News / Asia

    Japan Outlines Constitution Change Impact

    Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe gestures as he answers questions from reporters after discussing Japan's new security policy during a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, July 17, 2014.
    Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe gestures as he answers questions from reporters after discussing Japan's new security policy during a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, July 17, 2014.
    Simone Orendain

    Japan’s ambassador to the Philippines, Toshinao Urabe, says the proposed “reinterpretation” of Japan's pacifist constitution would allow it to help if a country it has a “close relationship” with is attacked.
     
    This means it would help defend the U.S., which is its only mutual defense treaty ally.  Urabe said under the treaty, Japan is not obligated to use force in helping.  The reinterpretation would enable it to do so.
     
    But Urabe told reporters at a forum in Manila Thursday that in the case of other countries like the Philippines, which he said Japan also has a close relationship with, it would “depend on the situation.”  He said Japan is most concerned with protecting its nationals if they are in vulnerable security situations.
     
    “But basically this is a policy to defend ourselves in various situations which were not conceived before.  And I think it’s important to make necessary preparation to various security situations,” Urabe stated.
     
    Urabe reiterated that Japan has no intention of building up troop presence around the world.
     
    Territorial disputes

    The Philippines and Japan are both having contentious territorial disputes with China over formations in the East China and South China Seas.
     
    China said it has indisputable sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, while the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have claims there.  
     
    In the East China Sea, Japan and China have been at odds over islands called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China. In the past two years both sides have accused each other of harassment at sea and in the airspace above the islands.
     
    Both bodies of water have rich fishing grounds, potentially major oil and gas reserves and heavily traveled shipping lanes.  The East China Sea’s lanes are considered a strategic gateway to the region.
     
    The Philippines has one of the smallest military budgets in Asia and it is looking for support as it contends with China’s growing assertiveness in the region.  It continues to strengthen military ties with the U.S.  And in the face of China’s admonition, it has vocally supported Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s relaxing his country’s defense policy.
     
    Future security measures

    Japan is supplying 10 new coast guard vessels to the Philippines, which are expected to arrive in 2016.  It is also looking at providing technology to help boost Philippine maritime surveillance.
     
    Urabe does not directly name China as one of driving forces changing the security situation Japan faces.  And he said the shift in Japan’s security policy is heavily focused on coming to the United States’ aid.
     
    Richard Heydarian is a Manila-based Asia geopolitical analyst.  He said the proposal is widely seen as a way to keep China in check.  “On one hand this will make it easier for Mr. Abe to have much more robust countermeasures against China’s territorial provocations in the Senkaku-Diaoyu,” he explained.
     
    Heydarian said it is also a way for Japan to gain a foothold as a major security player in the region.  He points out that Japan is bolstering its image as a security counterbalance to China that the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can depend on.
     
    Urabe said the shifting defense policy has wide support from ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand and other nations in the region. 

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 17, 2014 10:20 AM
    Let the little island of the rising sun build up their little military on their little island, that the US now has to protect, and to stop their honorable ancestors from spinning in their graves, listening to the whining and crying of the little islanders, on the island of the rising sun..... The little island of the rising sun, has no friends or allies in Asia, only business partners, with long lasting memories of horrific atrocities committed on them, by the little islanders?
    In Response

    by: aladin from: u.s.a.
    July 18, 2014 1:28 PM
    thats what you think meanball...
    In Response

    by: Hoang from: Canada
    July 17, 2014 4:26 PM
    Meanbill,
    the little island China's behind in world war 2 when China cried for the U.S. for help. Now that China is richer, thanks to Nixon, Kissinger and Clinton administration, it claim 90% of East Sea(South of China Sea) and annexed territories from its weaker neighbours, Vietnam, India, Laos, Phillipines. As you mention Japan has no friends, you must mean your own country, China.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora