20130711

The main threat against Japan? Its own leader

On July 21, 2013, Shinzo Abe's LDP will probably win the House of Councillors elections, and the controversial Prime Minister move closer to his dreams of revising the Constitution, discarding the peaceful nature of Post-War Japan, and restoring the belligerent nature of Imperial Japan. The publication of the annual white paper "Defense of Japan" is the perfect occasion to mobilize the base ahead of the elections.

Abe has made no secret of his intentions to modify the fundamental Article 9 of the Constitution, which clearly defines Japan as a peaceful nation ("Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes"*), and prior to that, to change the Article 96, which makes it difficult to change the Constitution itself. Right now, you first need the two thirds of each of the two Houses to vote the change, then a popular vote to ratify the text**.

In order to optimize his victory in elections that vast moderate majority don't perceive as vital for the future of Japan, Abe needs a strong mobilization from his ultra-nationalist base. That's one of the reasons why his government has recently been reviving tensions with Japan's neighbors around Dokdo, Senkaku, or Kuril islands. And should uproar and anger explode across the region, they would once more be used to trick the peaceful people of Japan into believing that this anti-democratic government is actually protecting the interests of a people surrounded by hot-tempered barbarians.

Very significantly, the "Defense of Japan 2013" annual white paper issued on July 9 by the Ministry of Defense justifies the first increase in Japan's defense budget in 11 years by depicting East Asia as a region on the brink of war, where everybody's beefing up their military capacities, and where diplomacy is not even mentioned as an option: North Korea's nuclear threats got more serious than ever, "China’s activities in the sea/air area surrounding Japan involve its intrusion into Japan’s territorial waters, its violation of Japan's airspace and even dangerous actions that could cause a contingency situation", "Russia continues to intensify its military activities", and even Southeast Asian countries are forced to modernize their military forces.

Of course, the Abe Government has been pouring oil on every possible fire to make diplomacy as irrelevant as possible, and the document hints at more than just increases in Defense spendings: towards a structural revision of the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Basic Policy for National Defense, and potentially a redefinition of key concepts such as "military power", "self defense", "right for belligerency" or, why not, "control over the military by democratic political authority".

The new National Defense Program Guidelines expected by the end of the year - in other words after the elections - are expected to include the capacity, for Self Defense Forces - provided the name sticks -, "of striking military targets in enemy countries" (see "White paper echoes Abe's plans to strengthen Japan’s defense" - Asahi Shimbun 20130710).

What we'd like to hear is Shinzo Abe state loud and clear, here and now, ubi et orbi, and with all the specifics, his precise vision and his ultimate goals, how he would rewrite the Constitution, in which terms he would redefine the nation, what would be allowed and not allowed for its defense. But unlike Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, Shinzo Abe always wisely / cowardly comes short of fully speaking his mind out. And if he never leaves any room for misinterpretations, he knows how to use symbols and circular references when he's venturing into the most outrageous territories, as he recently proved during his sick tribute to the infamous Unit 731 (see "Can't top that? Shinzo Abe posing as Shiro Ishii, the Josef Mengele of Imperial Japan").

So will the right for peace triumph over the right for belligerency? With an opposition unwilling to risk infuriating the ultra-conservative minority that corrupts and controls Japan's whole political system, the population remains overwhelmingly unaware of the dangers. But one thing is sure: belligerence being defined as an aggressive or warlike disposition or behavior, Shinzo Abe himself is more than ready for action.

And in this most defining moment, the main question remains***: will the great people of Japan wake up at last, and say no to Shinzo Abe, or will it let him continue saying and doing whatever he fancies, and let the whole nation follow him along this suicidal path?


blogules 2013

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* Note that the repudiation of pacifism happens to be the first article in the definition of fascism, as written by Benito Mussolini himself in 1932: "Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism -- born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death". Note also that the last element of Mussolini's definition of fascism refers to imperialism, another key ingredient in today's Imperial Japan nostalgia: "For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence". (source: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/mussolini-fascism.asp - long time no recycling for this definition - see "Red Blogule to neo-fascists - LET'S FACE IT THEY'RE FASCISTS" - 2004/05/27)

** see previous episodes, and on Seoul Village: "ABE forced to back down a bit. For the moment. Next PR stunt: KIM Jong-un"

*** see "Dear Japan, Say No To Fascism"

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