Two governments of Japan and the United States jointly released October 8 the Interim Report on the revision of Guidelines for Defense Cooperation. It emphasizes on ‘seamless’ military responses based on the cabinet’s decisions of military engagement abroad as well as of execution of the right of collective self-defense. The report will be finalized in early January next year.
BILATERAL AGREEMENT ON JAPAN’S EXECUTION OF RIGHT OF COLLECTIVE SELF-DEFENSE
The on-going revision of the Guidelines is a third-round one. The 1978 original guidelines were based on ‘defense of Japan’.
Contingency Surrounding Japan Focused
In the decade of 1990 the US government demanded Japan to commit in military cooperation in terms over 1,000 items on the basis of US first-strike strategy with an assumption that Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) engaged in nuclear programs. But the Japanese government rejected the requests due to Article Nine of Constitution. The two governments had shared ‘bitter’ experiences then and they worked to arrange readiness in cooperation and agreed in 1997 to revise the guidelines to cope with contingency in the Korean Peninsula.
The focal point at that time was ‘contingency surrounding Japan’, and relevant domestic laws were arranged two years later in 1999. That was proven to be a bad practice because a government level agreement without legal basis preceded legislation.
DPRK continued to develop its nuclear and missile programs, while the government of Japan has not applied the Act on Contingency Surrounding Japan to cope with the situation. Consequently, it was diplomacy that broke through the impasse. If a military means had been used, not only any settlement could not have been made but also the crisis would have turned to an catastrophe.
Intentions of Two Governments
The current revision will be totally different from the previous ones. It is to arrange readiness for a war.
The concept of ‘contingency surrounding Japan’ is now abandoned and the Interim Report stresses on ‘global bilateral alliance’; it proposes ‘seamless, robust, flexible and effective bilateral responses’ based on the US realignment policy and the Japan’s decision to achieve the right of collective self-defense. It also underlines regional security alignments of US-Japan-South Korea and US-Japan-Australia formations.
We can see under these circumstances that the US side demands Japan to play a military role within the US strategy and that it welcomes in this context the decision of Japanese government to accomplish the right. Meanwhile, we witness the government of Japan takes advantage of the development in order to make the nation a more powerful martial state.
Probably for this reason the date of release has delayed. Originally it was set in mid-September, then, extended to late September, and finally the interim report was announced in October. The US had to send envoys to Seoul to persuade the South Korean authority which deeply distrusts Japan. The government of Japan repeatedly told they would finalize the report by the end of the year, but in fact it has used the situation as an excuse for a prompt cabinet’s decision. Ultimately, the schedule was postponed early January next year.
Let’s Continue Fighting
Reportedly, the US side wants to look into content of new bills to be submitted to the coming regular session of the Diet. The US may worry about the historical revisionist who disregards the Constitution, but it is more correct to see that it has a policy that the US will favor Japan if the latter should obey the former.
The Interim Report specifies that implementation of the right of collective self-defense will be defined ‘in detail’ in the final talks, while the Abe government is to use this report to the maximum extent like ‘an established accord’ in the domestic context.
Social pressures are the maximum force to impede a plot to make ‘a nation ready for a war’. Let’s enhance our actions from now across the country to prepare ourselves for the coming stage.
October 21, 2014