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Japan is no longer a peaceful country

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

12-09-2015 17:18 BJT

By Hou Jun, a Ph.D. Candidate,China Foreign Affairs University

Japan adopted the route of "pacifism" for a long time after World War II; however, the Japanese government has constantly amended this route over the years and began to carry out their so-called "positive pacifism". Since 2002, Japan's defense budget kept decreasing, but the reigning Abe government started to increase it beginning in the 2013 financial year.

According to Japanese media reports, the 2016 defense budget will break the existing record, reaching a high of 5 trillion yen, or some 40.6 billion US dollars, to facilitate the implementation of New Security Bills. This is a very big move for Japan to take as it relates to their defense strategy and their bid to lift the ban on military affairs.  Irrespective of the armed forces or military expenditure, it is evident that Japan has exceeded its normal defense requirements.

Japan is a veritable military country under the guise of a “peaceful country”

By the end of last year, data from the 2014 National Defense White Paper showed that Japanese Self-Defense Forces had 255,355 personnel. Japan's ground military was equipped with 690 tanks, 970 armored cars, 5000 artilleries and 433 helicopters. Maritime self-defense forces had 47 naval vessels (above the level of a destroyer), 16 submarines, 73 loitering aircraft and 96 helicopters.

Seemingly, the number of Japanese Self-Defense Forces is small, but it has a cutting-edge, precise and advanced military power. Lately, Japan's military strength ranked No.4 in the Credit Suisse survey on 20 countries in the world. Additionally, Japan has a strong social mobilization ability and industrial production capacity.  The passage of New Security Bills and the alliance with the United States will further strengthen Japan's military power.

Japan’s enhanced military power can cause confrontation with China

Since returning to power in 2013, Abe has been propagating the China threat theory, aimed at boosting Japan’s military by reinforcing the alleged China threat. Heated discussions on the China threat theory have enabled Abe to put through the new security bills that cleared the legal obstacles for Japan’s military expansion. The essence of the bills lies in throwing away the Peace Constitution and their defense posture and changing Japan's Self-Defense Forces from a defensive armed power into a strong aggressive one.

In the 2016 fiscal year, Japan’s military budget will enable the country to purchase 12 US-made vertical take-off and landing Osprey aircrafts and 36 fast-moving armored vehicles equivalent to the firepower of tanks. Directed at China’s so called attempts of accelerating into neighboring seas, Japan will buy 17 SH60K anti-submarine helicopters and 6 F35 stealth fighters.

In addition, Japan will further strengthen its aid to the Philippines and Vietnam to better assist in confronting China. Japan’s military actions are more aggressive than ever, their military goal will only lead to more tension in East Asia and do more harm to the region’s stability.

In strengthening their military power, Japan makes attempts to be a so-called ‘normal country’

The continuous enhancement of Japan’s military power does not only aim to confront China, but also aims to recover Japan’s status as a great power.  Abe’s purpose of forcing through New Security Bills and amending the constitution is a way to revitalize Japan’s presence in the region.

For a long time, Japan advertises its image as an economic power and wins national soft power for itself, but it always hopes that their strong economic power will turn into military power. Abe’s authority took its own course and undermined the Peace Constitution, for the sake of fulfilling the mission of ensuring that Japan acts as a so-called ‘normal country’.

From their perspective, Japan cannot be a truly great power if it is not endowed with a strong military presence.

The passing of the New Security Bills gets rid of the obstacles and enables Abe to increase the country’s military expenditure with the goal of increasing Japan’s military prowess. This starts with a historic high of a military budget of more than 5 trillion yen, and grows with Japan’s continuous desire to become an advanced military power.

The real feature of Abe’s so-called active pacifism is making continuous efforts to expand the military forces while the so-called national thinking of peaceful pacifism is now fading.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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