econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 29 December 2015

Japan's Government Has Politicised A Generation With Its Militarism

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Oana Burcu, University of Nottingham

As the Japanese government continues to press ahead with controversial changes to its "peaceful constitution", it continues to fuel domestic protests and fails to get full endorsement from the members of its own ruling party. Prioritising foreign policy while dismissing domestic opposition is hardly a wise course, and Shinzo Abe's government seems not to have fully anticipated the political risks.

Trouble has been brewing for a while, but rose to a new level in the summer of 2014 when a man self-immolated in Tokyo in June 2014 to protest the reinterpretation of Article 9, which was intended to renounce war permanently.

In the 18 months or so since that astonishing incident, Japan has seen a groundswell of student-led social protests in the name of democracy and peace - but the government has pressed on with its programme of militarising Japan's foreign policy.

In September 2015 scuffles broke out in Parliament after another law that could let troops fight overseas for the first time since 1945 was pushed through.

That's a true phenomenon in a country long known for its youth's political apathy. Protests have been drawing crowds as large as 120,000 people, and have fostered the growth of organised opposition groups.

Rise up

One such organisation is Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALD). It originally emerged in the row over the 2013 state secrecy bill, under which penalties were toughened for journalists and whistle-blowers disclosing sensitive information. When the Article 9 debate began, the group started organising weekly protests at landmarks across Tokyo.

So far these public protests are falling on deaf ears. Not only are the requests being dismissed, but the social movement in itself does not seem to mean much for the LDP government.

Chief cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, PM Abe's spokesman, condescendingly played down the protests of August 30 2015, the largest seen so far, stating that the turnout was attributable to a mere misunderstanding of the legislation.

A glimpse of things to come? Reuters/Issei Kato

This response seems surprising given the memories of the 1960 demonstrations, the largest in post-WWII history, in which millions of people across Japan opposed the revision of the US-Japan security treaty on the grounds that it could lead to further war. Ultimately, the US-Japan alliance was further strengthened and Japan's voluntary military, the Self-Defense Forces, was also established.

The social movement ended with violent clashes between protesters and police forces, and it's often cited as one of the factors that led to the resignation of Abe's grandfather, Prime Minsiter Nobusuke Kishi.

In contrast, the current protests are peaceful, but the effect of the public disapproval is clearly reflected in the dipping public support for the government. After a summer of protests, Abe's government rate of approval dropped from 51% to 43%, according to a Japan's national broadcast (NHK) poll.

Wrong track

It's not hard to see why the government has stirred up such anger, since it has poor form on public relations in this area going back some years. In August 2013 the Japanese deputy PM and Finance Minister, Taro Aso, made the truly outrageous proposition that Japan should learn lessons from the Nazi regime's surreptitious tactic of changing the constitution in the wake of World War I.

In a speech given at an ultra-conservative meeting, he stated: "Doing it quietly, just as in one day the Weimar constitution changed to the Nazi constitution without anyone realising it, why don't we learn from that sort of tactic?"

Such statements are not only offensive, but make a mockery of democracy - and two years on, despite mounting protests and a marked decline in the government's political legitimacy, the gap between the public and the governing party is not narrowing.

Recent polls indicate that 75% of LDP members believe "there is no hurry" for pushing through the constitutional revision, compared with 34% who believe "it should be achieved as soon as possible". More LDP members are still not convinced that Article 9 should be modified at all; 43% of the respondents said Article 9 should not be changed, while only 37% support a revision.

The Japanese government clearly has put the domestic dimension of its newly militaristic foreign policy to the back of its mind, preferring to concentrate on the military threat from China. That's been particularly welcomed by the US in particular, but also by Australia and other southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam, who are deeply worried about what they see as China's brazen territorial expansion.

With this international blessing and a strong base of conservative supporters, Japan's government will continue to forge ahead with its foreign policy despite major opposition from within its own party and public. But by dismissing domestic criticism while using legal legerdemain to carve out a new security strategy, it's chipping away at the rule of law and the democratic values on which Japan prides itself.

The ConversationOana Burcu, PhD Researcher in International Relations, University of Nottingham

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Contributors


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Are You Feeling the Economic Surge?
Big Mess in Italy
News Blog
Earnings And Economic Reports: Week Starting 05 December 2016
Early Headlines: Green Pty Cancels - Then Appeals PA Recount, IRS Serves Summons On Bitcoin Co, Most Mfg Jobs Lost To Automation, 2017 US Hosing Outlook And More
The Smartphone Market Is Not A Two-Horse Race
Italy's Referendum: What's At Stake And What You Need To Know
There Were Over A Million Casualties At The Somme
The Best Countries In The World
What We Read Today 03 December 2016 - Public Edition
Big Mac Index In Its 30th Year
What We Read Today 03 December 2016
Scientists Find Giant Underground Ice Reserve On Mars
Sustained 3 To 4% GDP Growth Is A Huge Stretch
New Earthquake Risk Model Confirms Possibility Of Statewide Earthquake In California
Subprime Auto Debt Grows Despite Rising Delinquencies
Investing Blog
How To Invest When The Fed Destroys Capitalism
Technical Thoughts: Manage Risk
Opinion Blog
Why Did Trump Win? A Different Perspective, Part 3
Jobs Without Disruptions Through Concordian Economics
Precious Metals Blog
Silver Prices Rebounded Today: Where They Are Headed
Live Markets
02Dec2016 Market Close: WTI Crude Climbed Back Up To Previous 51 Handle, US Dollar Index Trading At The100 Level, Oil Rig Count At 10-Month High
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government



Crowdfunding ....






























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved