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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (3)
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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid