Road to ruin [By Jiao Haiyang/China.org.cn]
As expected, Japan's new security bill was passed at the upper house of the parliament in Tokyo on Sept. 19. It is an inevitable result of a majority decision of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner, despite of strong opposition from the opposition parties and the Japanese people. At this moment, Japan's democratic constitutional system has lost its significance under the political opportunism strategy.
The new security bill is seemingly the victory of the Shinzo Abe administration. And it is undoubtedly the result of encouragement from the U.S. government, too.
As is well known, postwar Japan's pacifist Constitution set its military role as "purely self-defensive," which was designed and imposed by the United States. The pacifist Constitution really enabled the Japanese people, who had suffered from the war turmoil, to enjoy 70 years of peace and the country to become the world's third strongest economic power. Therefore, whether it is historical justice or real justice, the pacifist Constitution has won popular support in Japan.
The amendment of the Constitution to make Japan become a "normal country" is the political ideal that many Japanese politicians have worked hard to pursue. However, Abe's right-wing ideology could easily make people to associate the Abe doctrine with Japan's militarism during the World War II - the two are in the same strain. This plus Abe's wrong historical perspective, makes it difficult for the public to believe what Japan pursues is really pacifism.
According to the new security bill, Japan is ready to send its troops abroad, so as to provide military support to armies of other countries. It allows the Japan Self Defense Forces to get rid of the shackles with which it was once bounded with by law, meaning it couldn't take any military action beyond its own borders unless their own sovereignty was threatened. The new bill virtually allows them to obtain the right to wage a war.
The Japanese people had an unprecedented premonition of the threat of war on the night of Sept. 18 - the day that the Japanese troops launched an aggressive war against China 84 years ago. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but the anxiety over future wars has irritated all walks of life in Japan to the point where they launched protest rallies. But it's of no effect, since the Abe administration had made good use of the majority rule of Japan's democratic constitutionalism.
In fact, the Abe administration wouldn't dare to have it done if the U.S. government hadn't removed the inhibition on Japan's revision of the Constitution. The United States is a super power, but its strategic strength cannot be compared with the past. Its decision on peacefully settling the Iranian nuclear crisis has triggered dissatisfaction from its Middle East allies - Saudi Arabia and Israel. In the chaos of Syria, the United States was contained by Russia in the early stages. As a result, it attempted nothing and accomplished nothing. While dealing with the ISIS terrorism, the United States wasn't decisive either; as a consequence, Europe is under immense difficulties to deal with the current refugee crisis.
Obama's strategy of returning to Asia is aimed at China, and Japan is the strong point to support this strategy. The United States needs Japan to play an important role in the western Pacific region. It needs Japan to put forward its military force in the frontier in its Asia-Pacific strategy. Therefore, a new alliance between Japan and the United States encouraged the Abe administration to revise the pacifist Constitution.
The new defense bill, however, is a sharp double-edged sword pointing at the United States, too. Instead of serving as cannon fodder for the United States, Japan aims at making itself a "normal country." Will Japan still want to live under the wings of the United States when it has its own fully-fledged wings of armed forces? Probably in the not too distant future, the United States will eat its own bitter fruit - to rear a tiger is to court calamity.
Zhang Jingwei is a researcher of the Charhar Institute.
This article was translated by Li Jingrong based on the original unabridged version published in Chinese.
Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.