Japan’s acute policy shift from post-war pacifism, allows fighting for allies
In a dramatic shift in policy, Japan changed its stance of its post-war pacifism by revoking a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since 1945. Although the move signifies victory countries for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, it has bothered China and many Japanese citizens. The policy change will extend Japan’s military options by ending the ban on exercising “collective self-defense“, or aiding an ally nation under attack.
Japan adopted a resolution describing the change, which also eases limits on activities in U.N.-led peace-keeping operations and “grey zone” incidents short of full-scale war. Japan’s military, which has long been constrained by the post-war constitution, will now become more aligned with the militaries of other advanced countries in terms of its options.
In World War II, the US defeated Japan and then became its close friend with a security cooperation agreement. The US has welcomed the Japanese decision and said it would strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance. The US has long exhorted Japan to become a more equal alliance partner. Tokyo’s step has also been well received by Southeast Asia nations that like Japan have territorial disputes with an increasingly assertive China. Tokyo’s new policy has riled China, whose relationships with Japan have strained due to a maritime dispute, mistrust and the legacy of past Japanese military aggression.
South Korea, also a US ally, but still distressed about Japan’s 20th century colonization of the Korea, said it would not accept any policy shift affecting its security unless it gave its agreement.