I love indicators and love it when the truth comes out. In 2008, I blogged on Japan Rising in the Pacific which discusses Japan’s military ambitions and right to self-collective defense. Here is the latest from the IISS via the China Daily:
Japan has been formally classified for the first time since World War II as an aircraft-carrier power by a leading Western international affairs think tank. Japan has one Hyuga-class aircraft carrier, according to Military Balance 2011, an annual report published on Tuesday by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) assessing the military capabilities and defense economics of 170 countries worldwide.
The annual report is an essential resource for those involved in security policymaking, analysis and research.
Classifying Japan as an aircraft carrier power means China now has four Asian neighbors with the giant vessel. Russia, India and Thailand are reported to have one aircraft carrier in service.
Former Japanese foreign minister Seiji Maehara, shortly before he resigned for accepting an illegal donation, expressed Japan’s “grave concern” over China’s military development and alleged plan to build an aircraft carrier.
The Japan’s government Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano has said that Japan, if necessary, will defend the Senkaku Islands by military force.
Senkaku is a group of inhabited islands in the East China Sea, disputable between Japan and China. “Senkaku” is the Japanese name, and the Chinese one is “Diaoyu” or “Diaoyutai”.
“If foreign forces invade the islands, Japan will knock them out,” Mr. Edano said.
He didn’t specify which “foreign forces” he meant, but observers think that he, most probably, meant China.
“The Senkaku Islands (尖閣諸島, Senkaku Shotō?, variants: Senkaku-guntō and Senkaku-rettō), also known as the Diaoyu Islands or Diaoyutai Islands or the Pinnacle Islands, are a group of disputeduninhabited islands in the East China Sea. They are located roughly due east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands.
Japan controlled these islands from 1895 until her surrender at the end of World War II. The United States administered them as part of the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands from 1945 until 1972, when the islands reverted to Japanese control under the Okinawa Reversion Treaty between the United States and Japan. Since 1971, they have been actively claimed by both the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The Chinese claim the discovery and control of the islands from the 14th century.
Should Japan never become a normal country and not have the right to collective self-defense? Wouldn’t this help ease the Okinawa mondai (problem)? Maybe provide a sense of pride in the fretta (slackers) in Japan. How about stroking the flames of nationalism when World Cup or Olympic fans have nothing to do? Who knows, just inquiring!
I believe that Japan has used Article 9 and the Yoshida Doctrine to slowly and efficiently build up its Self Defense Force while enjoying or tolerating the collective-protectionism of the United States. While some say that the US should leave Japan or get out of Asia entirely, many Asian nations do not want to see the return of “Imperial” Japanese Forces, especially forces that can go nuclear. Yes, there are current territorial disputes, false claims in textbooks, the comfort woman issue, and the huge task that Hello Kitty must take on to promote Japan, Inc. in a manner pleasing to those that fall sway to Japan’s soft power. I just wonder what Japan should do once India and China flex their power in regions strategic to the United States and Japan’s interests? Has anyone noticed the current scramble for better “relations” with Africa by the US, China, Japan, and India? What are the implications?
I say let Japan deploy their troops overseas. I expected this debate to rear its ugly little head again when the SDF went on their test run in Iraq. The first Gulf War was an exercise in checkbook diplomacy for Japan. This time around with the Global War on Terror, Japan got their fingernails dirty so the next logical move is lend a hand.
Bottom line for me is that the relevance of an undemocratic China’s rising power and expanding role and India’s “ambition” in the international system can be deemed “dangerous” to the global interests of the United States. China will continue to challenge US foreign policy decisions by using both economic and military power (although militarily they still have some work to do). But let’s face it, the rise of China and India is unavoidable. I feel that it is in the US and Japan’s interests to have Japan return to normal status and deploy its forces overseas. I will give additional reasons later but I hope to receive some feedback from the BT readers. [source]
BT’ers, it’s about to get interesting!