Speaking of WWII, Japan weakened commitment to pacifism in their constitution

posted at 11:01 am on July 2, 2014 by Noah Rothman

While we are on the subject of World War II and the worst things to have happened since that pivotal 20th Century event, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defied domestic public opinion on Tuesday when he pushed for and the country’s coalition government approved of a shift in the nation’s defense policy.

For 70 years, Article 9 in Japan’s post-war constitution has prohibited that nation from undertaking offensive military operations or providing for its own collective defense. Abe gutted that pacifism provision, according to The Japan Times, on Tuesday when he signed a provision changing the law to allow Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to provide for their own defense and to come to the aid of allies.

The Cabinet decision, pending related changes to relevant laws, paves the way for the SDF to use force overseas to defend Japan’s allies even if Japan itself is not under attack. In other words, it allows Japan to take part in conflicts abroad, potentially putting SDF members in harm’s way.

“The global situation surrounding Japan is becoming ever more difficult,” Abe told the country in a televised press conference. “Being fully prepared is effective in discouraging any attempt to wage a war on Japan. The cabinet decision today will further lessen the chance of Japan being engaged in war. That is my conviction.”

Japanese relations with its rising neighbor and historic adversary, China, have been worsening in recent weeks since the People’s Republic announced its claim to territory in the South China Sea the Philippines regards as within its economic zone.

Chinese, Filipino, and Japanese naval and air assets have come into close contact on multiple occasions in recent weeks as those nations test each other’s defensive parameters.

In response to Japan’s planned constitutional adaptations, China sent two naval vessels to sail just 12 miles off the coast of the Japanese Senkaku Islands – a chain which China also claims.


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I can’t see this as anything but a positive. We’ve been complaining forever about our allies hiding behind our skirt, so here we go.

LukeinNE on July 2, 2014 at 11:05 AM

We need to draw a red line on this matter.

acyl72 on July 2, 2014 at 11:06 AM

they know we won’t protect them so have no choice.

dmacleo on July 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

No one can blame them. Japan doesn’t have a friend in the US any more.

Schadenfreude on July 2, 2014 at 11:08 AM

This is good for the U.S. The Japanese might now be able to provide military support to the U.S., rather than merely humanitarian aid, logistics supports, and the like. The U.S. will hold more power, even when the French decide to shift their tanks into reverse.

blammm on July 2, 2014 at 11:08 AM

I think it’s a good thing. They need to be able to protect their own people.

gophergirl on July 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

I hope they build some of those outer-space battleships.

Bishop on July 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

I expect, somewhere in a deep dark bunker, Japan has all the pieces of strategic nuclear missiles staged and ready to be assembled in less than a week. If not, they should be working on that, because the US doesn’t have there back, unfortunately.

Fenris on July 2, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Post-America world is gearing up.

rob verdi on July 2, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Great! Maybe now we can stop providing for their defense and bring our troops home. Then, the Japanese can raise their own army and navy and perhaps their young men’s genitalia will pop back out and we can stop seeing all these stories about the demographic crash going on there.

Occams Stubble on July 2, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Should have happened already.

bluegill on July 2, 2014 at 11:11 AM

I hope they build some of those outer-space battleships.

Bishop on July 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

The hell with battleships I hope they can create Godzilla and Mothra

Conservative4ev on July 2, 2014 at 11:12 AM

This is a good thing. Japan is an ally.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on July 2, 2014 at 11:14 AM

I hope they build some of those outer-space battleships.

Bishop on July 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

I’m thinking they are working on piloted mechanized humanoid robots. Hopefully one that can combine to form even a more massive robot.

Shtetl G on July 2, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Robotech will now become a reality! SDF-1 will rise!

gator70 on July 2, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Good. The I trust the Japanese more than about anyone else at this point. Plus, look at it through Japan’s eyes. America is so weak, can they really depend on us?

portlandon on July 2, 2014 at 11:16 AM

I can think of a few worse things that have happened in the past 70 years, than a civilized people wanting to defend themselves from aggression.

MNHawk on July 2, 2014 at 11:18 AM

I can’t see this as anything but a positive. We’ve been complaining forever about our allies hiding behind our skirt, so here we go.

LukeinNE on July 2, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Yep. I’m impressed with Abe for his foresight in this matter – he seems to have seen the decline in US power coming before any other major ally did. His pivot to a more aggressive military posture seems to have come just in time.

Can’t say I think much of his “Abenomics” economic policies though…

Doomberg on July 2, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Not a problem. They need to protect themselves. They border two hostile countries and will have piracy problems in their Southern oceans.

Robotech will now become a reality! SDF-1 will rise!

gator70 on July 2, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Skynet will be Japanese not American.

Oil Can on July 2, 2014 at 11:20 AM

I don’t blame them, and only wonder what took so long.

What kind of Constitution states a country won’t defend itself?! Were the Japanese Progressives after WW2?

Dolce Far Niente on July 2, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Hopefully Obama has a chance to be clear on this.

All he needs is one good speech to fix all this.

Gatsu on July 2, 2014 at 11:22 AM

they know we won’t protect them so have no choice.
dmacleo on July 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

This. They don’t have enough muslims to get Obama to care about them.

ConstantineXI on July 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM

I hope they build some of those outer-space battleships.

Bishop on July 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

With one of these, I hope.

CurtZHP on July 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Red China is not happy today.

formwiz on July 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM

No one can blame them. Japan doesn’t have a friend in the US any more.

Schadenfreude on July 2, 2014 at 11:08 AM

This.

Our European allies see us as weak as well with hashtag replies to real issues. Are “our girls” back, Mooch? Barry? No.

Even if people like Jake the Snake at CNN won’t cover Obama scandals for American audiences, foreign journalists and their governments know the truth. America, under teh one, cannot be trusted for anything except lawlessness and cheap entertainment.

The IRS, Benghazi, the illegal children’s crusade…and the band plays on while the media cover their hopes for hurricanes.

The Japanese should do all they can and fast.

clnurnberg on July 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Hopefully Obama has a chance to be clear on this.

All he needs is one good speech to fix all this.

Gatsu on July 2, 2014 at 11:22 AM

He just needs to use the word period as if he were a whole WNBA team.

ConstantineXI on July 2, 2014 at 11:24 AM

The question is whether their Defense Forces will be manned entirely by robots at that point. You laugh and joke about Gundam and Battletech, but wait ’till the robots decide to re-imagine the Japanese Empire. You will rue the day you let Japan out of its box, I say. Rue. The. Day.

GWB on July 2, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Good News. We were better off when Japan was the nation buying our bonds.

mankai on July 2, 2014 at 11:25 AM

What kind of Constitution states a country won’t defend itself?! Were the Japanese Progressives after WW2?

Dolce Far Niente on July 2, 2014 at 11:21 AM

The one that we wrote for them after their last Imperial debacle, that’s what kind.

GWB on July 2, 2014 at 11:27 AM

We have been sold out. Obama and his communist police state press buddies have made it necessary for the Japanese to take their own security more seriously. I agree that they should have been helping years ago, but they see the probability of a continued Pax Americana as slim, and are preparing. Good on them.

clnurnberg on July 2, 2014 at 11:27 AM

In The Next 100 Years, George Friedman predicts that China will diminish and Japan will be our greatest geopolitical foe by the late 21st century.

Hard to take anything that far off seriously, but it’s worth some thought.

peski on July 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM

It’s worth noting that Japan is clearly concerned about a Chinese attack on them given this news from a couple months ago: http://thediplomat.com/2014/04/japan-to-station-troops-on-yonaguni-near-disputed-islands/

Doomberg on July 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM

China is part of this- but the big deal (as some other commenters have noted) is the unspoken recognition that the US lacks the will and the capability to project force as boldly as it did for the past half-century or so.

Based on one’s philosophy, this could be a positive or negative development. However, only a fool would fail to notice what is happening with our own nation’s capabilities and goals IMO.

cs89 on July 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

I think it’s a good thing. They need to be able to protect their own people.

gophergirl on July 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Japan has had the right to self defense since the end of the Occupation. The only real difference this makes is that now Japan asserts the right to assist other countries militarily.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Thomas Friedman is pi$$ed!

mankai on July 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

We need to draw a red line on this matter.
acyl72 on July 2, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Yeah, with a big bold dry-erase marker!

Marcola on July 2, 2014 at 11:32 AM

I don’t know, those Japanese are pretty sneaky. I wouldn’t want to see all of our carriers in Pearl Harbor any time soon. They may still be holding a grudge for all of the fire bombings Hap Arnold had ordered. Not to mention Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Deano1952 on July 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defied domestic public opinion on Tuesday when he pushed for and the country’s coalition government approved of a shift in the nation’s defense policy.

A long-overdue shift. The JDF concept was born out of the militarism of Japan in the early 20th century that led to the invasions and attacks leading up to WWII. As a global power, Japan needs to have more than a defense force given China’s blue water naval aspirations.

Happy Nomad on July 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

What kind of Constitution states a country won’t defend itself?! Were the Japanese Progressives after WW2?

Dolce Far Niente on July 2, 2014 at 11:21 AM

The Japan Self-Defense Forces, now one of the strongest military forces in the world, has existed since the 1950s.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Robotech will now become a reality! SDF-1 will rise!

gator70 on July 2, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Love this!!

Darn Zentradi walking around like they own the place…

Gatsu on July 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Hard to take anything that far off seriously, but it’s worth some thought.

peski on July 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM

He says the Islamist threat will diminish. I think that’s very wrong. The major Asian land countries, Russia, China, and India will have to deal with this problem more than the US.

Oil Can on July 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Japan has had the right to self defense since the end of the Occupation. The only real difference this makes is that now Japan asserts the right to assist other countries militarily.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Well that’s a good thing too

gophergirl on July 2, 2014 at 11:44 AM

I don’t know, those Japanese are pretty sneaky. I wouldn’t want to see all of our carriers in Pearl Harbor any time soon. They may still be holding a grudge for all of the fire bombings Hap Arnold had ordered. Not to mention Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Deano1952 on July 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

People and cultures hold onto those memories and grievances a lot longer than our relatively young nation can imagine. (Although, they’re refighting the American Civil War right now over on the “Worst President Ever” thread.) But any possible Japanese sneakiness is checked by Sino hegemonization.

I think Japan should be as fully-armed and capable of projecting its military might as– China. These countries are centuries-old enemies, and U.S. real politick diplomacy a few decades hence might very well require playing one against the other, taking one side and then another in peaceful disputes, keeping both powers in check.

This would limit Japan’s opportunities for sneak attacks on Pearl Harbor, out of fear of a retaliatory Chinese invasion.

Well, that’s one scenario, anyway. I’m still trying to figure out tomorrow’s weather.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Coming soon to Wheel of Fortune:

This and That
Shinzo Abe Lincoln

BKennedy on July 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Great! Maybe now we can stop providing for their defense and bring our troops home.

Occams Stubble on July 2, 2014 at 11:11 AM

But some would argue that we are there not just for their benefit.

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 11:47 AM

But some would argue that we are there not just for their benefit.

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Many Japanese certainly argue that.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Heckuva job, Barry. When those whom you’ve promised you’ll protect realize that you’re a coward, they have to take steps to protect themselves. When that happens, you lose any ability to influence what happens next.

When’s your next tee time, Mr. Pres?

FiveG on July 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Well Dear Liar did promise “fundamental transformation.”

rbj on July 2, 2014 at 11:53 AM

We need to draw a red line on this matter.

acyl72 on July 2, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Not to put too fine a point on it, but that would be a yellow line.

HiJack on July 2, 2014 at 11:54 AM

It’s hard to tell the stance of the HA author. He implies his disapproval, uses words like “gutted”…but never actually says why this is a bad thing.

Anyway, from talking to friends in Japan, it isn’t that the Japanese have gone all kamikaze. It’s that the previous administration tried a more Obama-like approach with China which yielded nothing. Although the Japanese people may still disapprove of a change, it’s now much more apparent to them that it is legitimate policy.

bobs1196 on July 2, 2014 at 11:56 AM

A long-overdue shift. The JDF concept was born out of the militarism of Japan in the early 20th century that led to the invasions and attacks leading up to WWII. As a global power, Japan needs to have more than a defense force given China’s blue water naval aspirations.

Happy Nomad on July 2, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Given that the Japanese probably understand Obumbles having our military shrink as a global power having less influential presence in that sphere. Somebody’s got to fill the void. The PRC is preparing to do so, and that won’t be nearly as beneficial to the Japanese as has the USA has been. Japan must be prepared.

hawkeye54 on July 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM

I wonder how cute they will they try to make their military? I hope they name their new aircraft carriers after Pokemon characters. Beware the Imperial Pikachu.

Daemonocracy on July 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM

I think Japan should be as fully-armed and capable of projecting its military might as– China. These countries are centuries-old enemies

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Not as much as Westerners tend to think.

Prior to the first Sino-Japanese War in the 1890s they’d rarely been in conflict over the nearly 2 millenia they’d been in contact. There was the Battle of Baekgang in which the Chinese Tang Dynasty was allied with the Korean kingdom of Silla against the Baekje restoration forces and their Japanese allies in 663, a couple of attempted invasions of Japan by the Mongol-controlled Yuan Dynasty of China in the 13th century and the Ming Dynasty’s military support of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty against Japanese invasion in the late 16th century, but that’s about all. (Not counting Chinese resistance to Japanese pirates from the 13th to 17th centuries.)

Not really so bad for a couple of countries that have been neighbors for so long.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Mecha-Godzilla!

Ward Cleaver on July 2, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I expect, somewhere in a deep dark bunker, Japan has all the pieces of strategic nuclear missiles staged and ready to be assembled in less than a week. If not, they should be working on that, because the US doesn’t have there back, unfortunately.

Fenris on July 2, 2014 at 11:10 AM

No need for deep, dark bunkers. They already have ICBMs, and they are right out in the open:

Epsilon Launch Vehicle

Of course, they don’t call them “ICBMs”, but you know that China knows what this “launch vehicle” really is.

ZenDraken on July 2, 2014 at 12:22 PM

While we are on the subject of World War II and the worst things to have happened since that pivotal 20th Century event, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defied domestic public opinion on Tuesday when he pushed for and the country’s coalition government approved of a shift in the nation’s defense policy.

Noah…Have you been so engrossed with blog posts on Iraq and your desire to see the U.S. jump wild into that dump that you have failed to notice a totalitarian fascist controlled country (and a military power) called China that now has military disputes with India, Vietnam, Philippines, and Japan…not to mention their desire to rip up the entire concept of international waters, and are now threatening U.S. shipping lanes in the SCS.

You may also failed to have realized that China is acting very much like Germany pre-WWI with one dumb bellicose statement after another, including wiping the U.S. out of Asia and the Western Pacific for good and turning Australia into a “lamb”.

The American military has been wanting this for a long time, and despite what some have said Japan already has a powerful military, especially their Navy. Our alliance with them is mutual, they allow us bases to protect our sea lanes and assets in Asia, and in return we promise to help them if they are attacked. Now Japan and the U.S. can now form a military coalition if China attacks the Philippines, or Taiwan, or North Korea does something stupid.

This will save us a lot of money and be a force maximizer to protect the Western Pacific for America, including Guam and Hawaii. It will give us more flexibility in dealing with Chinese (and perhaps Russian) aggression in Asia.

Once again folks there are bigger fish in this world that Iraq…

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Two words –

“Ulta Man.”

Soowach!

creatocon on July 2, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Why on earth would we think that a reliable ally willing to shoulder more of its own defense would be a bad thing?

jpmn on July 2, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Not really so bad for a couple of countries that have been neighbors for so long.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Good point. Which bodes well for both sides being armed to the teeth, holding each other in check, kowtowing to each other across the Sea of Japan. And both looking to see which side the U.S. will take.

But besides the Sino-Japanese War and the rape of Manchuria, I was also thinking of underlying ethnic attitudes as a source of conflict between these countries. Not that Japanese and Chinese (and Koreans and Vietnamese) are “enemies” in sense that, say, Sunnis and Shias are, nor that the racial or ethnic or cultural divides are enough to spark a war, but isn’t it the case that the Chinese regard Japanese culture as “inferior,” in the sense that they believe that much of Japanese culture to be derivative of Chinese; and that the Japanese still regard themselves as a superior race above other Asians (never mind foreign Western devils) in about the same way they did under Imperial Japan and Meiji period colonialism?

I know you live in the region and I’m genuinely interested in your perspective on the cultural divides.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Why on earth would we think that a reliable ally willing to shoulder more of its own defense would be a bad thing?

jpmn on July 2, 2014 at 12:37 PM

I have not a clue. A few dimwits keep bringing up Pearl Harbor.

We fought the British twice too…including the fact they burned down Washington D.C. (although that might be desirable if it happened now) in the War of 1812. Yet no one is freaking out that we have a military alliance with them. Same with Germany.

Abe, for all his nationalist sympathies, is pro-democracy and is for a pro-American foreign policy in Asia. He is sort of their version of Reagan or Thatcher, trying to re-instill some pride into his people to confront a real danger to their national security.

It is in America’s benefit that Japan is not only taking on more of a burden in collective defense in Asia for democracy, but is doing everything they can to reach out to India, Australia, Philippines, etc. In fact Abe is done more for American foreign policy in Asia than those idiots Obama & Kerry have in Asia.

That is basically where we are at now…depending on Japan to conduct useful American foreign policy and coalition building.

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 12:50 PM

but isn’t it the case that the Chinese regard Japanese culture as “inferior,” in the sense that they believe that much of Japanese culture to be derivative of Chinese; and that the Japanese still regard themselves as a superior race above other Asians (never mind foreign Western devils) in about the same way they did under Imperial Japan and Meiji period colonialism?

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 12:38 PM

It’s certainly true that Chinese and Japanese recognize that Japanese civilization originally arose as a result of exposure to the much more ancient Chinese civilization, but I don’t know many Chinese who feel particularly superior to Japan for that reason.

Most Chinese distrust of and hostility toward Japan is a result of the Second Sino-Japanese War. I don’t often hear them bring up grievances from before that period.

It is true many (mostly older) Japanese feel superior to other Asians. I think this stems from Japan having been a more powerful and prosperous country in modern times due to Japan joining the industrial revolution decades earlier than other East Asian nations. That said, the feeling of superiority is certainly much less today than it was during the Imperialist period.

(While I’m notoriously thought a ChiCom sympathizer by some on HA, I also have a deep fondness for Japan. I lived there for 9 years working as a technical translator and still visit whenever I have the chance. I even had katsudon for dinner today ;) )

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 12:56 PM

But some would argue that we are there not just for their benefit.

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Many Japanese certainly argue that.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

True. I was caught-up in street protest against the Kadena base in Naha City. It was generally older Japanese protesting.

Some saw me (the visiting gaijin sticking out like a sore thumb) and were embarassed by the protesters. A small group expressed that even if the ‘Japanese street’ was against our bases, many of them were quietly happy that we were there.

The problems generally arise from isolated incidents. A rape, an aircraft crash in a populated area or some other general human failing.

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 12:59 PM

kowtowing to each other across the Sea of Japan. And both looking to see which side the U.S. will take.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 12:38 PM

You mean the East China Sea ;)

The Sea of Japan lies farther north, between Japan in the east and the Koreas and Russia in the west.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM

This is good news. It’s time that some checks and balances be put on China and Japan is large enough and has a military tradition to command respect in that neck of the woods. No doubt, China’s attempted island grab played some part in the decision.

In reality, Japan has sidestepped this constitutional issue for decades by deploying a 750,000 Self Defense Force which is an “Army” by any other definition!! People with military knowledge say that this Self Defense “Army” will acquit itself quite well.

MaiDee on July 2, 2014 at 1:05 PM

You can’t blame the Japanese at all for this.

The lack of constancy in U.S. Foreign and Defense politics since the end of the Cold War compels Japan to look out for itself and rebuild the IJN and their Air Force.

Given the venality and incompetence of the American Ruling Class, they can do no other. Japan must look after her own interests.

victor82 on July 2, 2014 at 1:10 PM

True. I was caught-up in street protest against the Kadena base in Naha City.

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I spent a year in Naha as an exchange student at Naha High School. Over 30 years ago now. I never saw any protests, but I used to read about them and see them on the news when I later lived in Tokyo.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 1:10 PM

rebuild the IJN and their Air Force.

Given the venality and incompetence of the American Ruling Class, they can do no other. Japan must look after her own interests.

victor82 on July 2, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Let’s hope they don’t call it the ‘IJN’ ;)

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 1:12 PM

I spent a year in Naha as an exchange student at Naha High School. Over 30 years ago now.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Ahem. That’s where my wife was. Over 30 years ago now.

o_O

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 1:21 PM

…just before she moved to Tokyo.

o_O

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 1:24 PM

What kind of Constitution states a country won’t defend itself?! Were the Japanese Progressives after WW2?

Dolce Far Niente on July 2, 2014 at 11:21 AM

The constitution we wrote for them. I believe their constitution was basically written by Gen. MacArthur’s legal staff.

(And it does allow for self-defense.)

acasilaco on July 2, 2014 at 1:25 PM

You can’t blame the Japanese at all for this.

The lack of constancy in U.S. Foreign and Defense politics since the end of the Cold War compels Japan to look out for itself and rebuild the IJN and their Air Force.

Given the venality and incompetence of the American Ruling Class, they can do no other. Japan must look after her own interests.

victor82 on July 2, 2014 at 1:10 PM

And Israel.

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 1:27 PM

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 12:38 PM

You mean the East China Sea ;)

The Sea of Japan lies farther north, between Japan in the east and the Koreas and Russia in the west.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Ouch. Well, the Japanese know what I meant :)

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 12:56 PM

I asked because a very close Chinese friend of mine (in Shanghai :) has expressed exactly that “cultural superiority” attitude toward Japan. He was being somewhat facetious, but I was struck by the fact that he’d even voice the sentiment. “Jesters do oft prove prophets” sort of thing.

As for the Japanese attitude on race, I see that first hand in a lot of social and business dealings. But only here in Los Angeles, where all of Asia is rubbing shoulders and knocking elbows in the rush for American dollars, so I’ve wondered how that plays in their own countries.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Ahem. That’s where my wife was. Over 30 years ago now.

o_O

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Maybe I know her…

A few years later I was living in Hawaii and started dating an Okinawan girl. She was a couple of years older than me, but she’d also gone to Naha High School. What a coincidence!

Turned out I knew her cousins. They were next-door neighbors with my host family.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 1:32 PM

I asked because a very close Chinese friend of mine (in Shanghai :) has expressed exactly that “cultural superiority” attitude toward Japan. He was being somewhat facetious, but I was struck by the fact that he’d even voice the sentiment. “Jesters do oft prove prophets” sort of thing.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 1:31 PM

If your friend is Shanghainese that’s no mystery.

Shanghainese think they’re superior to every other species of human except possibly some Westerners.

My wife of 23 years is Shanghainese. She considers even the people of Hangzhou and Suzhou to be uncultured barbarians. People from Anhui? Pure savages, if not outright criminals.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Why is ANYONE surprised with this. Ever since WWII, the Japanese have known that they could rely on the United States for defense.

Now, thanks to the “stellar” leadership (from behind) of Barack Hussein Obama; ummmm ummmm ummmm the Japanese, for that matter the rest of the world know that the United States is NOT a reliable ally!

r27cj on July 2, 2014 at 1:57 PM

This article gives no details on how much more Japan will spend on their defense. Is this all talk and just bluster? There seems to be a very vocal segment of their population that just doesn’t want to go this route.

SC.Charlie on July 2, 2014 at 1:58 PM

If your friend is Shanghainese that’s no mystery.

Shanghainese think they’re superior to every other species of human except possibly some Westerners.

My wife of 23 years is Shanghainese. She considers even the people of Hangzhou and Suzhou to be uncultured barbarians. People from Anhui? Pure savages, if not outright criminals.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 1:38 PM

I’m not sure of his original city or province, but his parents fled to Taiwan from the mainland during Mao’s ascent to power. Although he lived there a number of years before emigrating to the U.S., and then lived there again for years after college, I doubt if he considers himself Taiwanese. The islanders certainly don’t. Maybe he’s adopted Shanghai’s attitude along with the city as his home.

Shanghainese sound like the Argentineans of China.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 2:04 PM

As for the Japanese attitude on race…

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 1:31 PM

My *opinion* is that they are extremely racist but not necessarily imbued with hatred – they just simply think they are genetically more pure. Which, literally, may be true.

And not an indictment, but I do know that the Chinese used to refer to the Japanese as ‘island midgets’, translated. Once again, they may just be guilty of being a tad too literal.

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Japan will have a full fledged aircraft carrier in no time. One of their ships can be converted easily. If you have ever seen a pic of it, you would see why. It was inevitable why China started to finish out the incomplete Russian flat top it bought in a fire sale.

South Korea has a ship that is a carrier in everything but name as well.

TRB on July 2, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

paulus1 on July 2, 2014 at 2:10 PM

This article gives no details on how much more Japan will spend on their defense. Is this all talk and just bluster? There seems to be a very vocal segment of their population that just doesn’t want to go this route.

SC.Charlie on July 2, 2014 at 1:58 PM

It’s all talk for now.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:10 PM

In 35 years China will have a GDP twice that of the US and Japan combined. It will be facing some serious demographic issues, but Japan’s will be much worse. The US will be a financial, cultural and political basket case with a much less capable military than today.

The Diaoyu Islands will return to Chinese control without much of a fight.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM

I’m not seeing how this is a bad thing for the US. Imagine if also Germany, and the Netherlands and Sweden decided to start spending significantly on defense and France started investing heavily in new white flags.

It would save the US $billions and $billions in NATO defense expenses and very likely be a short/medium term boost to our economy until they gear up domestic weapons production and development. We’ve already destroyed our credibility

Now certainly the reason that Japan feels the need to do this is an indictment of American policy, action and of late, equivocating. As a US citizen I don’t trust any component of the executive branch. I can’t imagine how horrified foreign nations dependent on us for defense to any degree have been. Look at Ukraine and our push for them to significantly disarm and abandonment of them less than a decade later. A condition in part allowed by the US abandoning East European allies we had promised a missile defense shield. As Poland said, it is not worth it being a US ally anymore (of course it is still generally better than being a US enemy unless you really like drones).

deepdiver on July 2, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Sounds about right. More of a cultural “given” than a motivating impulse. But there for a demagogue, dictator, oligarchy, or social militarization to enflame as needed. We aren’t immune from that, either. President Preezy’s been working overtime on it here.

…I do know that the Chinese used to refer to the Japanese as ‘island midgets’, translated. Once again, they may just be guilty of being a tad too literal.

When I learned that Mandarin for “turkey” is “fire chicken” I realized the language requires some dressing for Western tastes.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Japan can stimulate it’s economy with a little military industrial complex seasoning. Pitch in a few efforts with the US’ s adventures to get some of its troops a little seasoning. Get some F 35Bs for that ship(s) and expedite training on US carriers. Just wait till they unleash the pokemons.

TRB on July 2, 2014 at 2:28 PM

No one can blame them. Japan doesn’t have a friend in the US any more.

Schadenfreude on July 2, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Correction: in the US White House.

slickwillie2001 on July 2, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Japanese leadership is behaving like leaders of a nation-state should.

In addition to a military build-up, I hope they develop a good intelligence network: A good leader Japanese leader doesn’t want to hear about a Chinese assault on Tokyo on the TV.

ha_tspc on July 2, 2014 at 2:32 PM

I expect, somewhere in a deep dark bunker, Japan has all the pieces of strategic nuclear missiles staged and ready to be assembled in less than a week. If not, they should be working on that, because the US doesn’t have there back, unfortunately.

Fenris on July 2, 2014 at 11:10 AM

No need for deep, dark bunkers. They already have ICBMs, and they are right out in the open:

Epsilon Launch Vehicle

Of course, they don’t call them “ICBMs”, but you know that China knows what this “launch vehicle” really is.

ZenDraken on July 2, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Japan doesn’t even need ICBMs, considering the ranges to their likely enemy. I just hope they have a couple of hundred nuclear warheads tucked away somewhere ready to go.

slickwillie2001 on July 2, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Shanghainese sound like the Argentineans of China.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Thought NOT, let me hasten to correct, economically. Amazing city. They’ve earned their self-regard.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 2:33 PM

And not an indictment, but I do know that the Chinese used to refer to the Japanese as ‘island midgets’, translated. Once again, they may just be guilty of being a tad too literal.

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 2:06 PM

A long, long, long time ago. On the other hand, an old Japanese expression describing a tall person was ‘as tall as a Chinese’.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:41 PM

When I learned that Mandarin for “turkey” is “fire chicken” I realized the language requires some dressing for Western tastes.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 2:27 PM

The Japanese for turkey (七面鳥) literally means ‘seven-faced bird’. I’ve no idea why. But Japanese and Chinese do mostly seem to agree that turkey isn’t very palatable (here I disagree with both).

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Japan can stimulate it’s economy with a little military industrial complex seasoning. Pitch in a few efforts with the US’ s adventures to get some of its troops a little seasoning. Get some F 35Bs for that ship(s) and expedite training on US carriers. Just wait till they unleash the pokemons. – TRB on July 2, 2014 at 2:28 PM

They tried to buy some F-22 Raptors from the United States. We turned them down. They are developing their own stealth fighter. But still they have no heavy lift aircraft or navy that could get them to any distant location. I suppose they could buy some C-17s. Right now they have only a frame work of military. And, they have a 69 year history of being taught that don’t need one.

SC.Charlie on July 2, 2014 at 2:46 PM

In 35 years China will have a GDP twice that of the US and Japan combined. It will be facing some serious demographic issues, but Japan’s will be much worse. The US will be a financial, cultural and political basket case with a much less capable military than today.

The Diaoyu Islands will return to Chinese control without much of a fight.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM

(1) GDP growth rates always slow for a developing economy. In fact they already are slowing.
(2) China has a major water supply problem
(3) There will be a Asian NATO arrayed against China
(4) Many of those countries will have nuclear weapons
(5) China has a muslim population problem
(6) China has a dissident problem

The danger is not that China will wait 35 years, but they actually think they are a great power today which means they will do something really stupid leading them into a war with most of their neighbors. The CCP is proving themselves to have one of the dumbest foreign policies in my lifetime…even dumber that Obama’s and Bush’s ill fated policies.

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Thought NOT, let me hasten to correct, economically. Amazing city. They’ve earned their self-regard.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 2:33 PM

As far as I can tell their self-esteem isn’t just based on recent economic growth. They already held those attitudes when I first visited in 1990 and it was a much darker, poorer place then.

I suppose it dates from at least the 1920s, probably earlier.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:50 PM

But Japanese and Chinese do mostly seem to agree that turkey isn’t very palatable (here I disagree with both).

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Good thing for the U.S. that Meleagris gallopavo wasn’t adopted by Congress as the National Bird instead of the Bald Eagle as Ben Franklin preferred, or we’d really be on Asia’s loser list about now.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 2:56 PM

… But Japanese and Chinese do mostly seem to agree that turkey isn’t very palatable (here I disagree with both).

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Well of course!

Cause they forgot to wrap it in baaaaaacon (and stuff it with more baaaaaacon. As a matter of fact, my turkeys egress from the oven with a little piggie head peeking out the turkey’s big hole with an apple in its mouth, stuffed with, you guessed it, baaaaaacon.)

Tsar of Earth on July 2, 2014 at 2:56 PM

(1) GDP growth rates always slow for a developing economy. In fact they already are slowing.

Not nearly fast enough to undermine my assertion.

(2) China has a major water supply problem

Yet I haven’t got a water bill in months ;)

(3) There will be a Asian NATO arrayed against China

China will still be more powerful, if that happens.

(4) Many of those countries will have nuclear weapons

China’s had nukes since the ’60s.

(5) China has a muslim population problem

A small fraction of the population who mostly just make excellent beef noodles. Understand the Muslim population of China is not monolithic. Most of the Hui, for example, tend to identify strongly with China.

(6) China has a dissident problem

And few in China pay it any attention.

The CCP is proving themselves to have one of the dumbest foreign policies in my lifetime…even dumber that Obama’s and Bush’s ill fated policies.

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 2:50 PM

At least smarter than Abe’s. China is in no huge rush to take significant action. For now they’re just making sure their claims are noted for the record. They understand time is mostly on their side.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:07 PM

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM

William Eaton on July 2, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Agree that China’s dominance of the eastern hemisphere is not a given. Yet.

This is the only area of “immigration reform” that I’d favor right now. If we’d let in all the Chinese who attend colleges and universities here, who are offered jobs here, and who want to stay, we could brain-drain that country in a generation. Probably start a run on their banks, too, as their parents transfer their wealth from there to here. Not even sure we’d have to apologize for the Pacific Railroad.

de rigueur on July 2, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Why is ANYONE surprised with this. Ever since WWII, the Japanese have known that they could rely on the United States for defense.

Now, thanks to the “stellar” leadership (from behind) of Barack Hussein Obama; ummmm ummmm ummmm the Japanese, for that matter the rest of the world know that the United States is NOT a reliable ally!

r27cj on July 2, 2014 at 1:57 PM

The LDP has been for a stronger, more assertive Japanese military for decades. Not every development in the world is due to Obama’s failures.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 3:19 PM

This article gives no details on how much more Japan will spend on their defense. Is this all talk and just bluster? There seems to be a very vocal segment of their population that just doesn’t want to go this route.

SC.Charlie on July 2, 2014 at 1:58 PM

It’s all talk for now.

DarkCurrent on July 2, 2014 at 2:10 PM

They already have offensive capabilities.

The projections are (can’t remember where I read this) that they could have nuclear weapons in seven months.

Their anti-missile defense system is equal to ours, and they’ve been building “helicopter destroyers” that are actually aircraft carriers. They also have main battle tanks, special operations forces, amphibious assault ships, attack helicopters, and smart artillery.

They created the capabilities first, and now they’ve announced a fait accompli.

The only way you defend allies is by projecting power with offensive capabilities.

It’s a done deal.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 2, 2014 at 3:19 PM

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