Since the end of the Cold War in 1991 there has been growing pressure from many Japanese and Japanese allies for revisions of the Japanese constitution to allow weapons exports and more cooperation on military matters with allies that Japan depends on for much of its military defense. This is because of post-World War II reforms (and reaction to the military government that got the Japanese Empire into World War II, with disastrous results) that severely restricted Japanese defense policies. The post war constitution forbade Japan from possessing offensive military forces. Thus the Japanese armed forces are called the “Self Defense Forces.” It was decades before Japan could even bring itself to build major weapons for its self-defense forces. By the late 1980s Japanese companies found that they were quite good at building quality high tech weapons. At that point, an international marketing survey indicated that, if Japan were allowed to export weapons, they would eventually capture up to 45 percent of the world tank and self-propelled artillery market, 40 percent of military electronic sales, and 60 percent of warship construction. That seemed optimistic, but there was no doubt that the Japanese could produce world class weapons. Throughout the 1990s, Japanese manufacturers produced nearly $7 billion worth of weapons a military equipment a year, just for the self-defense force. Continue reading
The Japanese government will take steps to exercise its right to so-called collective self-defense, allowing it to attack a third country when an ally is in some way under threat.
The move is at odds with Japan’ pacifist postwar constitution and has alarmed neighbors who recall the country’s wartime aggression.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is widely expected to amend the constitution so Japanese troops can once again operate overseas. Article 9 of the constitution says Japan forever renounces the use of force as a means of settling international disputes, unless the country comes under attack. Continue reading
Japanese troops will converge on California’s southern coast in the next two weeks as part of an unprecedented military exercise with U.S. troops aimed at improving that country’s amphibious attack abilities. Continue reading