In 16 July this year, security bills were passed through the Lower House of the Diet in Japan, so too through the Upper House in 19 September. These series of bills allow Japanese military to fight overseas for the first time since the end of the Second World War, in exercising the right of collective self-defense sanctioned by the Article 51, Charter of UN. Most Japanese and Japanese media, naive about politics and the International affairs especially about wars/conflicts, argue that these are ‘laws of war’ or against the concept of democracy; however, these claims are not right on the mark.
Simply stated, these laws don’t mean Japan can wage wars whenever Japan wants to. These laws will absolutely be restricted only to the exercise of self-defense, which doesn’t necessarily enhance the possibility of Japan’s being willy-nilly forced to get embroiled in US-led wars, partly on the ground of the Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua. In addition, prerequisite for the use of force stipulates three situations: “when Japan is attacked, or when a close ally is attacked, and the result threatens Japan’s survival and poses a clear danger to people”, “when there is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan’s survival and protect its people”, and “use of force is restricted to a necessary minimum”. It may be natural for Japanese people to think that Japan will go wars, but according to these stipulations and civil-military relations discussed in our class, it must be a premature thinking.
Internationally, this event may have a massive impact not only over the problems in the Middle East, but also over disputes in the South China Sea where China has been building islands against UNCLOS.
Philippines and U.S are alliance partners, so if China will continue this violent action on a threst of Phillipines’ security, it is not surprising that military conflicts may occur between China and U.S. In this situation, this security bills could enable Japannese military to resort to the use of force because this sea-lane is very important for import-dependent Japan and provide logistical support to U.S military. In this April, PM Shinzo Abe was on the platform in the U.S Congress, which may have a driving power for him to push through security bills, in anticipation of a whirl of criticism from China as well as Japanese people. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Abe chose to strengthen the alliance with U.S to become responsible for international affairs, not to schmear China.