== 1. Introduction ==
70 years after the end of WW2…
In Japan, there is an upsurge of the discussion about “national defence”. The agenda is “whether or not we should grant actions based upon collective self-defence” to the Self-Defence Forces. Not only grown-ups, but also college students and high school students are giving their “pros and cons”.
Such a good chance to discuss “peace” will hardly come again.
In fact, I feel kind of “upset” about their opinions. So, I think it’s a good chance to let myself give my own opinion too, as a 42 year old man. And I will look back on this myself in a year. (How will I feel? I wonder if I would still feel “embarrassed”…)
Common points of view on the “right of collective self-defence”
-X1. Resolutely opposed: Should not admit resolutely
-X2. Constitutionally opposed: Should not admit because it is unconstitutional
-X3. Constitutional amendment aggressive: Should admit with constitutional amendment
-Y1. Interpretation alteration: Should admit under the current Constitution (<- Government policy)
=== 1-1. Disagreement and Legislation ===
“Discussions” in Japan are unexpectedly simple.
-X. Japan should remain as “a country that can only exercise the right of individual self-defence”
-Y. Japan should become “a country that can exercise the right of collective self-defence”
Obviously, it had been included in the issue of national elections for several times in the past, and it was also written in the manifesto of the major parties. And the party advocating for “Y1. alteration of the Constitution Interpretation” (Liberal Democratic Party) is currently ruling.
However, we must be cautious with the following:
– Many political parties have justified the military alliance, Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, on which Japanese defence relies.
– However, further discussions about “National defence” did not raise.
Public attention was mostly on the “economic policy”.
2012-12-16: Election promise on the 46th election of House of Representatives
– In order to protect the regional stability and peace of Japan, we will admit the exercise of collective self-defence rights, and will establish the “Basic Law of National Security”
2013-07-28: Election promise on the 32nd regular election of the Senate
– While reviewing the “Guidelines for Japan-US Defence Cooperation”, we will promote defence cooperation with ally-friendly countries
– We will promote the legislation enactment to protect the peace and regional stability of Japan, such as “general law of international peace cooperation” and the “Basic Law of national security”
2014-07-01: Cabinet decision for exercising the right of collective self-defence
– Authorized “UN forces” prospect is not set
– It is no longer possible for any country to protect their peace by themselves
– Under “the Active pacifism”, contribute actively than ever before to the peace and stability of the international community
2014-12-14: Election promise on the 47th election of House of Representatives
– On the basis of the cabinet decision, quickly establishing a security legislation that allows for continuous peace
=== 1-2. Opposition movement ===
Of course, originally, Election promises is an “obligation” for political parties.
From a democratic point of view, the situation where “the policies that gained the support during the election campaign are not fulfilled” goes against justice. In other words, we should not forget that “becoming a country that can exercise collective self-defence” is our own choice.
Regarding current situation, it is true that some people have changed their minds by seeing
– the “actual Bill” or by watching
– “the discussions in the Diet”
The “surge of opposition demonstrations” and the “decline of the Cabinet support rate” became even more pronounced at the time of voting in the Lower Chamber (House of the Representatives). (This point can be a “bookmark” for myself in the future…)
In other words, I can also understand the feeling of the people when they want to say “resolutely prevent” the vote in the Higher Chamber (Senate).
(To ensure democracy completely, there is no choice but to carry out elections again.)
Improvement Act for Peace and Safety legislation (189-72)
– Act of amending the Self-Defence Forces Law, etc. In order to contribute to ensuring peace and security of our country and the international community
International Peace Support Act (189-73)
– Act on cooperation and support activities against foreign troops by the Government in case of international peace handling.
* Parliamentary parties in favor during deliberations in the House of Representatives: Liberal Democratic Party (290), New Komeito (35), Party for Future Generations (2), (seats in House of Representatives: 475)
* Parliamentary parties that will likely vote in favor in the Senate: Liberal Democratic Party (114), New Komeito (20), Party for Future Generations (6) (seats in the Senate: 242)
=== 1-3. Disappointing Discussion ===
However, what is disturbing in either case are the “tactics to inhibit the debate” such as:
– “labeling” it as a “War Bill”, or
– bringing up “unrelated matters” such as the “revival of the military service”.
Or, what I’ve most recently heard:
– “they do not care about the lives of citizens.”
Of course, “criticism of those in power” must be allowed to the fullest.
However, “provocative statements” (expressions that incite hatred) that invalidates the opponent is a waste. I want to demand “dignifying words and deeds” even from “students”.
(I also want to ask the mass-media “to write pros and cons based on objective facts”)
== 2. Certainly, it is unfamiliar? ==
First of all, to debate on “National defence” is difficult for Japanese people.
=== 2-1. War Allergy ===
Peace education in Japan, says that “war = disastrous thing”.
In particular, it generally emphasizes the “tragedy for civilians”.
For Japanese in their 40’s, for example, they watched the “atomic bomb animation” in elementary school assemblies, and visited the “Museum of Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima or Nagasaki” for school trips in junior high school. Some of theme were shocked by the crude videos and items. This is why they consider “war as something that must not be”, sometimes even “that could not be”.
As a result, Japanese tend to see the “possibility of war” as inconceivable.
There is a similar situation about the debate on “the possibility of a nuclear accident” in Japan. For example, topics on the agenda regarding “methods to avoid war from the perspective of policy makers” will be positioned as “undebatable” or “debating it itself is taboo”.
=== 2-2. Ambiguous Constitution ===
The Japanese “venerate” the Constitution. That is, they believe that complying with the Constitution is “right” and “justice”. It is also similar to the “beliefs of God or Buddha.” As a result, the Constitution is regarded as ” something that cannot be changed”, or “something that must not be changed” (sometimes even as a “done deal”). In fact, over more than 120 years since its enforcement in 1890, it has never been changed voluntarily. And it will never be changed voluntarily, in the future either.
However, the “Self-Defense Forces” exists in reality, despite it is written in the “Godly teachings” that
– “Military Force will never be deployed” (Article 9).
But, the Japanese don’t care about such “ambiguities”.
That is, they feel that “in the Constitution, Public stances and efforts Goals (Program Rules) are plenty”.
To give an example, the new constitution was voted amid some oppositions that said it “jeopardized the ethnic independence if the right of self-defence was given up” (the Japanese Communist Party). Yet, 12 years after the enforcement of the Constitution (1959), the Supreme Court stated “The Constitution never intended to determine defencelessness or submissiveness. Of course, measures for self-defence may be taken as an exercise of the National-specific authority.” (Sunagawa incident)
Especially, the fact that the Constitution and the Self-Defence Forces were made by the United States initiative during the times where national sovereignty was limited, is hard to understand by normal people. (Nothing to do, but venerate)
Anyway, in terms of national defence debate, I have to say that “the basis for the debate” itself is very ambiguous.
=== 2-3. Inevitability of Defence ===
As Japan is an island, we only have a few serious threats of “invasion” by other countries.
With the exception of World War II, we have not been “invaded” for the past several hundred years. Particularly, after the prescription of “the US military obligations in Japans defence” in the new treaty (Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty, 1960), there has never even be a sign of invasion.
In other words, there was no need to discuss about “national defence” at all, during these last 70 years.
However, the first “invasion crisis” (US East India Squadron) around 1850 should not be forgotten.
At that time, it was natural that the “discussion of self-defence” transition into a constitutional monarchy. On the other hand, we can say it was unfortunate that it ended up becoming “imperialism”.
== 3. Setting the Scope ==
Now, first of all, what should we aim for, the “Peace in Japan” or the “Peace in the world”?
=== 3-1. Scope for Challenges to be Solved ===
Countries around the world are recognizing problems on “self-defence”.
– (P) Invasion have not been eradicated from the world yet. The risk of being invaded is also growing for Japan.
It is natural that the government consider self-defence issues. But I don’t at what “extent”. Which should it be?
– (S) Aim for peace in Japan only
– (S) Aim for peace in the world
=== 3-2. Thinking about Peace in Japan ===
“Build peace based on the protection of big countries” is correct as a strategy of small countries.
For example, the “Japan Defence obligation” by the US military is exactly an “Aegis Shield”, the strongest in the world.
However, “collective self-defence” in this case only means “aid from the major powers”. In fact, by paying “about 600 billion yen for sympathy budget” (Cost Sharing for the US Forces Stationed in Japan) out of “about 5 trillion yen of defence budget, Japan can make use of the US military force, which has a budget “10 times bigger” and is “100 times stronger(?)”, at any time. (There is no defence obligation of the US) (Wasn’t this the pioneer case of the Paradigm shift regarding “ownership and use”?)
However, even if the United States thought that “the Japanese military will no longer cause trouble” or “Whether it makes sense to defend Japan with the lives of US soldiers” it wouldn’t be surprising if they “We want to cancel the deal”. (In fact, there is the case of New Zealand for which defence obligation was suspended.)
The question is then, whether or not we can keep the “Aegis shield”, even after 30, 50 years. Although it’s not an example of the “nuclear accident”, also in this case, we shouldn’t keep considering that the “discard of Treaty would never happen”.
=== 3-3. Thinking about World peace ===
Is only the Peace in Japan the “purpose”?
It may surely meet “national interest” (Though it is unclear if it will still serve “national interest” in terms of the long-term outlook.). In fact, politicians are bound by the term “national interest”. As for the “dictionary of the national interest”, something “that is against the national interest” will be judged as evil.
However, this is not a “purpose” that world citizens can sympathize with.
Rather, should today’s Japan be actually focused on “world peace”?
I think now is the time that we need have constructive discussions about “S1. Range to solve in the near future” and “S2. Range to solve in the distant future”, while the generation of the war survivors are still alive.
== 4. Lessons from World History ==
To think about the future, there is no way other than looking back on the past.
Moreover, today, in an era of advanced science and technology, “a third world war” would cause the annihilation of the human race. World citizens must prevent a “large-scale armed conflict” wisely.
=== 4-1. Principle of Denial of Imperialism ===
The sickness of “imperialism” and “colonialism” which were rampant throughout the world were the cause of world war.
Certainly, colonization that spread through Asia and Africa may have been “simply the result of the law of the jungle”. Alternatively, it might have been “something inevitable that can not be understood until after it is experienced”.
Japan, as an Island nation, was too, charmed by “imperialism”.
As a result, because of the mentality of “national interest priority”, the life of many people in the world were taken.
Given this result, there is no justice in any country. Among them, the “semi-colonization of China” which started around 1900 is a historical fact that symbolizes this. The United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, France, United States, and Japan competed for their “national interest”, taking advantage of the declining Qing Dynasty. Their responsibility for the “chaos of China” that continues until today is huge.
World citizens must suggest and build an international system to discourage the ambitions to “invade other countries”.
=== 4-2. Principle of Assistance for Small Countries ===
“Regional autonomy / Ethnic autonomy” is the basis for world order.
The “Kuwait invasion” by Iraq (1990) is still fresh in our minds. The world watched the “war that was televised”. The US and the UN aided Kuwait. As a result, they were able to escape the annexation of their country. (Japan also contributed to the war with more than 1 trillion yen.)
However, the international community could not stop the “Ukraine Invasion” by Russia (2014).
In a discussion of this kind, there is also the idea to “emulate the Swiss”. Japan also once was said to “serve as the Switzerland of the Far East”.
However, Switzerland, which is known as “permanent neutral country”, is rather a symbol of “the difficulty of a small country’s defence”. Although, indeed it is a rare peaceful nation that has protected about 8 million people since the Hague Convention of 1907, it is not intended to be imitated anywhere else. Namely, fortress building, mandatory nuclear shelters, a defence plan that contemplates a “scorched earth policy” (suicidal mission), and also, even now, universal conscription as a “national policy”. There is no country that is likely to practice such things. (became a UN member at last in 2002.)
(There is also another painful case in history when India, following non-alignment, after being defeated by China and Pakistan, recurred to “nuclear armament”.)
== 5. What should the national defence be like? ==
There is no easy answer for this issue, even if discussed at length.
However, going back to the “purpose”, it is clear that developed countries themselves must propose or build a “new world order”. Among them, Japan and Germany, which were defeated and are considered enemies according to the United Nations Charter, play a big role.
Looking at the past, “the League of Nations” (for which the United States itself was not a part of) was not supposed to be able to build world order. However, for the post world war “United Nations”, we cannot say it wasn’t a possibility. Paradoxically, it was the only organization that that could. Even if it is a steep road, shouldn’t the world citizens bet on this organization?
=== 5-1. Growing World Population ===
“World population growth” after 1900 is disturbingly high. And will continue to increase dramatically in the future.
Given the principle of the fight for survival, a “battle for resources” might be inevitable.
We must consider
– Advancement resource supply
– Suppression of resource consumption
on a global basis.
1900: 1.6 billion people → 1950: 2.5 billion → 2000: 6 billion people →
(2015: 7.3 billion people) → 2050: 9.7 billion people → 2100: 11.2 billion people
※ World population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050 (2015-07-29)
=== 5-2. The World of Post-United States ===
– North Atlantic Treaty (the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, etc. 12 countries)
– Commonwealth of Independent States Collective Security Treaty (Russia, Armenia, etc. 6 countries)
– Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (the United States, Argentina, Brazil, etc. 18 countries)
– Pacific Ocean Security Treaty (the United States, Australia, New Zealand)
– US-Japan Security Treaty (USA, Japan)
– US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty (USA, Philippines)
– US-South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty (the United States, South Korea)
– Taiwan Relations Act (the United States, Taiwan)
In reality, in terms of national defence, it only makes sense being in alliance with “the United States, the world’s power”.
However, considering the “American stagnation” or “the world of post-United States”, it is necessary to create a new international system, making full use of bilateral treaties and multilateral treaties including the United Nations Charter.
The condition in which the world relies only on the United States, I must say, is unstable.
=== 5-3. Needs for UN Force ===
As a world citizen, I want them to show us what the “defence of a small country “, of a country like Japan, should be like.
Even if the countries of the world had a defence budget of “1% of their GDPs”, a small country could not have enough defence capability, of course. When you talk about international peace, even with a defence budget of “GDP ratio of 0.5%”, even if it is “0%”, the national security of each country must be secured, even for the cases where national defence has been “outsourced”.
Thinking about the goals that world should aim for in 30-50 years, we can’t do anything but abiding by the world’s largest treaty, the “UN Charter”. I want Japan to set a policy as a positive step forward to be the first country to sign a “troop-contribution agreement” with the United Nations.
Suppose that if Japan, which is still considered an “enemy” of the Allies commits to such an agreement, the world would recognize that the Japanese people have considered the importance of world peace.
== 6. Conclusion (No, it can never be reached) ==
So far, I have checked the various facts, and I tried bringing up several issues to the discussion.
Although I became aware that “Japan should be a country that contributes to the world”, the way to do it is very difficult. For example, even if all the world citizens got the right to vote now, it would impossible to elect a “President of World Federation” reasonably.
Still, someday a “World Congress” will be put together.
The day of discussing a way to elect a world Federation president will come. In the parliament, debates free of national interests of “Japan” nor “America Country” will be held. In the same way that the past debates of Japanese ancient feudal countries such as “Choshu” and “Aizu”, are not discussed in the Japanese parliament anymore.
Now, thinking about “future”, I am no longer interested in the discussions at a level of “partial acceptance of the right of collective self-defence”. I don’t care whether “the Right of collective self-defence” is constitutional or not from a single country’s perspective.
Rather, I think that a constructive discussion on “collective security” is necessary.
For that, we should contribute to the United Nation a “Compassion budget” of 600 billion yen, instead of 30 billion. And it is the time we should start the discussion, while war survivors are still around.
=== 6-1. Correction of Information Disparity ===
There are many people who regard “Constitutionalism” as an absolute. However, “Constitutionalism” means nothing unless “democracy” is established, after all. And “democracy” does not make sense without an “environment in which the citizens have the right idea”.
Probably, the first important thing is that all mankind has an “environment where they can obtain a variety of information freely”.
=== 6-2. Correction of Nationalism ===
From Space, there is no border seen on Earth. (By John Lennon, Astronauts)
That is, I am no longer a mere “Japanese”. I must become able to discuss the way the world should be, as a “world citizen”.
=== 6-3. Cry out for Disarmament ===
We must find the “way to curb military spending”.
We should not give up, even if it is “Too difficult” for today’s humanity. I wish the “200 trillion yen” of the world’s military expenditure would be reduced to 10%, even 50% …
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