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8 Jul, 2014

Chinese Commentary: Japan set to send younger generation back into battle

Beijing, (People’s Daily Online) July 07, 2014  – Despite strong resistance from many Japanese and the Kōmeitō party, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took a historic step away from Japan’s postwar pacifism on Tuesday afternoon by ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since 1945.

On the surface this appears to be a victory for Abe, but the blatantly belligerent intentions behind the move have caused anger in China.

Abe also wants to change some laws on self-defense forces, and then discuss with the U.S. their respective strategic responsibilities and the resulting modifications to the guidelines of the bilateral defense alliance.

The decision made by Abe’s cabinet shows that Japan has completely abandoned its “passive defense” policy and wants to clear the barriers to military cooperation with the United States and other countries.

The lifting of the ban on collective self-defense not only violates the Constitution of Japan, but offends against the spirit of the times. Abe’s decision has alarmed Japan’s Asian neighbors and worried many peace-loving Japanese at home.

It also clearly shows the eagerness of Abe Cabinet’s to use force overseas. According to current law, Japan must respond with violence only if its allies are attacked or the lives or freedom of the Japanese people are threatened. Japan’s allies include the Philippines and Vietnam – countries that have island disputes with China in South China Sea.

Behind Japan’s vague assumptions and groundless excuses, Japan has targeted its decision without a doubt on China and the Korean Peninsula. It appears that Abe intend to send a new generation into battle and death.

In nearly seven decades after World War II, this is first time that Japan has taken a historic step away from its postwar pacifism – a complete subversion of its peaceful development.

Inspired by U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan and the Philippines in April, Japan has stepped up a joint strategy with the Philippines and Vietnam. In the next few years, Vietnam and the Philippines will enhance their Navy and air force, with the support of the U.S. and Japan, and probably challenge China in the South China Sea. The U.S. and Japan will then benefit.

Moreover, Abe’s tentacles also extended into NATO, in an attempt to impose strategic constraints on China through “violent multilateralism” on a larger scale.

Japan’s discreditable decision is against the world trend of peace and will ultimately fail.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Tuesday that China is opposed to Japan’s pursuit of its domestic political goals by deliberately inventing a “China threat”, and urged Japan to respect the legitimate security concerns of its Asian neighbors and deal prudently with relevant issues.

He said that Japan must not undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, nor should it harm regional peace and stability.

The article is edited and translated from the Chinese version 《安倍要把日本孩子重新送上战场》on the Overseas Edition of People’s Daily, written by Liu Jiangyong. The author is vice president of Contemporary International Relations School of Tsinghua University.