Japan: US Pressures Revision Of Constitution
Above photo: Protesters holding placards shout slogans at a rally against Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to expand Japan’s military role in front of Abe’s official residence in Tokyo June 30, 2014 (Reuters / Yuya Shino) / Reuters
Tokyo, Japan – The Abe administration is so intent on passing security-related bills now under deliberation at the House of Councilors. Why? One reason is that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised the Joint Meeting of U.S. Congress in a speech given on April 29 that the bills would be made into law by the end of the summer.
Probably, Washington might have thought at the time that the time was ripe for them to urge Tokyo to revise the constitution — a long-pending U.S. policy toward Japan. Junichiro Koizumi, the most pro-American prime minister in recent memory, was in power with Shinzo Abe serving as Secretary-General of the LDP. Abe replaced Koizumi as the next prime minister in September 2006.
In a speech given at the Japan National Press Club on February 2, 2004, as well as in an article contributed to the March issue of popular Bungei Shunju magazine in the same year, then Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Richard Armitage blatantly suggested that the Japanese constitution be revised so that Japan, a great second economy, could exercise the right to collective self-defense in response to a changing security environment. Once he realized that constitutional revision must run through high procedural hurdles and might take too long a time, he started saying the re-interpretation of the constitution might suffice for the time being.
About the same time, at a work group meeting in Tokyo to discuss the U.S. military realignment in Japan, then U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Lawless blasted his Japanese counterparts by saying, “It’s crazy that Japan cannot intercept U.S.-targeted North Korean missiles flying over Japan,” thus insinuating constitutional revision was a must. Also, at a “two-plus-two” defense and foreign ministerial meeting in Washington, D.C., then Defense Secretary Robert Gates repeated Washington’s long-term stance regarding the issue
Why does the Abe administration seem to take in Washington’s initiative more actively and positively than previous administrations? That’s because Washington’s scheme to make Japan its ever-lasting vassal by keeping the JSDF as a subdivision of the U.S. Pacific Command and Abe’s agenda to make Japan a revered military power once again coincide quite well.