Japanese Imperialists Flex Their Muscles

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JAPANESE Nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has just been re-elected and has immediately begun a drive to prepare for war against China and North Korea, arm-in-arm with the major ally of the Japanese capitalists, the United States, with whom it is embarking on a series of major military exercises in the seas off Korea and China.

This is despite the fact that the constitution which was forced onto Japan by the US at the end of the Second World War, when Japan was nuclear bombed by the Allies, forbids it having an army or going to war.

It was meant to prevent any return of Japanese militarism, but now it is returning at the behest of the US.

Japan says that it faces increasingly serious threats to its security from China and North Korea, a charge that China responded to by saying that Japan was inventing a threat to ‘artificially create regional tension and confrontation’.

In fact, all of the nations of South East Asia have been worried by the speeches of Abe which demand that the history of Japan’s role in Asia during the Second World War be rewritten.

Now the Japanese Defence Ministry has produced a report which states that: ‘There are various issues and destabilising factors in the security environment surrounding Japan, some of which are becoming increasingly tangible, acute and serious.’

The Defence Ministry report accuses China of ‘attempting to change the status quo by force based on its own assertion, which is incompatible with the existing order of international law’.

Dealing with the different claims to the East China Sea islets which Japan ‘nationalised’ last year, the report said that: ‘Some of China’s activities involve its intrusion into Japan’s territorial waters, its violation of Japan’s territorial airspace and even dangerous actions that could cause a contingency, and are extremely regrettable.’

Commenting on the defence report, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said it contained ‘false criticisms’ and followed growing calls in Japan to ‘strengthen the military’.

He warned: ‘The international community cannot but be concerned by Japan’s real intentions and its future development,’ adding: ‘We hope that Japan can correct its attitude.’

Meanwhile, the Japanese military is conducting joint manoeuvres with the United States, and fortifying defences against missile attacks, while the government is considering a more aggressive defence policy.

Japan is to draw up a new defence plan by December. Part of it will include the right to a pre-emptive strike against ‘enemy targets’ when an intention to attack Japan is clear, the threat is imminent and there are no other options.

The unveiling of such a doctrine, and the knowledge that such a pre-emptive strike would have to have a nuclear back-up to try to avoid massive retribution, has already upset China and created alarm in South Korea – an ex-Japanese colony – since Japan has the industrial and technical capacity, and the friends, to acquire nuclear weaponry rapidly.

Premier Abe’s advisor, Kazuya Sakamoto, has already warned that: ‘The balance of power will be lost if we don’t start considering striking back when attacked.’

Already, the Liberal Democractic Party has stated that Japan must have an amphibious Marines division equipped with tilt-rotor aircraft like the V-22 Osprey to boost the defence of remote islands, and must introduce surveillance drones that will open up the way for the kind of weaponry that the USA is using in Afghanistan.

Premier Abe also wants to revise the constitution to have the right to collective self-defence alongside the United States, and in aiding an ally under attack.

Japan is now the USA’s number one ally in Asia. As the capitalist crisis deepens it will be driven to take all kinds of measures alongside the US against China, Korea and the peoples of Asia.

Only an alliance of the peoples of Asia alongside the Japanese working class to fight against and overthrow imperialism, to go forward to socialism, can answer this threat.