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Japan Diary

March 7, 2013

Japan's "Neo-con"?

(This is a reprinting of my old article about prime minister Abe and his politics--6 years ago. This time Mr.Abe is not playing around the nationalist banner.
"To win the Upper House election in coming July" is sine qua non for him. If he wins, all kinds of extreme voices will gush out. But so far I do want Mr.Abe to stay in power. )

---Will Japan catch up with the US in "Neo-con" movement?---

Oct. 3, 06
Akio Kawato

Abe government started its job. Abe's style is very cautious and somber. In the Parliament debate he only reads out what bureaucrats drafted for him. He has quickly set fence-mending trips to China and South Korea, which should take place in a few days just before two by-elections. So far so good. Anyway, after the flamboyant Koizumi this is a government of consensus, allowing all vested interests to speak up again. So far everyone is happy, the more because the economy is in a good shape.

However, the press keeps suspecting a nationalistic tendency in Abe and his "brains". Usually five academics are referred to as his nationalistic brains. So far there is no sign that these people will prevail. Abe yesterday officially reiterated Japanese official position to recognize that "Japan inflicted great loss and pain to many countries, countries in Asia inter alia, by its colonialist rule and invasion".

I will keep watching, however.
Self-assertion is OK (This tendency became stronger during the economic slump, because many Japanese felt that their interest and prestige were unduely deprecated by neighbor countries).
But ignorance of the situation around Japan and overestimation of its strength will only lead to a failure. And I am worried that these "self-assertive" people are prevailing in our society. Liberalism and freedom are out of mode, although Japan may be the most free nation in the world now.

We have to keep in mind that most of the Asian countries are for maintenance of the status-quo. That is the case even for Taiwan and Korean Peninsula. If Japan changes its own Constitution which refrains from using armed forces to solve international conflicts, she may be considered as the only country which heads for a change in the status quo in Asia.

I am sure that we have to send our self-defense forces to the peace keeping operations of the UN and that Japanese forces should be able to defend Americans in danger (The pact between Japan and the US only foresees that the US defend Japan and not vice versa.). But I will search for some other way than changing the Constitution.


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