Book Authored (ISBN-10: 0824821599)

Book Authored (ISBN-10: 0824821599)
Sovereign Rights and Territorial Space in Sino-Japanese Relations: Irredentism and the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (ISBN-10: 0824824938)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Japan vs. The World: The Collective Self-Defense-VI/The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands-XXXXII

History may provide some important clues. Year 2014 is the 100 anniversary of WWI when Japan’s nationalism and militarism spun out of control, resulting in one of the greatest tragedies in human history in WWII. It is also the year for 120 anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese war in 1894, losing the war to Japan. In January 1902, Japan became allies with the British, the leader in international politics (under Pax Britanica). Unfortunately, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance had entered a peace era, but this did not prevent Japanese aggression in WWII. Japan terminated the treaty with the British in 1923; the Tokyo regime invaded the majority of Asian countries in the war, and attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, challenging the then “rising power” the United States. All this happened approximately 70 years ago. Today, once again Japan is making an “ally” with the current international leader – the United States (under Pax Americana). The U.S.-Japanese security pact has meant peace for the last 70 years. Yet, Japan now challenges the next “rising power” – China. Just like the Anglo-Japanese Alliance a century ago, if history proves true someday the alliance with the United States will be terminated. As Renmin Ribao states, “Is Japan Targeting China in Next Move (Renmin Ribao July 1, 2014)?” The Diaoyu Islands will be the turning point for a war between Japan and China if history repeats itself.
Source: Asahi Shimbun, accessed on July 23, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Japan vs. The World: The Collective Self-Defense-V/The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands-XXXXI

China is worried that Japan will use the amended constitution to encourage the Philippines and Vietnam to enhance their position regarding Chinese claims over islands in SCS. Even though the Abe regime explains three conditions necessary to deploy the SDF to fight in oversea, many questions cannot be answered. For example, who decides whether an attack on a friendly nation represents a “clear threat” to Japan? Since the Japanese Diet has passed the “special secrecy protection bill” in December 2013 which prohibits anyone inside government from revealing information including national security to the public, the information could be buried inside the government forever without any public attention or knowledge. Furthermore, while Abe promised “limits” to involvement in overseas operation, Abe and the new interpretation fail to define “limits.” As a result, the new interpretation may provide a “blank check” to invoke the right of collective self-defense under the guise of “national security” in the future by any right-wing or nationalist regime. Why does Japan need to exercise collective self-defense to that end? As Mainichi Shimbun states, “It is totally unacceptable for the government to decide to drastically change security policy without sufficiently explaining why Japan needs to exercise the right to collective self-defense, measures to put the brakes on such operations, risks involving the use of this right and its legal basis (Mainichi News July 1, 2014).” Why now? The Japanese government provides no answers.

Source: Asahi News (accessed on July 11, 2014).

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Japan vs. The World: The Collective Self-Defense-IV/The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands-XXXX

Ironically, some countries (such as Philippine and Australia), which were invaded by Japan in the war, publicly support Abe’s idea because they believe Abe’s propaganda (Australian Financial Review July 2, 2014; Philippines Daily Inquirer July 1, 2014). Even Washington expressively endorsed Abe’s cabinet decision (Guardian July 1, 2014). Since the United States has faced its financial crisis at home due to the massive spent in Iraqi and Afghanistan wars in the last decade, Abe has utilized Obama’s pivot-Asian-policy to leverage his collective self-defense puffery. As the Western media points out, two issues forced Abe to justify the reinterpretation of Article 9. (1) “The Abe government privately fears that if Japan does not show a broader willingness to fight for the United States, then Washington might abandon its commitment to defend the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, leaving Japan at the mercy of China in the ECS (Deutsche Welle World July 1, 2014).

Chinese Spokesperson. Source: Waijaobu, July 1, 2014 (accessing July 8, 2014).
In other words, while Abe leveraged Obama’s policy for his “own” purpose – against China to protect the Diaoyu Islands, Obama expects Japan to help fund Washington’s pivot-Asian-policy in the Asian region. (2) “Abe has justified the reinterpretation of Article 9 by pointing to China’s maritime advance abroad (Ibid).”
Abe hints that collective self-defense could be extended to other nations including Australia, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, and India, creating an anti-China network. As the spokesman in Waijiaobu states,

Due to historical reasons, Japan’s political moves in the military and security field have long been closely watched by its Asian neighbors and the international community. Recently, Japan’s ruling authority has been stirring up troubles on historical issues on the one hand, and taking unprecedented measures in the military and security field on the other hand, bringing great changes to Japan’s military and security policies. People cannot but question whether Japan is deviating from the path of peaceful development that it has been upholding since the end of WWII. We have noted that there are strong objections in Japan to the lifting of the ban on the collective self-defense right.
          It is the general public of Japan that should have the final say on which way Japan should follow in terms of national development. We are opposed to Japan’s pursuit of its domestic political goal by deliberately making up the so-called “China Threat.” We urge the Japanese side to earnestly respect the legitimate security concerns of its Asian neighbors and prudently deal with relevant issues. It must not undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, nor shall it harm regional peace and stability (Waijiaobu website July 1, 2014).


Monday, July 7, 2014

Japan vs. The World: The Collective Self-Defense-III/The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands-XXXIX

          Second, Abe’s unabashed attempt to circumvent the Japanese constitution violates fundamental principles of democracy, constitutionalism, and rule of law. In a democracy such as Japan the Constitutions constitutes the highest law of the land; all including the highest positions, such as prime minister in the office must follow. Abe’s unprecedented “so-called reinterpretation is not only illegitimate, but poses significant danger to Japan’s democracy (Tokyo Shimbun July 2, 2014).” The new interpretation occurred with no Diet debate or vote, and no public approval, other than support by Abe’s “advisory panel,” which held discussions over one month period. Indeed, even the Nikkei, Japanese business newspaper, found that over 50% of voters opposed overturning the ban on collective self-defense a day before Abe’s announcement (Nihon Keizai Shimbun June 30, 2014). The majority of Japanese voters still oppose the new collective self-defense reinterpretation. As Murakami Seichirō, one of the few LDP lawmakers, opposing the revision claims, “Fundamentally, this country will no longer be one that is governed by the rule of law (McClatchy-Tribune Business News July 1, 2014).
Source: Asahi Shimbun (accessing July 3, 2014).

While Abe’s remarks and justifications might look “nice” on the surface, in reality, Japan is preparing to dispatch Japanese military forces to foreign soil and bears a semblance to Japan’s aggressive stance. The term “all about protecting the people” simply sounds better and garners more political support than words such as “killing,” or “invasion,” or “rape,” behaviors from Japan’s not so distant past which should not be forgotten or overlooked. Absent a government that follows and respects rule of law, there will be little the world can do to stop Japan from dispatching SDF overseas to fight as there are no longer restrictions or restraints on Japan from doing so.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Japan vs. The World: The Collective Self-Defense-II/The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands-XXXVIII

The new interpretation means that the Japanese SDF may fight overseas for the first time since WWII. The Japanese government may deploy military force where three conditions are met: (1) an ally nation is attacked; (2) the attack presents a clear threat to the existence of Japan; and (3) the foreign attack threatens to undermine the rights of the Japanese citizen to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness (Asahi Shimbun July 2, 2014). The proposal permits the country’s military to play a larger international role by loosening restrictions on activities in the United Nations-led peacekeeping operations and “grey zone” incidents. In addressing the public, Abe stated that “It is my responsibility to safeguard the lives and peaceful livelihood of the people…. The Change in policy is taken every possible measure, to deter any attempt to attack our nation…. There is absolutely no chance that Japan becomes a nation that wages war (Shushō kantei website July 3, 2014).”

Source: The head of the "advisory panel," News from (accessing date: July 5, 2014)
Abe justified the new interpretation noting the “increasingly severe” security environment in the region -- the Sino-Japanese territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Island necessitated changes to prior policies and practices. Before his press conference to the Japanese people, Abe briefed the ruling coalition on developments in security legislation:
I would just like to take this opportunity to make two remarks. The first is that today’s Cabinet decision does not in any way change the principles of the Constitution. In all cases, measures for self-defense will be limited to the minimum extent necessary. The second remark I would like to make is that today’s Cabinet decision is intended to allow all necessary steps to secure the lives and peaceful livelihood of the people under the existing Constitution. This is all about protecting the people. That is the one and only purpose of the Cabinet decision (emphasis added; Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Website, July 1, 2014).
Abe’s statements can be described as false at best. Using the “China threat” Abe sought to camouflage his real intention to modify the constitution and build Japan’s military might (China Daily July 1, 2014) even though he did not mention China. To avoid international outcry and internal national hurdles, Abe chose not to change the constitution, but reinterpretation of the Article 9. In Japan, constitutional change requires a significant undertaking and may only occur with agreement of two thirds of the members of both houses plus the vote of the majority of the Japanese voters through a referendum. To circumvent these hurdles, reminiscent to his political maneuvering as a first term prime minister in 2007, Abe relied upon an “advisory panel” to promote his idea to the cabinet. As Craig Martin, a well-known scholar on international law and the use of armed force, and comparative constitutional law, points out, “This was a group with few lawyers, far less constitutional scholars, who were primarily selected for their hawkish views on national security. It was given a mandate to provide recommendations on how Article should be reinterpreted (Japan Times June 28, 2014).” The advisory panel relied primarily upon Goyōgakusha [scholars beholden to the government or self-serving academic scholars]. The end results that Japan’s Pacifist Constitution no longer exists because no vote by the Japanese government or adequate diet support (Tokyo Shimbun July 2, 2014).


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Japan vs. The World: The Collective Self-Defense-I/The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands-XXXVII

On July 1, 2014 thousands of protesters, including both politicians and ordinary people, held a rally near the prime minister’s office in Tokyo. Protesters voiced their opposition holding banners with slogans such as “Against War,” “Don’t send young people to battlefields,” and “Safeguard Article 9 of Constitution (Tokyo Shimbun, July 2, 2014).”

Source: Prime Minister of Japan and his cabinet website (accessing date: July 1, 2014)
Article 9 of Japan’s postwar constitution prohibits the use of force to settle international disputes, such as the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. Three days before the protests, Abe’s writings in Japan Times states:
No country can secure its own peace alone anymore. That is why it is incumbent upon us in Japan to reconstruct the legal basis for collective self-defense and international cooperation, including participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations – a reform that my administration has begun.…

Many generations of Japanese have walked a single path – that of freedom, human rights and role of law – and we will continue to walk this path for generations to come. But, as we revitalize Japan’s economy, we need “new” Japanese who shoulder global responsibilities commensurate with their country’s size and economic resources….
All of this is nothing other than an expression of Japan’s determination to spare no effort for the sake of peace, security, and wider prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. By working with our regional allies and partners, including the United States and ASEAN, we will translate that determination into a rock-solid zone of stability (emphasis added; Japan Times, June 28, 2014).
Abe attempts to justify his idea of collective self-defense under the guise of the United Nations. While true that many generations of Japanese followed a path focused on “freedom, human rights and role of law” after WWII, it cannot be forgotten that other Japanese walked a much darker path that included the “killing, raping, stealing, attacking, and invading etc.” of citizens of other nations including the Liuqiu Kingdom, Korean Peninsula, and the Middle Kingdom, prior to 1945. Abe cannot deny these historical facts. July 1, 2014 is historical day for Japan, putting the country at a crossroad; once again Japan is a war-capable nation. Abe Shinzō authorized a “reinterpretation” of war-renouncing Article 9 of the Pacifist Constitution, which prohibits Japan from waging war on foreign soil. This decision by the Japanese cabinet – end Japan’s longstanding ban on exercising collective self-defense or coming to the aid of an ally under attack even if Japan itself is not threatened.