Japan Loosens Shackles on Pacifist Constitution, Netizens React

Article from Yonhap News:

Paving the way for collective defense with cabinet approval, Japan can fight overseas wars

Marking the 60th anniversary of the Japan Self Defense Force (SDF), the Japanese cabinet endorses a fresh reinterpretation of the US-imposed pacifist constitution.

Sixty nine years after Japan’s defeat in WWII, Japan opens the way for staging wars; Japan’s PM Abe pledges to not become a country that initiates wars.

Abe announcing the cabinet decision to allow the the right to exercise collective self defense at a press conference on July 1st.

Prime Minister Abe of Japan is announcing a cabinet decision to allow the exercise of the right to collective self defense at a press conference held in his prime minister office on July 1st (local time).

On July 1st marking the 60th anniversary of the creation of its Self Defense Force (SDF), Japan has decided to transform itself into a country capable of fighting war by adopting new reinterpretations of its pacifist constitution.

In a cabinet meeting held in the afternoon at the Prime Minister’s official residence, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan approved a resolution that endorses the exercise of collective self defense when certain conditions are fulfilled.

The right to collective defense is the ability of a country to mount counterattacks against an attacking country when the country deems an attack on an ally to be an attack on itself.

In the resolution, the Japanese government states, “when an armed attack against a country having a close relationship with Japan poses an existential threat to Japan, and clearly imperils the lives of Japanese people, their freedom and their right to the pursuit of happiness, using military force, when other alternatives are not available, is constitutionally acknowledged as collective defense.”

The latest move by Abe’s cabinet marks a change in conventional constitutional interpretation that has remained valid for 33 years, since the interpretation of former Prime Minister Suzuki Zenko made in May 1981, reflected in his statement, “As a sovereign state, Japan has the right to collective defense, but exercising this right is not allowed.”

The constitutional amendment is a significant change from the previous security policy in Japan that proclaims Japan will use military force to only defend itself when it is under attack- an interpretation based on Article 9 of its pacifist constitution that provides for Japan’s renouncement of the use of military force as a means to resolve international conflicts.

The Japanese government stressed that collective self defense will be exercised in a limited way only when specified conditions are met. But observers say that the latest move unleashing Japan’s self-imposed shackles in using military force 69 years after its surrender in WWII will be a major factor in Northeast Asia’s security landscape, depending on responses from neighboring countries.

Watchers also say the Japanese government will face growing criticism for effectively neutralizing the war-renouncing Article 9 of the pacifist constitution not with constitutional amendment, but with a cabinet decision amid opposition from the majority of the Japanese people.

In the resolution passed by the cabinet, “the Japanese government reviews the expeditious dispatch of its SDF in what is called a “grey area situation” that, if goes unchecked, will lead to an armed attack on Japan.” It is also mentioned that the Japanese government will revise law to allow its SDF to offer necessary aids to foreign militaries in a move that scraps the previous classification of SDF operation ranges into rear areas and non-combat zones.

Regarding United Nations peace keeping operations (UNPKO), the cabinet verdict says that law will be altered to permit the use of arms by Japan’s SDF in emergency guarding operations, providing there is consent from the receiving country of a UNPKO force.

The Abe government plans to enact relevant legislation on collective self defense, inclusing SDF, in a special session of the Japanese parliament this autumn.

Japan is expected to modify US-Japan defense cooperation guidelines in consultation with the United States by the end of this year, in order to reflect this latest acknowledgement of collective self defense.

Another prospect is for Article 9 of the pacifist constitution to be amended in view of public sentiment in Japan. This constitutional amendment is one of election campaign promises made by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Ahead of the landmark cabinet decision, two leaders of the ruling LDP and its coalition partner, the New Komeito Party (NKP), Shinzo Abe and Natsuo Yamaguchi, reached an agreement on the wording of the cabinet resolution.

Having proclaimed itself as “peace party”, the NKP initially remained skeptically cautious with respect to the approval of collective self defense, but reversed its stance toward approval at the end of May.

At a press conference held at the Prime Minister’s residence following the landmark decision, Premier Abe said, “Our nation has walked on the path of peace for 70 years, and with heartfelt reflection on the past, we vow never to stage a war again. Concerns over whether Japan will be embroiled in another war is removed by this cabinet resolution. Our nation will never again make war.”

“Participation from Japan in combat such as the Iraq War or the Gulf War will be inconceivable in the future. What our constitution only allows are self defense measures, and any use of armed forces for the purpose of defending another country will not take place down the road.”

The decision by the Abe cabinet prompted various views from South Korea, China, and the United States.

South Korea’s foreign affairs spokesman Roh Gwang-il said at a regular press briefing, “Our position is that any discussion on collective self defense in Japan should be made under the pacifist spirit of Japan’s constitution in a way that dispels anxiety of neighboring countries over Japan’s historical issues, and contributes to strengthening regional stability and peace. The Repubic of Korea (ROK) can not approve any exercise of Japan’s self collective defense in cases that impact vital interests of our nation without our consent.

China’s foreign affairs spokesperson Hong Lei warned at a regular press briefing just ahead of the announcement of Japan’s cabinet decision that, “(Japan) should deal with relevant matters prudently and should not undermine regional stability and peace.”

Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Saki said at a regular briefing on June 30th (local time), “Japan has every right to defend itself in any way it deems necessary.”

Japanese television broadcaster, NHK, has predicted that, “The approval of collective self defense marks the watershed for Japan’s post-war security policy, as the revised law will solidify US-Japan military cooperation and will expand the scope of SDF operation.”

Kyodo News said that “Japan may divert from the spirit of self defense that the pacifist constitution is based on. The three conditions (Attacks on Japan or another country that threaten the existence of Japan, the lives of Japanese people, their freedom, or their pursuit of happiness, etc.) to prevent abuse of the exercise of collective self defense are stated abstractly, so it is hard to draw clear lines at the legitimate exercise of collective self defense.”

A crowd of about 10,000 protesters stage a rally in front of Prime Ministery Abe's residence in Tokyo on the eve of Japan's cabinet decision to approve collective self defense.

A crowd of about 10,000 protesters stage a rally in front of Prime Minister Abe’s residence in Tokyo on the eve of a landmark cabinet decision to approve collective self defense.

Comments from Naver:

Ito Hirobumi, Resident General of Korea when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule, probably said he took office in Korea to achieve peace in Northeast Asia? Didn’t he?

line****: [from the thread under fine****’s comment]

The unchanging fact is that Korea, China, Japan, the US or any other country implements policies to serve their own interest. I’m not defending Japan but it is clear that territorial disputes with China must have strongly influenced their decision. You can’t help but hold a stick when a thief breaks into your house.

wp_p****: [from the thread under fine****’s comment]

Are you guys afraid that you will be dragged into war and get killed? If you are afraid, you are supposed to support the US + Japan + 10 countries that approved Japan’s collective self-defense + South Korea containing China and North Korea to suppress warfare, ke ke. Why are you guys so simple-minded? Imagine you are Japanese. You finally got the card from the US and other countries to fight Chicoms destabilizing Asia. Would you blow it all and get a full erection only to get this Kimchi Country? You think like that because you know jack shit about international politics while indulging in a victim complex, tsk tsk.

Let’s say Japan isn’t remorseful for their warmongering past, ke ke ke. Even if they are not remorseful, they are the ching-chang-chong who know very well that they cannot defy the US. What about China? Ke ke ke, they say they want to have close ties with South Korea, but for the past 60 years they have commemorated their participation in the Korean War that prevented unification as an honorable and righteous anti-American war and have controlled North Korea from behind, ke ke. Do you Kimchi Sirs want to get started with three foes surrounding you?

Japan went crazy in the Pacific War and got slapped hard by the US. Do you think they will pull that stunt again? Ke ke ke. Just like Koreans had very superficial knowledge about foreign countries, international relations and treaties and only sucked China’s asshole in pre-modern diplomacy, you guys are making ignorant comments about the Far East in 2014. What a Confucian-Taliban-like way of thinking, ke ke.

gaio****: [from the thread under fine****’s comment]

The country that invaded us isn’t remorseful for their invasions and they are expanding their military strength. Isn’t it natural for us to feel uncomfortable? You should think from Korea’s point of view. If you think from another country’s point of view, that’s pointless. What happened to Georgia and Ukraine who sat back and trusted the so-called international community and the US?


This is unbelievable. Our government should make every effort to prevent Japan’s move at all costs, including even the severance of diplomatic relations with them. There is no guarantee that our nation will not suffer the humiliation of another domination by Japan, as it happened in 1910.

jhch****: [from the thread under imch****’s comment]

Severing diplomatic relations?? Are you an elementary school student? I’m the most scared of people like you who are ignorant and talentless but only zealous.

rosa****: [from the thread under imch****’s comment]

The Japs got their invading genes reactivated. Are Koreans gonna get decapitated again…?

hwan****: [from the thread under imch****’s comment]

The United States is in support of Japan’s decision. How could our government do anything about this…? The answer is that we just shut up and beef up our own military power. And we should abolish the Ministry of Women.

kiv4****: [from the thread under imch****’s comment]

I think this is rather good news. Koreans tend to realize what’s going on around them too late. This should wake people up to Japan’s potential threats and make us beef up our own military strength. When will you stop suffering from a victim complex? The world doesn’t care about your victim cosplaying. It is important to overcome the obstacles in this current situation rather than looking at the past. Honestly, I hope Japan officially arms themselves with nukes. Then we will have a reason to have our own nukes, too. I think this is a rather good opportunity.

jiye****: [from the thread under imch****’s comment]

That’s why our country is hopeless. Although Korea is not on par with Japan, Korea has a decent position in the world, but Koreans don’t realize that. An English intellectual once said ignorant people who don’t recognize their own country’s strength live in South Korea.

skyc****: [from the thread under imch****’s comment]

South Korea and Japan go to war against each other? You wouldn’t even want to write a bad fiction like that. But if Japan’s military power begins to overwhelm ours, Dokdo could be in danger.. So we will have to increase our military power.

srtk****: [from the thread under imch****’s comment]

There are some people who don’t understand why Japan’s collective self-defense is a big deal. Hitler took similar steps leading up to World War 2. A war-sanctioned nation tries to get rid of small regulations one by one until they become fully capable of waging war.

rxiv****: [from the thread under imch****’s comment]

Severing diplomatic relations? Ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke. What about all the losses and economic crisis it will bring about? Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs already stepped back and said to Japan, “If that is your will, it can’t be helped. But don’t butt in our own war without our permission!!” Ke ke ke ke.

shak****: [from the thread under imch****’s comment]

In diplomacy, you should calmly assess the reality and make moves instead of emotionally jumping up and down like in Naver comments. Doesn’t it make sense that the US supports Japan’s decision while ignoring Korea where a bunch of lefty commies stage anti-American candlelight protests on a regular basis? Did you forget the politically exploited American tank incident and mad cow disease hoax?


Japan has gone insane. If Japan launches an attack on North Korea citing threats from their missile launches, North Korea will declare war against South Korea and Japan, and the Korean Peninsula will be devastated by war again.

ab21****: [responding to above]

Right on. We need to shake off the restrictions on ballistic missile ranges (that the United States has imposed on us). We have cause to make such a demand to the US. For our own survival, the possession of nuclear weapons may be a necessary evil.

ukjp****: [responding to jojk****]

Someone said a world population of 7 billion is too much and about 4 billion is suitable… Has it just begun?


Japanese Self-Defense Forces aren’t some pushovers. They will be threatening.


I feel uneasy for some reason..


This is a big deal. I think it could be a sign of an upcoming great war. The United States unleashed shackles on Japan. That may lead to another Sino-Japanese war, the first one took place a century ago. Let’s stay alert, Republic of Korea!


When I look at what Japan is doing, I can’t understand them, especially compared to Germany, another country responsible for World War II. One thing is for sure. Unlike in the past, if a war between Japan and South Korea happens, it would make both countries losers, and both sides would be in shambles.

Comments from Daum:


An extreme rightist Japan is the enemy of the Republic of Korea. We should prepare ourselves for war with Japan. The ROK’s military has no meaning if it cannot keep Japan in check. In addition to North Korea, Japan governed by an ultra-right government should be seen as our adversary. With defense policy only focusing on North Korea, we can’t contain Japan’s military power. Compared to Japan’s military, the ROK has placed too much focus on the army, so our air and sea forces are inferior to Japan’s.


We need to gear up for war. They will invade the islets of Dokdo. We have to preclude pro-Japanese New Right agents from siding with ultra right-wingers in Japan. Pro-Japanese bastards will betray our nation to become Japan’s stool pigeons. We should be vigilant.


Japan seems to look for a colony (for evacuation) after it’s suffered a nuclear disaster.

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