By Theodore Shoebat
Japan just recently activated its first marine unit since World War Two, to showcase its recent increase in military capacity.
On Saturday, 1500 soldiers of the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade were activated in a ceremonious demonstration of their firepower and dexterity at a military base in Sasebo on the island of Kyushu.
What is very interesting — and revealing — is that the exercise was a mock battle simulating the taking of an island from invaders. “The Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade will show to the international society our firm resolve to defend our islands,” a senior defense ministry official said during the ceremony, Mainichi reports.
If you know anything about Japan’s current political struggles with China and Russia, you will know that Japan has island disputes with both of these countries. With Russia, Japan has been having a dispute over the Kuril Islands since the Second World War. With China, Japan has a dispute over the Senkaku Islands. With all of these tensions over islands, one can see why the Japanese are doing a mock battle of a retaking of an island. “Given the increasingly difficult defense and security situation surrounding Japan, defense of our islands has become a critical mandate,” Vice Defense Minister Tomohiro Yamamoto said. According to a report from RT:
The marines are the latest addition to Japan’s defense, which has been increasing its military hardware in an effort to deter China. The ARDB unit will primarily defend the country’s remote southwest islands. The new force contains 2,100 marines in total, with this number expected to rise to 3,000.
All of this increasing of the military is contrary to Japan’s post-war constitution, which says in its infamous Article 9 that “Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and 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.”
But, the Japanese nationalist prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, said:
“The time has finally come to tackle constitutional revision, which has been a task since the founding of the party … Let’s stipulate the Self-Defense Forces and put an end to a controversy about violation of the constitution.”
With a force of marines can, in the words of one report from Reuters, “project military force and could, critics warn, be used to threaten Japan’s neighbors.” Grant Newsham, a research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies who helped train Japan’s first amphibious troops as a U.S. Marine Corps colonel liaison officer assigned to the Ground Self Defense Force (GSDF), said that “If Japan put its mind to it, within a year or year and a half it could have a reasonable capability.” Newsham also said that Japan needs a joint navy-army amphibious headquarters from which to coordinate operations. He also said that Japan still needs more amphibious ships to carry troops and equipment. Sources told Reuters that Japan is currently pursuing to get F-35Bs to use from its Izumo and Ise helicopter carriers, or from islands along the East China Sea, a maritime territory over which both Japan and China are contending.
Now thats go back to the American quoted above, Mr. Newsham. I am interested in the think-tank that he researches for, the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies. Lets look at who else was once a part of this think-tank group. Its president was once Takanori Nakajo, a Japanese army officer who fought in the Second World War and who, after the war, became an advisor for Asahi Breweries.
Right on the front page of the official website for the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, there is a statement from Nakajo in which he praises the “Jasmine revolution,” or the revolution that began in Tunisia in 2011, in which President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown, in what commenced the “Arab Spring”:
Several of the long dictatorships in the Middle East and the North Africa have collapsed; the surge of the “Jasmine Revolution” is gradually moving toward the East. The cries of people whose speech had been muzzled and who had been oppressed, were heard in the political world. International society gave them the power of building the way to “freedom”. Although much of their blood was shed, they fought on without a care for their lives in order to realize their dream of a free future.
Why do you think Nakajo says that the revolution that began as the Arab Spring is “moving toward the East”? Its because he is referring to the Arab Spring as a revolution that is rippling towards Japan; he sees Japan as needing a revolution against its own post-war constitution. As Nakajo affirms:
70 years ago, before dawn on December 8, 1941, perceiving a threat to our very survival, our country started a war with the United States of America. The Japanese Imperial Navy surprised the U.S. Pacific Fleet at anchorage at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. … The post-war Japanese Constitution was a creature of the values and historical perceptions of the occupying power. Many positive elements of Japanese history, culture and education were ignored in the blanket condemnation that followed in the wake of defeat. Article 9 of the Constitution denied the national right to maintain an army, a navy and an air force; amendment of that article has proven to be difficult in the extreme.
Not only is Nakajo justifying Japan’s war against the United States, he is pushing for a revolt against Japan’s post-war constitution. So, it is obvious that this think-tank, the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, is a lobbyist group for Japanese militarism. Newsham, like the Japanese nationalists in government, is in favor of Abe’s reforms against Article 9 and for “collective self defense,” saying: “The plain language of Article 9 barely allows Japan to have a police force. By any measure, the JSDF is a military and able to use force and violence if ordered to do so.”Just as the US government was behind the Arab Spring, it is also behind the militarism of Japan, backing and encouraging its move to increase defense, making one wonder if the Arab Spring, and the Asia Spring, are all part of the same conspiracy.