Should Japan Build an Offensive Military Force?
By Anna Bondi
Recently, ISIS captured and killed two Japanese citizens – military contractor Haruna Yukawa and journalist Kenji Goto. This bold act by ISIS has frightened the world for its violent displays of aggression to Japan, a country which has no offensive military to retaliate with. This incident shook the Japanese community and has forced the government to both, rethink their peace constitution and debate the building of an offensive military.
This move towards mobilization to be proactive in regards to terrorist threats is in the best interest of Japan, the United States, and the global community. However, as stated in Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution, Japan’s military cannot sustain armed forces or use force to resolve international conflicts regarding terrorism.
As stated by the Law Library of Congress, this treaty was formed after World War II by the allied forces to prevent further mutiny from Japan. In the Constitution, it officially states: “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.”
Over time, the treaty was revised to allow a standing army for defensive purposes, along with aiding and defending allies such as the U.S. However, now Japan wants to eliminate further restraints by revising this article to allow more freedom with their military.
Among Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s goals in the following years is to alter the article so that Japan can actively pursue “collective defense,” according to the Japan Times. Thus far, the Japanese government has presented security scenarios regarding the military, as seen in AsiaOne news. These scenarios are, generally put, what the government will be allowed to do and includes dealing with illegal acts within their boundaries, protecting and aiding allies, like the U.S., during wartime, and protecting their citizens from harm. This last point would include the recent capture and killing of Japanese citizens by ISIS.
Although critics of the Japanese military may find these proposals to be threatening, it must be realized that Japan is not the enemy right now. The real enemy in this case is ISIS, a terrorist organization who is willing to attack citizens across nationalities, without mercy, to enforce their cruel regime.
As of today, Japan is an ally in the war against terrorism, and there is no need for the global community to treat this nation as a threat who would use its
army for malicious means. The Economist suggests that the global community should aid this ally and let Japan defend for itself in its time of need.
A source of unwavering support for Japan’s increase in militarization should come from the U.S. According to The Week, one of the reasons ISIS attacked Japanese citizens may have been due to Japan’s alliance with the U.S. As a loyal ally of Americans, Japan should have the ability to protect itself from a common enemy. Also, as humanitarian supporters, the U.S. cannot allow ISIS to get away with the indiscriminate killings of innocent people such as Goto and Yukawa.
Further militarization of Japan can also be beneficial for the U.S. In times of conflict, the U.S. may be able to utilize aid from Japan’s newly vamped military forces. In the future, an allied military force amongst multiple nations may be necessary in the war against terrorism.
Ultimately, there is a threat to the world that can cause death and destruction to whoever crosses it. This threat is ISIS and it is a growing power. The global community needs to utilize as much support as possible, so that this terrorist organization cannot grow any further and will not harm any more people.