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

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

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.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid