Japan’s About Face

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I previously posted on Japan’s rise militarily in Asia: “Many of the BT’ers are well aware of  my post regarding Japan’s “defensive” military capabilities and the need for Japan to step up and do more than open their fat checkbook when it comes to defense contributions. Some may also remember my posts on Japan’s steady rise in the Asian-Pacific region and Japan cautiously testing the waters for constitutional reform.  Well the news below bolsters my stance that Japan is sending signals to its largest trading partner, China, that there is/will be a new sheriff (or at least deputy) in town.

Here is an excellent collection on Japan’s Self Defense Forces. Be sure to check out the vide0, audio and maps. Be sure to post your comments or questions!

Here some background information taken from the website:

“Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution reads: Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. 2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

In the aftermath of World War II, Japan’s new pacifist constitution renounced the right to wage war and maintain military forces. Instead, Japan created the Self-Defense Forces with a strictly defensive mandate.

In recent years, though, the line between defense and offense has blurred. In 2004, Japan sent its Ground Self-Defense Forces to Iraq — the first deployment of Japanese soldiers in an active combat zone in over 60 years.

With North Korea test-launching ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan and China’s economic and military expansion, Japan has started reconsidering its regional strategy.

Today, Japan has a $40 billion military budget, the fifth largest in the world.

Japan’s About-Face documentary is a remarkable window into the shifting role of the military in post-war Japanese society.

WIDE ANGLE has acquired unprecedented access to the National Defense Academy, Japan’s “West Point.” We follow Defense Academy cadets preparing for a future that may involve overseas deployment, and meet with a group of peace activists — some of them atom bomb survivors — on a grueling two month, 750-mile protest march from Hiroshima to Tokyo. We also witness joint maneuvers with the U.S. Marine Corps, a surveillance flight over the Sea of Japan, and the DDH Hyuga — the first Japanese aircraft carrier built since WWII.

Japan’s About-Face offers new insight into the future of Asian geopolitics.” Check out the interactive map of JSDF deployments and be sure to listen to the audio on the US – Japan Alliance.

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