The Abe government approved in its cabinet meeting Defense White Paper of 2014 version which incorporates a series of ‘accomplished’ elements, which encompass the Act to Protect Specified Secrets approved July 1 by the Cabinet, establishment of National Security Council and drastic deregulation of prohibitions on arms export. All these decisions, however, violate the Constitution. The paper takes on a very different look compared with the past versions.
DECLARATION OF BIG CHANGE IN MILITARY POLICIES
It is the 60th anniversary this year of foundation of the Self Defense Forces (SDF) and the 40th publication of defense white papers. Former Director General of the Defense Agency, Nakasone Yasuhiro, told that ‘it had been almost taboo to publish Defense White Paper among staff in the agency’, referring to the latest version. It was because the Agency had been ruled by a policy that military affairs should be kept completely in secret.
The 40th version of the paper proves to be open propaganda to justify a policy package based on the US-Japan military unity as well as reinforcement of the SDF, fabricating ‘threats’ coming from some neighbors.
Threats alter in the same pattern today as before. The paper provides many pages to analyze military affairs of the neighboring nations, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China and Russia. It says that the security environment surrounding Japan (since 2010) has become increasingly severe, being encompassed by various challenges and destabilization factors, which are becoming more tangible and acute, adding that the situation is more serious in the Asia-Pacific region.
However, the paper keeps silent to a fact that Japan is attributable at least a half of these missions and uncertainties. It blames others to take responsibility for the causes.
Australia, though it has enhanced security cooperation with Japan, says in a different way; ‘China should not be regarded as an enemy. Their reinforcement and modernization of military capabilities are right, natural consequences of the nation’s efforts made in the economic development’. Japan and Australia show a cynical gap in the positions to China.
New Interpretation of Constitution
The white paper carries all text of cabinet decisions made on July 1. The most striking point is the right of collective self-defense; until today all the versions have defined that ‘such a right is not allowed in light of the Constitution’, but the latest one says ‘admitted by the Constitution’.
The 2014 version stipulates the Act to Protect Specified Secrets and establishment of the National Security Council, referring to practical lift of arms export restrictions. It is because the Abe government has made these decisions in denial of the Constitution. The paper declares the challenges as the core of security policies of Japan. ‘Exclusively defense posture’ remains as an expression, but in fact the concept will be faded away.
‘Ready for War’
The white paper does not concretely explain about SDF deployment overseas because related bills are scheduled to be put on the Diet agenda next year for enactment. Meanwhile, however, SDF troops are being realigned and weapons are being deployed steadily to cope with new laws.
In the defense strategy for remote islands in the southwest region, the paper stipulates rapid readiness regiments, amphibious troops, amphibious assault ships, osprey aircraft, new destroyers with capability to sweep mines, amphibious vehicles, maneuver combat vehicles and mine-protected transport vehicles to cope with improvised explosive devices (IED). It also mentions procurement of drones.
The hardware constitutes capability for combat-readiness overseas. The government is to ‘get Japan ready for war’ inch by inch. The scheduled Diet sessions later this year and next year will work on relevant laws.
It is critical moment for us in the coming months to engage in the struggles to oppose the government.
August 19, 2014