So Why Has Japan Shed Its Pacifist Defense Policy?

There’s been somewhat of a game changer this week in relation to how Japan can use its military, and given all that’s been going on in East Asia, there are no surprises about why they’re doing it.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently stateside, and at a New York press conference on Monday, it was announced that Japan will farewell its long held pacifist policy, and put in its place a defense policy that’s more in line with other democratic nations.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, and Secretary of State John Kerry (all pictured below) gave details about the new U.S.-Japan defense guidelines and it’s a significant move.

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The agreement means that Japan’s military no longer has any geographic restrictions, and that it can now come to the defense of other nations if it is deemed in Japan’s interests to do so.

As covered in the above video, it also allows Japanese ships to assist American ships in waters around Japan. The new guidelines will also allow for greater cooperation between the two countries’ militaries, especially in areas of surveillance and reconnaissance.

Japan’s missile system can intercept missiles that are targeting the U.S.

While the agreement strengthens the U.S.’s commitment to Japan’s defense, it is also a reflection of their joint concerns over both China and North Korea.

Ships assigned to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy participate in maneuvering drills as part of an exercise off the east coast of the United States.  (Image: U.S. Navy)

Ships assigned to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy participate in maneuvering drills as part of an exercise off the east coast of the United States.
(Image: U.S. Navy)

“With China’s growing assertiveness and North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Japan, like a lot of allies, wants to be there for us so we’ll be there for them,” said Michael J. Green from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, according to The New York Times.

At Monday’s press conference, the U.S. also reiterated its support for Japan’s ownership of the eight Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea that Beijing bitterly disputes and claims as theirs.

The Senkaku Islands (known in Chinese as the Diaoyu Islands) is but one ongoing territorial dispute that an increasingly assertive Beijing has with several of its neighbors.

For more on the Senkaku islands issue, see the below funny take on it by China Uncensored:

 

 

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