Japan is itching to arm itself. Politicians in the pacifist country are demanding that their military be equipped with striking capabilities. Currently Japan depends almost entirely on the U.S. for protection, a situation that’s no longer tenable. North Korea’s increasing belligerence threatens the stability of East Asia.
Japan’s current constitution allows the country to defend itself from attack but prohibits the military from taking aggressive action. The pacifist stance was adopted in the aftermath of World War II.
“Japan can’t just wait until it’s destroyed,” said Hiroshi Imazu, head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s security committee, when interviewed. “It’s legally possible for Japan to strike an enemy base that’s launching a missile at us, but we don’t have the equipment or the capability.”
International affairs are so complicated that it’s become dangerous for a country to neglect its security. Japan is too vulnerable. Kim Jong-un is a wildly unpredictable leader. North Korea seems to be growing stronger in military prowess and missile capabilities while weakening in restraint.
The highest echelons in the Japanese government support ditching the country’s pacifist resolutions and adopting a more nuanced wartime strategy.
“I’d like to encourage the party to have this discussion and am keeping an eye on how it’s going,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.
President Trump is one of the first world leaders to highlight the growing discrepancy in military responsibility. America is the defender of too many countries. Dozens of Western entities let their defense budgets dwindle in expectation of being fully protected by the U.S.
Meanwhile North Korea remains locked in the grip of a crazed despot. Kim Jong-un is so unpredictable that’s impossible to say whether or not war will actually break out. It’s obvious however that Japan would have have far more control over its own future if it were able to equalize threats on its own.
“Our country is protected by other countries, but we can’t do anything to protect them. This is not acceptable in the international community anymore,” Imazu told the Washington Post. “We cooperate with the U.S. and other nations to protect our country and also to contribute to peace in East Asia. In this environment, it’s only proper that we should discuss how we could protect our country.”
Japan’s decision to free its hobbled military would mark a significant but necessary change in world politics. Kim Jong-un is a madman. North Korea has been lobbing missiles into the Sea of Japan for months now. The Japanese are understandably growing wary. Enemy states are rapidly acquiring more power while Japan’s military remains stagnant.
Analysts believe Tokyo will approve an amendment to the country’s constitution. Government officials have reportedly earmarked $1 billion to improve their surface-to-air defenses. Just last year Abe’s administration oversaw the acquirement of F-35 fighter jets.
“Abe is politically astute and realistic in understanding what he can do,” said Narushige Michishita, a North Korea expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. “F-35s might not be enough, but they’re a good place to start.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also considering taking military action in East Asia. The damage that Pyongyang can do to America might be limited, but South Korea and Japan are in serious jeopardy. As the U.S. was instrumental in crafting Japan’s current constitution, Washington will likely be heavily involved in implementing any changes.
“Japan doesn’t have the capacity to launch an attack on North Korea by ourselves,” former defense minister Gen. Naktani told the Post. “In order for Japan to do that, it would take a lot of discussion with the U.S.”
The Japanese government might have more foresight than its people. Citizens have been resistant to almost every change proposed by the prime minister. Most still want the country to cling to its pacifist status, regardless of the world’s changing dynamics. Japan’s current missile defense system can reportedly only handle three projectiles at once.
“China is the only one that can control Kim Jong-un, this crazy fat kid that’s running North Korea. They could stop North Korea’s economy in a week,” John McCain told MSNBC. “They haven’t, because the Chinese have to understand there’s a penalty… imposed by us if they don’t reign in an individual that can literally start a world war, and more importantly, perhaps in the short term, strike the United States of America.”
Our allies are directly threatened by North Korea’s madness. If Kim Jong-un fulfills his promise to destroy his neighbors, the U.S. will have to be involved. Because of that, if Japan now bolsters its military power, the effects will be beneficial to America and its allies. An empowered Japan is a boon to the world, not a threat.