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Japan

Why is Japan Rearming?

The gradual but firm shift in Japan’s defence posture is among the most notable developments characterizing the Asia-Pacific’s international dynamics in the past few years. Its efforts to increase its military power, accompanied by attempts to change the Constitution to expand the means and the duties of its military forces are to be interpreted in a broader context of growing security challenges. But what exactly are the drivers behind Japan’s re-arm?

Japan’s defence policy after WWII

Japan’s past is the first element to consider to understand the importance of its changing defence posture.

After being defeated in WWII, Japan abandoned its pre-war militarism to embrace pacifism and rejection of the use of armed force. This principle was enshrined in Article 9 of its Constitution, which entered into force 1947 with US support. According to its terms, Japan denied its own right to belligerency, rejected war as a mean to solve international disputes, and renounced to develop any war potential. This meant that it could not possess its own armed forces and could not participate in any conflict abroad, not even for collective self-defence. Initially, the US had favoured this constitutional provisions as a guarantee that Japan would never try again to conquer the Asia-Pacific region has it had done in the past. Moreover, immediately after the war it seemed that the area would become a hub of peace and stability.

But the situation changed soon. In 1949 the communists took power in mainland China, thus radically changing the region’s geopolitical landscape. Only one year later, the pro-Soviet North Korea attacked its southern counterpart, triggering the three-years-long Korean War. Following the emergence of these threats, Washington applied the containment policy to counter the assertiveness of Moscow and its allies in Asia as in Europe. In this logic, the US started pressuring Japan to adopt a larger security role. However, this achieved very limited success. In 1951, America and Japan signed a Peace Treaty, and along with it a separate Security Treaty (later revised in 1960) that committed Washington to defend its ally. But under the Premiership of Yoshida Shigeru, Japan preferred to minimize its military expenditures in order to focus on reconstruction and economic growth, all while relying on its powerful American ally for protection. This approach, later named “Yoshida Doctrine” after its inspirer, became the cornerstone of Japan’s foreign policy for decades, and it was an extraordinary success. Thanks to it, Japan managed to avoid international conflicts and to achieve an impressive GDP growth, rapidly turning into one of the world’s leading economic powers. As of today, Japan is still the third largest economy in terms of nominal GDP.

Yet, this does not mean that Japan did not have its own military. The terms of Article 9 notwithstanding, the country still had to make concessions. In 1954, it established its armed forces, which took the name of Japanese Self-Defense Forces (or JSDF). But as their name suggests, they were not comparable to the full-fledged militaries that other states had. The …

Will Japan and Russia make peace?

For more than 70 years, Russia and Japan have been at loggerheads over Pacific islands on the edge of the Sea of Okhostk known as the Kuril islands. The long-standing dispute dates back to WWII when the Soviet Union seized the islands, expelling all 17,000 Japanese residents. Japan’s official position is that the islands are an inherent part of its territory and are under illegal occupation. Russia meanwhile, insists it owns the islands.

The dispute has remained a sticking point in Japan-Russia relations ever since, preventing the signing of a formal peace treaty. But less than two weeks ago on 12th September 2018, Russia’s President Vladmir Putin used an appearance at the Eastern economic forum to float the idea of signing a peace treaty with japan. “An idea has just come into my head… Let’s conclude a peace treaty before the end of this year, without any pre-conditions.”

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Japanese island where women are banned gets Unesco world heritage listing

Read the full article by Justin Mccurry or read the key points below;

  1. A sacred island in south-west Japan that bans women and where male visitors must strip naked before going ashore has been declared a Unesco world heritage site.
  2. Okinoshima was once the site of rituals to pray for maritime safety and a centre for relations with China and Korea that stretch back as far as the fourth century.
  3. The 700-square-metre island, along with three nearby reefs and four other related sites were given world heritage status at the UN body’s annual summit in Krakow, Poland, at the weekend, bringing the number of Japanese cultural and natural sites on the list to 21.
  4. a group of Shinto shrines, are permitted to travel to worship at the island’s 17th century shrine, Okitsu. In addition, up to 200 men are allowed to visit only once a year
  5. Before they go ashore, they must observe centuries-old rituals, including removing their clothes and undergoing misogi – bathing naked in the sea to rid themselves of impurities. They are prohibited from taking home mementoes, including small objects such twigs, pebbles and blades of grass, according to the island’s website.
  6. The reason for the ban on women has never been publicly stated, but one theory – which extends to other aspects of Japanese culture – cites the Shinto belief that menstrual blood is impure.
  7. Around 80,000 items regarded as national treasures have been unearthed on the island, including mirrors from Wei dynasty China, gold rings from the Korean peninsula and fragments of a glass bowl from Persia.
  8. the chief priest at Munakata Taisha, said the ban on tourism – and women – would stay in place, despite a flood of inquiries from travel agencies.

 

Japan produces its first F-35A Fighter Jet

Image result for defence news logo

Read original article on Defense News or read some of the key points below;

  1. The first Japanese-manufactured F-35A was rolled out Monday in Nagoya, Japan. The aircraft was unveiled at Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’  F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out, or FACO, facility, which is operated by Mitsubishi with the assistance of F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin and oversight from the U.S. government.
  2. The unveiling event was attended by more than 200 people, including leaders in the defense industry and Japanese and U.S. governments.
  3. “Seeing the first Japanese built F-35A is a testament to the global nature of this program”, said Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 program executive officer. “The F-35 will enhance the strength of our security alliances and reinforce long-established bonds with our allies through training opportunities, exercises, and military-to-military events.”
  4. The former F-35 program head, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, said in 2014 that Japan invested its own funds into the building of this facility and it was a big factor in their selection.
  5. Lockheed Martin has delivered four F-35As from its Fort Worth line to the Japan Air Self Defense Force, but the JASDF’s remaining 38 F-35s will be assembled in at the Nagoya FACO.
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