Sunday, April 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Japan’s Cabinet eases post-WWII limits on military

By
From page A13 | July 02, 2014 |

TOKYO — Since Japan’s defeat in World War II, its military has been shackled by restrictions imposed by a victorious U.S. and that, over time, a majority of Japanese adopted as their own. Now, the shackles are being loosened.

Japan’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved a reinterpretation of the country’s pacifist postwar constitution that will allow the military to help defend allies and others “in a close relationship” with Japan under what is known as “collective self-defense.”

Previous governments have said the war-renouncing Article 9 of the constitution limited the use of force to defending Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the shift is needed to protect the lives of the Japanese people in an increasingly severe security environment. Japanese warships would be able to help protect U.S. ships that were defending Japan, he said.

“Peace is not something you expect to be given, but it’s something that we must achieve on our own,” he said in a televised news conference.

The issue has divided Japan, where many worry about China’s growing military assertiveness but also support the anti-war clause of the constitution and fret about a possible slide toward the militarism that led to World War II.

About 2,000 people protested outside Abe’s office, saying that any change to the constitution should be made through a public referendum, not simply a Cabinet reinterpretation.

“For 70 years, Japan has kept its peace with its constitution,” said 67-year-old protester Toshio Ban. “What are we to do with that stupid man trying to trample over the precious constitution?”

The move drew sharp criticism from China, and a cautious reaction from South Korea, which was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945.

“Beijing opposes Japan’s act of hyping the China threat,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily briefing. The new policy “raises doubts about Japan’s approach to peaceful development.”

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il said: “The South Korean government views it as a significant revision to the defense and security policy under the postwar peace constitution, and is paying a sharp attention to it.”

Written under U.S. direction after World War II, the 1947 constitution says the Japanese people “forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation.” The article was crafted to prevent a repeat of Japan’s invasion and brutal occupation of wide swaths of Asia.

America’s position shifted quickly with the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War. The U.S. began to see Japan as an ally in the Cold War and pressed its former enemy to rearm. Today, with America’s military financially stretched, the U.S. is backing whatever Japan can do to play a larger role in regional security.

In Washington, State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. welcomes Japan’s new policy.

“As you know, the U.S.-Japan alliance is one of our most important partnerships, security partnerships. And we value efforts by Japan to strengthen that security cooperation,” Harf said.

The Japanese, though, particularly older generations, have witnessed Japan’s success under the constitution, even if the postwar economic miracle has lost some luster in the last two decades.

“Most Japanese, over two-thirds, feel that this peace constitution is part of their identity,” said Jeff Kingston, head of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan in Tokyo.

The Cabinet decision is hardly the first loosening of the shackles. The constitutional ban has been relaxed several times over the years, starting with the introduction of a “police” force during the Korean War, which became a military dubbed the Self-Defense Force in 1954.

A major turning point came after the 1991 Gulf War, when a wealthy Japan was criticized for contributing money but not “boots on the ground.” After hostilities ended, Japan sent mine sweepers to the Gulf as part of U.N. mission, triggering massive protests at home.

A special law passed in 1992 allowed the military to participate in U.N. election monitoring in Cambodia, the first overseas deployment of troops since World War II.

Japan enacted a set of laws in 2003 to enable troops to join the U.N. Iraq reconstruction mission. But Japanese soldiers were only allowed to fire in self-defense, and had to be escorted by Dutch, British and Australian troops, something Japanese conservatives saw as an embarrassment.

The government has no immediate plans to change the constitution, which has never been amended. But Abe and subsequent governments will now be empowered to authorize greater military engagement under the new interpretation of the charter.

Opponents worry the new policy could be a step toward eventual participation in joint military actions such as the war in Iraq.

Abe said his government stands by its current position of not sending troops to overseas battlefields. An agreement with junior coalition partner New Komeito includes restrictions on when Japan can exercise collective self-defense.

“Japan’s status as a peaceful country will not change,” Abe said.

Buddhist-backed New Komeito initially opposed the change, and Tuesday’s Cabinet decision came after weeks of negotiations between the two parties.

Takeshi Iwaya, a lawmaker who chairs a ruling party research commission on security, said Japan has long said it won’t repeat the mistakes of World War II, but that is no longer enough to preserve peace.

“Up to now, Japan has said it will never do anything wrong and merely wish for peace,” he said in an interview. “What we are trying to do now is to play a more proactive role.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano cities celebrate Earth Day

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Hard-fought battle ends in victory

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Children enjoy day of fishing at Fairfield pond

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Expo shows Kroc Center fun for whole Framily

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Suisun police execute tobacco sting

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

CHP offers free class for senior drivers

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Edibles in your landscape

By Daily Republic | From Page: C4

 
Patrons raise a glass to toast a good cause

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Walk MS hits stride along Suisun waterfront

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Covered California offers Solano enrollment events

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Weather for Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
Pay close attention to investment costs

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

Be wary of next ‘big’ thing

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

With legalization, lawyers turn to business of pot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
Remains of dismembered newborn found in South Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Starbucks stores reopen Saturday after computer glitch

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Nearly 17 million watch Jenner interview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Aden hit by coalition airstrikes amid fierce street battles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Mother in custody dispute freed after 8 years behind bars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Italy marks 70th anniversary of anti-Nazi uprising

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

European authorities stop illegal horse meat network

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Italian navy rescues 274 from migrant ship off Libyan coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Army shutting down wounded warrior transition care units

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Warrior pose: Yoga catching on as therapy for veterans’ PTSD

By The Washington Post | From Page: B10

Toll climbs after powerful quake hits Nepal: Things to Know

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

How can we give them more?

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8, 8 Comments

 
Sound off for April 26, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Corruption tarnishes values of our ancestors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Obama sides with enemy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 20 Comments

Who’s asleep at the switch?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Brides show short wedding gowns more of the love

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Community Calendar: April 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Today in history: Sunday, April 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Vatican goes on offensive to defend US-Spanish saint

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
You get what you need with Jesus

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3, 4 Comments

 
How can I trust my husband after he texted a younger woman behind my back?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

Horoscope: April 26, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Veterinarians are too expensive, and it puts pets at risk

By The Washington Post | From Page: C5

Old standby body-weight training still has moves

By The Washington Post | From Page: C7

 
Milan spiffs up for Expo 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
More copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder memoir being printed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Amber Tamblyn writes book of poetry about dead actresses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Rain postpones NASCAR race at Richmond until Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Giants beat Rockies 5-4 in 11 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors complete sweep with 109-98 win over Pelicans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Athletics drop 3rd straight game, 9-3 to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
US routs Canada 7-2 in semifinal at under-18 hockey worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Watford back in Premier League after 8-year absence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Several Kentucky Derby hopefuls get workouts in before rain

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Levy falters at Volvo China Open; 4 tied for lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former Expos executive Jim Fanning dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam team to lead Legends of Golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Compton, Day top leaderboard in rain-plagued Zurich Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Suzuki breaks Oh’s record for runs by a Japanese player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bulldogs get 10-0 baseball win over Panthers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Canadian teen Henderson has 1-shot lead in LPGA Tour event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Klitschko outpoints Jennings to defend heavyweight titles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Michael Schumacher’s son makes strong Formula 4 debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
A’s place Ben Zobrist on disabled list with knee injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

7 players from Royals, White Sox punished by MLB for brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Grizzlies hold off a late Trail Blazers rally to go up 3-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Hometown report: Bicycle racing, youth track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Bowling report for April 26, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Bayless’ layup at buzzer gives Bucks 92-90 win over Bulls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Nets beat Hawks 91-83, pull within 2-1 in series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Sports on TV for Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

 
This date in sports history for April 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Veggies take center plate as healthy fast food chains expand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
What’s in a hotel name? Guests try to decipher the mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Is ice cream safe? Federal health officials say yes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Don’t panic, college seniors: Jobs for grads likely to grow

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Nicole Herdia Spann

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Reginald Morris Davis

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics