Japan seeks to use military abroad
By Chung Min-uck
A committee under the Japanese prime minister offered to allow Japan’s self-defense force to engage in military activities overseas if its allies are attacked, according to NHK, a Japanese broadcaster, Thursday.
The report from the committee states “collective self-defense” should be pursued to allow military activities in other countries without any direct attack on Japan should be allowed, in order to “be more actively involved in world peace.”
“Collective self-defense” is a NATO concept often cited by rightist politicians and government officials in Japan.
The committee also requested the Japanese government to change the interpretation of the pacifist constitution that prohibits Japan from using military force as a means of settling international disputes. The constitution was enacted in 1947 following defeat in World War II.
As for the cause of the change it stated “It is inevitable for us to raise the status of Japan to enhance security cooperation with value-sharing countries such as the United States.”
Increased tension in Northeast Asia following North Korea’s attempted missile launch in April and China’s long-time military build-up have been the source of Japan’s military concerns.
Last month, Japan inserted into its nuclear power-related law a clause on “security guarantees” through the use of atomic power laying the legal groundwork for possible nuclear armament.
Tokyo also sought to sign an agreement on military intelligence exchange with Seoul last week, though this fell through.
The moves by Japan could see a strong backlash here as animosity still lingers over Tokyo’s continued denial of past atrocities and refusal to compensate colonial victims such as the former comfort women and forcibly conscripted Korean laborers under Japan’s 35-year of colonial rule of the peninsula (1910-1945).
Observers predict the anti-Japanese sentiment here could peak when Tokyo releases its annual defense white paper this month.
The annual paper has long served as a source of contention between the two neighboring countries. In 2011, it referred to the Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo as Japanese territory.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry downplayed Japan’s move.
“It would be difficult for Japan to do what the report states as it is basically guided by the pacifist constitution that prohibits it from using military force,” said an official from the ministry. “The report is not the government’s official position. It has not been adopted yet.”