Japan said goodbye to pacifism? | Latest news The Moscow Post
01 February 2023

Japan said goodbye to pacifism?

Important, if not dangerous, changes are taking place on the eastern borders of Russia. Japan is returning to the path of reviving full-fledged strike military capabilities, to a strategy of "integrated deterrence."

For many years, the Japanese were proud of the constitutional restrictions that regulated military construction, limited the defense budget, and even dictated Tokyo foreign policy behavior. The Japanese security doctrine was defensive, the Japanese military served in the "self-defense forces," a correspondent for The Moscow Post reports.

But restrictions gradually weakened, primarily under the influence of the United States and the nationalist sentiments of the Japanese elite itself. Now they are actually removed. The military will be replenished with high-precision long-range missile weapons, including hypersonic ones. The United States promised to help the "self-defense forces" with modern military equipment. They will start with Tomahawk cruise missiles. It is also stated that the United States and Japan will hone the "overall advantage" in the field of semiconductors, space, nuclear energy and economic security.

Japanese-specific pacifism

The changes in wording lead to the fact that Japan is losing its reputation as a country that has refused to use military force outside its territory. Tokyo finally said goodbye to this course in January 2023 during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Washington, where he held talks with US President Joe Biden.

The actual rejection of the peaceful constitution is not limited to the matter. The Japanese have long abandoned the "unsightly" part of their history. Under the control of the American occupation authorities, the Japanese elite readily adopted the peaceful Constitution written for it, pretending that until 1945 there was nothing, no aggression, no colonies, no crimes.

This yielded results. Many schoolchildren do not know anything about the acts of their ancestors in China or Korea, the treatment of prisoners of war by Americans and the British. Some Japanese believe that the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were dropped by the Russians. The image of Japan as a peace-loving country has become entrenched in the world.

But this is not the case, if only because the United States, as a partner of Japan, has far from peaceful instincts, and the list of wars and interventions will take several pages. In Japan, they cannot but know about this, but they endure hypocrisy and are disingenuous themselves. Biden, meeting with Kishida, called bilateral relations "the cornerstone of the world," and Tokyo's policy changes "Japan's courage." The Japanese elite cannot be denied readiness for radical change. Decisiveness was embodied in the revision of the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy and the Defense Growth Program. "This investment... modernize US-Japanese relations for the 21st century, "- noted in the Joint Statement of Biden and Kisida.

New "Self-Defense Forces"

Ties under the Mutual Cooperation and Security Treaty were considered a factor deterring Japan from building up its own military capabilities. Everything has changed, Washington now sees the Japanese "self-defense forces" as a full-fledged assistant.

The US is ready to help Japan acquire and improve capabilities to retaliate against enemy territory, John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator at the National Security Council, said in an interview with Nikkei. Recall that the Allies added the sphere of space to the scope of the Japanese-American security treaty.

Nuclear weapons remain outside the brackets of internal changes and external indulgences, but this makes up for cooperation with the United States within the framework of the bilateral alliance, which is also waiting for changes. It is possible that American nuclear warheads will become the subject of joint training by the Air Force. Taking into account the technological potential, the rearmament of the "self-defense forces" will be quick. Neighboring countries, including Russia, will have to reckon with this.

"The cornerstone of the world" touched Russia

It wouldn't be desirable to claim that the parties gave to the Joint statement exclusively anti-Russian tonality. Russia was mentioned in it four times. In particular, unconditional support of Ukraine was expressed. Japan declared determination to continue sanctions pressure. It is stated that Russia undermines energy and food security in the world.

For comparison, to the People's Republic of China got only once, concerning COVID-19 pandemic with a hint on "special responsibility" of Beijing. All this, except for couple of mentions of Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait where both Tokyo, and Washington kind of support "peaceful settlement".

Tokyo changed tone of statements concerning Russia, and the answer from Moscow was already heard. The deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev called "terrible shame" the statement that any possible use of nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine will be the hostile act against all mankind.

Medvedev told that the Japanese prime minister acted "as service staff of the USA and betrayed memory of hundreds of thousands of victims of atomic bombing by Americans of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" that Kisida should remind that the USA used nuclear weapon and to demand repentances.

Before a visit of the prime minister there took place negotiations in a format "two pluses two" the Japanese Foreign Minister Esimas Hayasi and the Minister of Defence Yasukazu Hamad with the American colleagues Anthony Blinkeny and Lloyd Austin. Following the results of negotiations the concern about the growing military cooperation of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, including naval exercises "Sea interaction-2022" was voiced.

Exercises took place in the water area of the East China Sea from December 21 to December 27. From the Navy of Russia the Guards Varangian guided missile cruiser, the Marshal Shaposhnikov frigate, corvettes of project 20380 "Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov" and "Perfect", from Naval Forces of NOAK — the destroyers "Jinan" and "Baotou", Binzhou and Yancheng frigates, the ship of complex supply and the diesel submarine were involved in them.

Participants of a meeting "two pluses two" called strategic military cooperation of Russia and China provocative. In Kisida and Biden's joint statement it is noted too that "The Indo-Pacific region faces the growing calls, from the actions incompatible with the international order based on rules from China, before provocations from North Korea".

About Senkaku Islands, Taiwan and the DPRK

Statements concerning the People's Republic of China to do the parties bewared. It was talked of intentions of Tokyo to strengthen the defensive potential, if necessary to participate in power dismantling with the countries - neighbors, the aspiration to increase a defense expenditure, "to develop opportunities for counterstroke".

Kisida and Biden declared the disagreement with attempts to unilaterally change the status quo around Senkaku Islands (Diaoyutai) which are operated by Japan and China applies for them. Biden confirmed that the USA will protect Japan according to Article V of the Contract on mutual cooperation and safety with use of all opportunities, including nuclear, confirmed that Article V is applicable also to Senkaku Islands.

The parties emphasized importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait. It was stated that "the main positions on Taiwan remain invariable, and we confirm importance of peacekeeping and stability through the Taiwan Strait as necessary element of safety and prosperity in the international community". Beijing warned against unilateral actions, but promises to limit such actions in return didn't give.

In the Japanese plans of "complex counteraction" the Pyongyang is on the first place. The crystal dream of the Japanese elite is to be quit with North Korea. Biden and Kisida confirmed "commitment of a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula according to resolutions of the Security council of the United Nations", but didn't even hint how they assume this to carry out "a full denuclearization". It is impossible to exclude that allies in new quality will already plan to make it force.

The last multilateral attempt to solve a problem through six-sided arrangements came to the end with the fifth round of negotiations in 2007 and didn't bring results. Still then, the Japanese side as a preliminary condition made the demand to the DPRK to solve "a problem of stealing". In the Joint statement Biden confirmed commitment to the solution of this problem. The parties also undertook to strengthen tripartite cooperation between Japan, the Republic of Korea and the USA in safety and other areas.

The The Washington Post newspaper noted that steps which are taken today by Japan in the field of building of the defensive opportunities were inconceivable within her pacifistic post-war constitution earlier. Now, as professor of political science of the Sofia university in Tokyo Kadzukhiro Maesima told the edition, Japan promptly "moves having not only "board", but also "spear"".

ASEAN, India, Quad, further everywhere

According to The Wall Street Journal, negotiations with Fumio Kisida could be the most significant diplomatic event of the coming year for the United States. Such a high assessment of this visit is explained by the fact that Japan today comes to the fore as the most important ally of the United States. Strengthening the alliance will help America confront China.

The US and Japan (along with Australia) hope that India will continue to perceive the Quad's political "square" as a "force for good" opposing China and Russia, which are given the exact opposite role. The intention was expressed to "continue to support the central role and unity of ASEAN, as well as ASEAN's views on the Indo-Pacific region."

Washington became the last point of the Japanese prime minister's weekly tour of the G7 countries ahead of the May G7 summit in Hiroshima. India and ASEAN countries can be expected to be at the centre of Western efforts to win them over.

Photo: Kommersant

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