I have touched on this topic before about Japan pushing to expand it’s military, the SDF (Self-Defense Forces), and now it appears it is getting closer to becoming a reality and many across Japan are not happy about it.
To recap, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing legislation to reinterpret Article 9 of the Japanese constitution that limits its military forces to a defensive force. Abe and his supporters want to expand the military and allow it to defend itself around the world along with allies. The US supports this movement and from a distance it kind of makes sense (to me eyes at least). The world is changing. It sees that in every corner of the world, there is some kind of conflict going on with innocents being drawn into the fray. It’s getting harder to find a country that isn’t involved in some form or fashion. From an outsider looking in, it would only make sense that Japan would need to beef up it’s military and take a larger role in the world. Yet, most of Japan sees it from a different stand point.
Japan has been a pacifist nation for nearly 70 years now since the end of WWII. It’s military was reduced and has been only been used as a defensive force to protect the country. Most of the country wants to keep it that way and do not want to get drawn into foreign wars. 54% of Japan, in a recent poll, feel Abe is moving this vote way to fast and has not taken the time in the government or with the people to have an open discussion in changing Article 9. Many see it as a rush to war and do not approve of this move to amend the constitution. Thousands have begun to protest in the streets of Tokyo (just look at the image above!). The nation is voicing its thoughts and concerns, but it doesn’t seem to be reaching Abe as he works with the Diet to get it passed.
I’m curious if anyone out there, especially if they live in Japan, have thoughts to share on this issue. From someone in the US, we can’t get the full picture or the general feeling of people living in Japan and how they truly feel. As an outsider, I can see how both sides have valid points to make. On Abe’s side, it can be argued that Japan has to be prepared for conflict at some point. I mean, look around Asia. Russia, China, North Korea, are all threats to Japanese security, so the need to bolster the armed forces only makes sense. Then there is the peaceful side that does not want to draw Japan into a war, something that could costs money and more importantly, lives. Japan has known peace for a long time and the thought of any conflict is not flying over well with the Japanese people.
If you have any thoughts on this topic, live in Japan, or have insight on the topic, let me know. I’m curious how other people view the situation.