THE passage by the lower house of the Japanese Diet of the highly unpopular security-related measures could lead to Japan becoming embroiled in a new war, according to the New York Times International Weekly.
An editorial in the July 27 issue of the NYT International Weekly said that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who rammed the measures in the lower house, is already being held in suspicion by many people in Japan and in the region “because of his appeals to Japan’s right-wing nationalists and because of doubts about whether he genuinely acknowledges and regrets Japan’s wartime aggression.”
“The concern is that he will lead a country that has long embraced pacifism into war,” the editorial said.
The editorial, entitled “Japan Rethinks Its Pacifism,” said democratic leaders are more successful when they persuade voters to support major policy initiatives and when they follow procedures that ensure changes are broadly accepted. “For many Japanese, Mr. Abe does not appear to have made his case or picked the right way to move forward,” it said.
The bills, which are considered in violation of the country’s war-renouncing Constitution by about 90 percent of constitutional experts in Japan, will enable Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to engage in armed conflicts overseas and help defend others even if Japan is not attacked, or exercise the right to collective defense.
The approval of the security bills sparked large protests in Japan from voters who worried that the changes would violate the country’s pacifist constitution and could entangle Japan in a US-led war. The legislation will be deliberated in the upper house.
A survey conducted by Kyodo news agency over the weekend after the measures were passed showed 51.6 percent disapproved of Abe’s government. This was the first time that Abe’s disapproval rating had topped 50 percent since he took office in December 2012.
In Manila, Jose Cortez, a political and diplomatic analyst, noted that the security measures were passed a few days before the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
Cortez, a consultant of the Media and Communication Research Center of the Universidad de Manila (University of Manila), said the timing of the bills’ approval was a clear signal that a genuine apology for Japan’s war crimes by Abe is not forthcoming.
The analyst said the adoption of the security measures would upend the peace and stability in the region which, during the past few years, has achieved unprecedented economic growth.
After the passage of the security measures on July 16, China called on Japan to refrain from damaging China’s sovereignty and security interests. PNA/Xinhua
“Due to historical reasons, Japan’s military and security developments have been closely watched by Asian neighbors and the international community,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing said.
“The passage of the bills in the lower house of the nation’s Diet is an unprecedented move from Japan since the end of World War II, which may lead to a major change in the country’s military and security policies,” Hua said.