Once again, in its latest defense white paper, Japan has shamelessly accused China of jeopardizing regional peace and stability, playing up the “China Threat” for its own right-wing agenda.
As the Abe administration moves Japan’s security policy further and further to the right, rebuilding the country as a military power, those neighboring nations who remember the past look on aghast.
The new defense paper adopts an even more confrontational tone compared to previous ones, accusing China of “changing the status quo by relying on its strength” and expressing “deep concern” over China’s activities in the East and South China seas.
If history is indeed a mirror, then surely that mirror reflects Japan’s recent record of stirring up regional trouble and enmity wherever and whenever it can. If there is any meddling with the status quo, it is easy to see that Japan is the meddlesome one.
In 2012, Tokyo stoked up tensions in the East China Sea through the transparent farce of “purchasing” the Diaoyu Islands. Warships and aircraft were dispatched to the islands’ waters and skies, harassing Chinese vessels and aircraft going about their lawful business.
On the South China Sea, Japan — far from an interested party — can’t seem to keep its nose out of the issue, pointing fingers at China and cheerleading for distant parties who also seek to interfere in the dispute.
And then in April, Japan sent warships to the Philippines, perhaps as a direct “thank-you” for the spurious South China Sea arbitration, laying bare its attempts to mount pressure on China.
The Abe administration has tinkered with the stability of the Asia-Pacific and conjured up security threats for no reason other than to justify a move to the right: a militarist move which includes, but is not limited to, easier arms trade, weaker civilian control over the military, and these controversial security bills.
This year’s white paper makes much of the “constitutionality” of Japan’s new security laws – the legal foundation for the right-wing to take control of Japan’s defense.
Japan talks of “concern” and “vigilance” over China’s military development, and has done so in its annual papers since 2005. After new security legislation last year, Japan has taken a more proactive approach, a more aggressive approach, directly condemning and challenging China.
Abe and his coalition partners are clearly speeding up their attempts to rewrite the constitution before his tenure ends in 2018. Laws allowing Japan to engage in armed conflict overseas, even if Japan is not attacked or threatened, came into effect in March. The Abe administration is inching closer to its dream of replacing the country’s pacifist constitution with… a different kind of constitution.
The fanciful “China Threat” and tensions in the region are the best excuses for aggressive military and security polices that Tokyo can cook up.
Seven decades after World War II, Japan now stands at a critical juncture: to continue on its peaceful path or to return to militarism with all the fears and tensions that will bring to the region.
Each and every responsible member of the international community must stay vigilant. This peace and stability was hard-won. Its loss will be harder still. – Xinhua
Abe appoints ultra-right wing “hawk” Inada as new DM to push military agenda
Her comment that Japan’s actions during the war “depends on one’s point of view” has sparked anger from neighboring South Korea and China.
TOKYO, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s appointment of Tomomi Inada as defense minister following a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday has underscored his intentions to forge ahead with a controversial push to amend the nation’s pacifist Constitution and further expand the scope of the nation’s military, observers here have said.
The prime minister, nevertheless, has maintained that the reshuffle was aimed at speeding up the pace of the nation’s sluggish economic revival, following multiple failed installments of his “Abenomics” economic policy mix, following the approval a day earlier of a 28.1 trillion yen (277.74 billion U.S. dollar) stimulus package.
However, political observers attest that the hawkish Inada, 57, a particularly close ally of Abe’s, yet a novice when it comes to security issues, being given the defense minister’s portfolio demonstrates the prime minister’s intention to use his coalition’s newly-gained dominance in both chambers of parliament to advance his legacy-led mission to fundamentally reshape Japan’s security paradigm in the biggest, most controversial shift since WWII.
Security experts as well as senior members within the defense ministry itself believe that Inada, Japan’s second female defense minister following Yuriko Koike, herself recently elected to be Tokyo governor who held the position briefly in 2007, is ill-equipped and lacks the necessary experience to hold the defense ministry’s top post.
Inada is currently only serving her fourth term as a lower house lawmaker and previously held the post of state minister in charge of administrative reform for just two years and has chaired the ruling Liberal Democratic Party Policy Research Council again for just two years.
Defense, security and military affairs are not in her repertoire, experts close to the matter have maintained.
Inada, however, is known to share the prime minister’s singular goal of revising Japan’s postwar, pacifist constitution and is also, along with Abe and a number of other prominent cabinet members, a visible member of the ultra-right wing Nippon Kaigi fraternity.
“Inada has long been a member of Abe’s inner coterie and shares his fundamental beliefs about the future course of the nation’s political and security direction,” Asian affairs commentator Kaoru Imori told Xinhua, ahead of Inada’s widely-expected appointment.
“She is also a known right-wing revisionist and has made a number of controversial remarks about Japan’s history, and her membership to the right wing Nippon Kaigi group is evidence of her tendentious political and nationalistic views,” Imori added.
Nippon Kaigi is an ultranationalistic nonparty entity with around 300,000 members who all believe in praising the Imperial family (The Emperor), changing the war-renouncing, pacifist Constitution, promoting nationalistic education in schools and supporting parliamentarians’ visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.
It is the biggest right-wing organization in Japan and Abe has, ostensibly, cherry picked his Cabinet members from this group to run the country, with these “Shinto Conservatives” believing that Japan should not apologize for its wartime acts of brutality, despite the legitimacy of proven historical events.
The appointment of Inada as defense minister will almost certainly ruffle the feathers of Japan’s neighbors, experts claim. “The mood now is to try to promote cooperation,” Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University in Tokyo, was quoted as saying of the current situation regarding ties between Japan and its immediate neighbors.
“That could change if she makes a pilgrimage to Yasukuni in a couple of weeks,” Kingston added.
“Inada supports the prime minister and all parliamentarians’ visits to Yasukuni (shrine) and has openly contested The International Military Tribunal for the Far East after World War II. She also believes that Japan should not apologize for its internationally-recognized war crimes committed and is a proponent of denying Japan’s wartime atrocities,” Imori said.
To this end, Abe appointed her chairperson of the LDP Policy Research Council in September 2014, despite the fact that the position is almost always exclusively held by party members who have had lengthy political careers. – Xinhuanet
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TOKYO, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — The Japanese government approved a defense white paper for 2016 on Tuesday, summarizing Japan’s defense policy changes while smearing China’s normal maritime activities to justify Japan’s own militarization.
The annual document came after an ad hoc arbitral tribunal with judges mostly picked by Shunji Yanai, a Japanese right-winger, issued a biased and illegal award over the South China Sea dispute. Full story
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