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Korea’s mission is to prevent Japan-China conflict

Posted October. 08, 2015 07:47,   


Is rugby now Japan’s new household name technique? Japan recently surprised the world by grabbing a historical win against South Africa at the Rugby World Cup. Prior to this, however, a historical rugby struggle was performed at Japan’s National Diet.

At the House of Councilors special committee, members of the main and opposition parties stormed to the committee head’s table and engaged in an intense physical fight. And amid this chaos, the leading party pushed ahead with the voting on security law. Nobody was aware of what the committee head was saying and how the voting was proceeding, and with absence of the referee, a “try” was scored (A try is scored by grounding the ball in the opposition`s in-goal area). The next day, the issue went through voting at regular session. Consequently, Japan has become a country that can exercise the right of collective self-defense, albeit in a limited manner.

While it can be understood that Japan decided on this since it wanted to rein in China’s military expansion while international environment was changing fast, but it is still surprising since the Japanese government, which had for a long time regarded exercising of collective self-defense right as violation of Constitution, switched its attitude 180 degrees claiming it is constitutionally possible. Most constitutional scholars, and even the former chief justice of Supreme Court of Japan, had declared it was “against constitution,” and public surveys also were overwhelmingly against it or had prudential opinions.

Protesters had surrounded Japan`s Diet but the leading party was ignorant and pushed ahead. Japan doesn’t deserve to be called a democracy country. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he promotes diplomacy heralding “universal value” including freedom and democracy, but the latest decision has increased speculation whether he is qualified to claim so.

I also very much object to the bill, but it is still wrong to say things like “Japan is now a country who can wage war whenever it wants to,” or “Japan is returning to a militaristic nation.” Though it is true that Japan can now join the U.S. in waging a war as a back-up, Japan’s decision can be better understood in the context of why Korea promoted alliance with the U.S.

In a society considered as being increasingly rightist, moreover, Japan’s latest decision has highlighted that a mood is deep rooted in public sentiment that goes against what the bill is trying to do. Students uninterested in politics and housewives flocked to Diet building holding pickets amid heavy rain falls, a scene previously not seen.

If in the future when Self Defense Forces are actually mobilized to dangerous war sites, will lawmakers be able to approve it when they have to manage their popularity ahead of elections? If the forces fight in another country and are injured or dead, will the Japanese society be able to embrace it? Still yet, what if judicial judgment is made that the law is against Constitution? What then? It is hard to believe that Abe government legislated the law considering all these things.

Having experienced miserable loss after staging a reckless war 70 years ago, the Japanese society is still very sensitive to war. This is different from Korea who experienced Korean War and even now occasionally feels tension and anxiety over war. Japan’s sensitiveness can be well understood in its adverse reactions to compulsory military service.

Nevertheless, Japan’s future direction depends on North Korean trends and how tension develops or weakens with China. While Japan and China should restrain themselves, South Korea is the country that has the key to ease tension. Recently, South Korea has been tilting towards China whenever issues have occurred, and it has not helped relieve tension between Japan and China.

In this regard, it is good, though somewhat belated, that a Korea-Japan-China summit will be held led by President Park Geun-hye this fall. I had hoped for a Korea-Japan summit at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, but it is still an advancement that the two heads of state had a little get-together.

Still, while President Park at her speech at the United Nations expressed anxiety over Japan’s security law legislation, she mentioned nothing about China, which is an unbalanced act. It would be strange if she had felt nothing while in China when she saw the grand military parade.

It appears that Korea is concerned on Japan`s Self Defense Forces’ potential actions when emergency situations happen in the Korean Peninsula. But the biggest threat is military crash between Japan and China. History has shown that when Japan and China fought Korea was the biggest victim. It will coincide with Korea’s national interest to caution military competition between Japan and China and prevent conflict in advance.