Security legislations taking effect Improvement of legislations needed in the future
The security legislations which allow limited exercise of Japan’s right to collective self-defense went into effect. Although some think that “improvement of defense legislations has been completed,” the legislations still contain many defects in comparison to security legislations of major countries in the world. Continuous improvement of legislations should not be neglected in the future for national security assurance.
Implementation postponed in anticipation of the upper house election
Regrettably, the government is inclined to postpone implementation of the legislations in spite of their entry into force. Implementation of peacetime protection of U.S. vessels and guarding overseas in peace-keeping operations (PKOs) is postposed for the time being in consideration of the election of the House of Councilors.
In the past, the Liberal Democratic Party tried to avoid defense-related controversies during elections, believing that they would put the party in disadvantage. This practice is being repeated this time. However, against the background of tense international situation surrounding Japan including China’s efforts to claim the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, military build-up in the South China Sea and advancement of North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, the defense issue should be actively debated as one of issues for the election.
The Democratic Party has been internally divided over the defense issue since the time of the DPJ. Because of this, the party is incapable of hammering out a sound defense policy. In other words, the defense policy is a weakness of the Democratic Party. The election of the House of Councilors is not just an opportunity to correct misunderstanding on the part of some people who unfoundedly condemn the security legislations as “war legislations.”
As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasizes, the upcoming election of the House of Councilors is a watershed which can determine whether revision of the Japanese Constitution is possible in near future. Since one of the most important issues in revision of the Constitution is Article 9 and establishment of an emergency provision, avoidance of the defense issue will make it difficult to secure two third of votes in the House of Councilors.
The basic policy to maintain safety of Japan is the National Security Strategy formulated at the end of 2013. However, similar to the Basic Policy of National Defense in 1957, the actual defense capability has almost no offensive power. Even after formulation of the new strategy, while the government emphasizes deepening of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, Japan’s dependency on the U.S. military has been increasing.
Under the circumstances, Donald Trump, a real estate business tycoon, is emerging as the most prominent Republican candidate in the U.S. presidential election. It has been widely publicized that Trump has been criticizing Japan for free ride on the U.S. security protection under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Many brush off his statement as a reflection of his eccentric personality.
Nevertheless, it is an alarming fact that many Republicans and Democrats resonate with his rhetoric. Because of such public sentiment, no matter who becomes the next U.S. president, he or she may have to accommodate his rhetoric to a certain extent.
Some express an optimistic view that although the person who occupies the presidency may change the government bureaucrats are unlikely to adopt an eccentric policy. The U.S. government bureaucrats in departments down to division chiefs get replaced as political appointees when a new president comes into the office. The U.S. political system makes policy change much easier than the Japanese system.
Overdependence on another nation is dangerous
Czechoslovakia which was forced to cede Sudetenland to Nazi Germany by Hitler expected support from the United Kingdom and France which were backing the nation. But Czechoslovakia was abandoned by them at the Munich Conference.
It is extremely dangerous for a nation to excessively depend on an alliance with another country for its own national security.