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Nationalist author Hideaki Kase said that reliance, though, is out of date.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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs