Japan’s Diet removed restrictions on overseas deployment of Self Defense Forces for military use

Sep 19, 2015 11:04 IST

The Diet, Japan’s parliament, on 18 September 2015 passed two security bills that allow overseas deployment of the Self Defense Forces (SDF) for military purposes.

The remilitarization bills can be termed as historic as they allow Japan to be militarily pro active after 70 years.

Article 9 of the Japanese constitution imparted the principle of pacifism to the governance framework.

The 1945 constitution was sponsored by the USA and was aimed at curtailing war mongering tendencies of Japan that was defeated in the World War II.

Features of security bills

• One of them amends 10 existing security-related laws to lift various SDF restrictions, including Article 9’s long-standing ban on collective self-defense. However, it amends only the interpretation of the article but not the original text.
• The other creates a new permanent law that allows Japan to deploy the SDF overseas to provide logistic support for United Nations-authorized military operations involving a foreign or multinational force.
• However, the deployment of forces is subject to three conditions, namely
       Japan or close ally is attacked/Japan’s survival is threatened
       There are no other appropriate means to repel the attack
       The use of force is restricted to the minimum required

Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution

Renunciation of War: Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Comment

The change in the stance of Japan should be seen in the light of China’s increasing military strength and assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the current interpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution, Japan’s armed forces are not permitted to fight on behalf of friends or allies unless the Japanese themselves come under direct attack. Thus it created constraints on Japan from involving in collective self-defence.

Japan at present has only Self Defense Forces (SDF) that is akin to paramilitary forces in India and they can be deployed overseas but only for humanitarian purposes.

The remilitarization bills give sufficient ammunintion to the Shinzo Abe government to form collective self-defence alliances with South Korea and the USA against North Korea and China.

In the two decades through last year, Japan remained the ninth-biggest military spender, just behind Britain, with outlays rising 13 percent in constant 2011 dollar terms, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

By contrast, China's defence spending exploded more than five-fold, vaulting the country to second place from seventh.

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