‘US turning blind eye to danger of rearming Japan’

Soldiers stand near U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighters at Kadena U.S. Air Force base in Kadena town on Japan's southern island of Okinawa © Issei Kato
By supporting the rearmament of Japan, the US is either being shortsighted or is focused on its own agenda, instead of on maintaining peace and stability in the Northeast Asia region, Victor Gao, an international relations expert from Beijing, told RT.

Japan's parliament has been considering a new security legislation bill that would potentially allow the use of troops in conflicts outside Japan for the first time since WWII. Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, enacted 70 years ago, states that "the Japanese people forever renounce war" and will never have any land, sea or air forces, along with any other military potential. The bill, along with current anger at the US military presence in the country, has provoked protests.

READ MORE: Japan’s parliament panel green-lights military deployment law 

RT: What's behind Japan making this move to expand its military for the first time since 1945?

Victor Gao: I would say that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as his followers, are pushing the situation in Japan into a very dangerous direction – that is to change the pacifist constitution and to rearm Japan, and also to create a situation where Japan can insert itself militarily in conflicts outside of Japan. This is very, very dangerous and this is against the Japanese constitution. Many people, according to most recent polls in Japan oppose such a dramatic change of the pacifist constitution.

I would say the pacifist constitution has served Japan well in the post WWII era. Japan will do itself a big favor by sticking to the pacifist constitution. Any change in a substantive manner of the pacifist constitution may create dangerous consequences for the Japanese nation that they will suffer consequences from – I would say countries like China, South Korea, for example, most likely, also Russia, etc. – will not tolerate the dangerous moves led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his followers in Japan.

RT: Do you think this is a unilateral dissension, or perhaps there is some external influence that is coming in to Japan on this?

VG: Definitely, the irony is that the pacifist constitution in Japan was imposed upon Japan by the US in immediate aftermath of WWII. But right now, I think, the US is turning a blind eye to the danger of rearming Japan. And this kind of appeasement of the US of the possible rearming of Japan is in itself a danger. I think the US either is very much shortsighted, or is very much focused on its own agenda rather than maintaining peace and stability in the Northeast Asia region. And I would say that the appeasement by the US of Japanese rearmament, or even provocation by the US of Japan rearming itself, will eventually also create dangers which may cause tremendous amount of damage to the fundamental national interests of the US.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe © Kevin Lamarque

RT: So why Japan would do this? There is a lot of action going on – like the US is coming into the South China Sea, and so forth. What is the China factor in this equation? 

VG: Unlike the post-war era, Germany, which has completely apologized and distanced itself from the Nazi legacy of the WWII, Japan has not transformed itself profoundly, and Prime Minister Abe still today denies that Japan committed aggression in WWII, and crimes against humanity in WWII. He still wants to whitewash the fascist and militarist legacies of Japan in WWII. He still claims that the Nanking Massacre did not exist; he still claims that the enslavement of women during WWII by the Japanese military did not exist. I think this is really outrageous. This is very much causing the indignation of the people in this part of the world against Prime Minister Abe.

Now using the claim that China is adopting aggressive postures – using that as an excuse to rearm Japan – is false. I would say that the people in Japan who love peace should wake up and take measures necessary to drive Prime Minister Abe out of office. Otherwise, the Japanese people may eventually wake up and suffer all the consequences of the rearmament of Japan, and the national interest of Japan may be fundamentally damaged. In this particular respect countries like China, Russia and South Korea should stand firm in a united front against the rearmament of Japan.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.