.

    Abe said Japan must not look away from the reality of an increasingly severe security situation in the region.

    "I will proceed with a realistic security policy and diplomacy," he added.

    Japan has developed what it terms "self-defense forces," but relies on its alliance with the United States for its overall security.

    Nationalist author Hideaki Kase said that reliance, though, is out of date.

    “We are now witnessing rising American isolationism. So we can no longer place 100 percent trust in U.S. willingness to defend us,” he said.

    Compared to the U.S., China’s relative military power is expanding rapidly, said Shinichi Kitaoka, Japan's former ambassador to the U.N. and key advisor to Abe.

    “Not only the rapid rise of their [China’s] military budget. Their activities are sometimes irregular, and it seems to us challenging to the status quo by force, which is very dangerous,” said Kitaoka.

    Japanese warships are currently deployed in anti-piracy operations off Somalia. Should allied warships come under attack, Japan’s constitution forbids its forces from coming to their aid.

    Kitaoka said Japan must re-interpret its constitution and lift the self-imposed ban on the right to exercise collective self-defense.

    “If we have to respond to all the threats by individual effort alone, then we would probably have to have a big military," he said. "So the collective right of self-defense is not dangerous, rather it is a safer way to peace.”

    But recent opinion polls show just half of Japanese voters favor revising the country's pacifist constitution, far less than the 90 percent of lawmakers who desire to do so.  
    Tokyo resident Takako Tsuchida is among those who opposes changing the constitution. Tsuchida said she is 100 percent against all war.

    "So if you change the constitution," she said, "I worry that there’s a possibility that war would happen again, so that’s why I’m against it."

    Abe insists that allowing Japan to play a greater role in global security, however, will promote regional peace. But fear persists among its neighbors that Japan has yet to heed the lessons of its past.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Atlas from: Canada
    October 22, 2013 4:46 PM
    @Ian If Japan wants to arm itself but bringing US in this conflict showing Japan is lying and using China as an excuse to expand to its military power. Don't forget Abe is from a WWII famous war criminal family and his record is trying to deny all the WWII crimes that they committed: comfort women, mass killing, using chemical weapons, changing shool text...
    All these showing is heading to extreme right. Watch out the this evil army return.

    by: Atlas from: Canada
    October 22, 2013 10:50 AM
    Now Japan is heading to extreme right and bring back the imperial army. This is a shame to Japan going this direction. Abe does not need to reform security as Japan is protected by US and Abe using China as an excuse to expand its imperial army. Why? He is one of the famous WWII war criminal family member. Still want to bring back the glory of the evil army.

    Talking peace but worship the evil imperial Japan army symbol shrine. Abe claimed himself as an extreme right now offering to the war shrine, the famous WWII criminals burying there. It is an insult to all the victims. Unable to repent to what they did in WWII war crimes and try to hide them. Shame to Abe and watch out the evil returns.
    In Response

    by: Atlas from: Canada
    October 24, 2013 3:19 PM
    @Vic When Abe got in power, no body thinks he is an extreme right wing as he admitted in UN. Now, Abe is from the famous WWII war criminal family Nobusuke Kishi who is Abe grand parent showing he is in favor of return imperial Japan army. Why? He denied the comforted women, denied Tokyo Trial, denied mass killing .... All are committed by the evil imperial army in WWII and Abe still says it is not commited even with true edvience. Don't be fool by this cunning fox.
    In Response

    by: Vic from: US
    October 24, 2013 2:41 AM
    Atlas, according to the news article, it didn't say that Japan is going back to Imperial Army. It said that they currently have islands dispute with China and they need to protect themselves by building a up-to-date military units for self defense. Also they are not sure if the US will come in aid, if China and Japan gets into war. You need to read the article very well before you can come up with their own theory that is not relevant at all.
    In Response

    by: Ian from: USA
    October 22, 2013 1:35 PM
    Because the US is financially so heavily in debt to China, I doubt if any countries can rely on it to help if they are to be attacked by China.
    Japan should have the right to the arm itself , why should Japan gamble with its security relying on somebody else's promise of protection (Remember in the past, when the US courting China, it abandoned South Vietnam & dropped Taiwan like a couple sack of sad potatoes)

    by: No tonsul from: Japan
    October 22, 2013 9:29 AM
    This article feels not neutral but so 'left' in Japan now. I think Henry Ridgwell may feel sympathy to China or be taught it by anti-authority Japanese.

    by: hb from: Beijing
    October 22, 2013 12:00 AM
    First, beat China; then USA.
    In Response

    by: Ian from: USA
    October 22, 2013 1:23 PM
    Actually, many countries in the region starts to feel the heat not from Japan but China, whose actions are pretty aggressive lately. So I would think we can rephrase the real sentiment from the point of the chinese government's think tank
    "first beat Japan, then USA in the not too far future"

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora