|The News Line: Editorial
Thursday, 10 January 2013
JAPAN BOOSTS ITS MILITARY SPENDING!
WHILE the US and the UK have reduced their military spending, under pressure from the greatest ever crisis of the capitalist system, the new Japanese Liberal Democratic government has just announced that Japanese imperialism is back – by pledging to increase its military spending by $2.1 bn this New Year.
Japan’s defence ministry says it is seeking more funds for military spending, a day after news the government would boost the defence budget for the first time in 10 years, to be spent on missile interceptors and fighter jets.
This is not bad going for a state that signed a surrender agreement to US and UK imperialism in 1945, and a treaty which stipulated that Japan would not have any military forces at all ever again.
The US dictated constitution of 1947 reads in Article 9: ‘Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on 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. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognised.’
The US and the UK ruling classes were determined that Japanese militarism would never rise again, it seemed.
However, the victory of the Chinese revolution in 1948, the Korean war and the emergence of North Korea, changed all that, with the US and the UK deciding that, not the end, but the rebirth of Japanese militarism was what was required, in the face of the ‘communist menace’.
Japan has re-built its massive modern industries and although in a slump, has now powerful military forces on land, sea and the air, and the capacity to produce nuclear weapons as it likes.
It is now also the main ally of US imperialism in Asia and perhaps the world. The US has tens of thousands of troops, on the land, in the air and on the seas of Japan, much of it nuclear armed, as a result of the 1960-Japan-US security agreement. Japan has become a giant base and aircraft carrier for the United States.
In the wake of the announcement by President Obama that the US’ major military forces are being shifted to the seas and the countries around China, the announcement that Japan has a ‘stimulus package’ for its armed forces has great importance.
This new funding is in addition to news, on Tuesday, that the new government, which won elections in December, would increase the defence budget request by more than 100bn yen. The defence budget for the year ending in March 2012 stood at 4.65 trillion yen.
The resurgent Japanese ruling class is using claims on islands in the China Seas, believed to be floating on oil fields to stoke up tensions with China.
In return, China has pushed to claim the East China Sea islands as its own. Japan controls the islands but its purchase of three of them from their private Japanese owner in September sparked a renewed row.
Since then Chinese ships have been sailing in and out of what Japan says are its territorial waters around the islands, prompting warnings from Tokyo.
New Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged a strong stance on the territorial issue, while announcing that he intends to visit the Yasukune cemetery, where General Tojo is buried along with other Japanese military leaders from the second world war, who were executed by the US and UK as war criminals.
Besides being a war memorial, Yasukune is dedicated to the Shinto code of bushido, with its absolute obedience to the emperor. This state Shintoism was at the heart of Japan’s fiery nationalism, the antecedent of its incursions into Asia, and, ultimately, its attack on Pearl Harbour.
Abe summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest against the presence of Chinese government ships in waters around the disputed islands, while there were anti-Japanese riots in China on the anniversary of the ‘rape of Nanking’, when many thousands of Chinese were massacred by the Japanese military using the bayonet as the weapon of choice.
The pot is now well and truly boiling, with the US considering whether a testing out of China’s defence capacity by Japanese military forces would not be too bad an idea in the period ahead, at the same time as it is heaping pressure onto Iran.
However the peoples of China, and south east Asia, having overthrown the rule of imperialist puppets will not allow the revival of Japanese militarism, even arm in arm with the USA.
Nor only that but the Japanese working class and the youth want no part in any revival of the vision of the Japanese ruling class that it will dominate the Asia Pacific, whether with the agreement of the US or not.
The only way out of this crisis is for the working class of Asia, of China, Japan, and Indo-China to unite to smash US and Japanese imperialism so as to go forward to socialism and then communism.
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