Thursday, May 26, 2016
Some Japanese want to get their war on
It seems no matter where you go and what the circumstances may be, there will always be a few SOBs who want to kill someone.Even in a country like Japan that was so thoroughly trashed in their WWII loss they have never since engaged in a conflict, there are some who still want to show that old Samurai mojo.
From a militarist empire whose armies tore across Asia in the first half of the 20th century, Japan, seared by the most horrific consequence of war, embraced democracy and nonbelligerence seemingly overnight. It has not sent a soldier into combat since 1945, a record of pacifism that exceeds even that of its onetime ally, Germany...Sure, Japan has a Self Defense Force but it has never operated outside of Japan except in purely peaceful missions like disaster recovery. And they never were much good against Godzilla. On the other hand, despite all the obvious advantages, like not pissing away a fortune on excessive military hardware which only gets the generals and admirals hyperventilating to use it. some in Japan feel the need to return to the good old days when they could attack anyone they chose to. Because each passing year makes it easier to forget what happened the last time they were free to do that.
“The Japanese Constitution is a Hiroshima Constitution, more than a Tokyo Constitution,” referring to the transformative basic law handed down by the United States after Japan’s defeat. The charter renounces war, declares that “land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained,” and rejects “the right of belligerency of the state.”
But the Constitution, and the array of pacifist-tinged laws and policies that flow from it, has come under attack as external dangers loom. The pacifist movement that has long been centered in Hiroshima is struggling to remain relevant to younger people, many born several generations after the war’s end.
“Obama is visiting Hiroshima at a time when the contrast between the city and what’s happening at the national level is getting stronger,” said Tadatoshi Akiba, a former mayor of the city.
Seven decades after World War II, Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party says the constraints placed on Japan in the conflict’s aftermath are outdated and enfeebling, and it has proposed an array of constitutional amendments, including a rollback of the charter’s pacifist clauses.
Mr. Abe argues that change is vital because a more potent and assertive China and a nuclear-armed North Korea have emerged on Japan’s doorstep. And he has offered a brasher alternative to the inward-looking exceptionalism that grew out of Hiroshima, campaigning to transform Japan into a “normal” country, with a freer military and a bigger role in global affairs.
For some, that vision runs counter to the “never again” message inscribed on Hiroshima’s war memorial, and symbolized by the skeletal atomic bomb dome preserved at ground zero nearby.
“Abe’s approach is a kind of ‘military pacifism’ that takes war as a given,” said Motofumi Asai, a former Foreign Ministry official who directed the Hiroshima Peace Institute from 2005 to 2011 and is now a professor at Osaka University of Economics and Law. “If Japanese people embrace this, they are denying their postwar constitutional pacifism.”
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