Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sonno Jo I

Revere The Emperor, Expel The Barbarian.  This was the rallying cry of the daimyo who overthrew the Tokugawa Shogunate, returning the Emperor of Japan to a more prominent political presence in the Japanese polity.  Of course, the end result was the entrenchment of the opening to the west that the Tokugawa Shogunate started.

However, the sentiment is back in Japanese politics.  The recently elected Shinzo Abe is not putting up with the Red Chinese.  His election slogan was ”We Will Take Back Japan.” Shockingly similar to the Satsuma and Choshu daimyos' imperial restoration slogan. 

Via Meadia July 18, 2013
We Will Take Back Japan
On Sunday Japan’s Parliament will hold upper house elections, and the ruling party of nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to win comfortably. If that’s the case, it will be a strong endorsement of his policies in the eight months since he assumed office. Those policies—a stronger military and a more nationalist, more antagonistic foreign policy than anything seen in previous administrations, plus a bold economic stimulus program—have been very popular so far. Support for a stronger military continues to grow...
Emphasizing the shift in defense policy, Abe visited two remote islands in Okinawa Prefecture this week. He told coast guard officers: ”I intend to lead the way in efforts to protect our territorial land, water and sky till the very end.” He recently posed for photos in a tank and fighter jet. His party’s mantra in the lead-up to Sunday’s election is ”We Will Take Back Japan.” An unnamed senior source told Reuters today that Japanese exploration ships will operate “right up to the median line” in response to a Chinese plan to explore disputed areas in the East China Sea.

Abe's slogan though sounds more like the national slogan adopted after the restoration, fukoku kyōhei, strong army, strong country, when the ruling daiymo realized that the samurai spirit would not be sufficient when confronted with ironclads and Maxim guns.

And the Japanese have realized that they need a stronger military.

Fox News August 6, 2013
Japan Unveils New Carrier-Like Warship, Largest In Navy Since WWII
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN –  Japan on Tuesday unveiled its biggest warship since World War II, a huge flat-top destroyer that has raised eyebrows in China and elsewhere because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier.
The ship, which has a flight deck that is nearly 820 feet long, is designed to carry up to 14 helicopters. Japanese officials say it will be used in national defense -- particularly in anti-submarine warfare and border-area surveillance missions -- and to bolster the nation's ability to transport personnel and supplies in response to large-scale natural disasters, like the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Though the ship -- dubbed "Izumo" -- has been in the works since 2009, its unveiling comes as Japan and China are locked in a dispute over several small islands located between southern Japan and Taiwan. For months, ships from both countries have been conducting patrols around the isles, called the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyutai in China.

At a time when India and China are in a carrier race, it is good that the Japanese realize their national existence is threatened.  While the Indians and Chinese are dependent on Russia for their carrier and other naval technology, Japan is rapidly re-developing their indigenous shipbuilding capacity.  The next step for the Japanese is the relaunch of their fixed-wing carrier fleet, a necessary step as the Russo-Indo-Sino policy is to build ski-launch type carriers, which are markedly inferior to American catapult based carriers, even the conventional powered Kitty Hawk class, much less the Nimitz or Ford class super carriers.  Japan is taking its first steps and needs to realize that it must, if it wants to maintain its national identity, to lead the carrier arms race.

And it appears that the humiliation of the Second World War has reached it nadir in Japan and it is climbing back to its rightful status as a world power.

Asahi Shinbum August 5, 2013
Abe’s Advisory Panel To Urge Lifting Of Ban On Collective Self-Defense
A private advisory panel to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will recommend Japan lift its self-imposed ban on the right to collective self-defense, as well as the use of force to protect other nation's troops in U.N. peacekeeping operations, by broadening the government's interpretation of the Constitution.
Under the interpretation, Japan possesses the right to collective self-defense, but cannot exercise it since it exceeds the limits on the use of its military.
“The current government interpretation is so narrow that it bans even what the Constitution does not ban,” said Shunji Yanai, chairman of the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security and a former ambassador to the United States, on a Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) TV program on Aug. 4. “The Constitution allows Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. To participate in U.N.-led collective security activities is Japan’s duty.”
The private panel was set up by Abe in 2007 during his first run as prime minister to examine four categories of collective self-defense and U.N.-led collective security activities: (1) repelling attacks against a U.S. fleet on the open sea; (2) intercepting ballistic missiles fired toward the United States; (3) using weapons to safeguard units of other countries engaged in joint U.N. peacekeeping operations; and (4) providing a wider range of logistic support to other nations for peacekeeping operations.

The infamous no war clause in the post-war constitution was the only major error that General Douglas MacArthur made while regent in Japan.  As war is just politics by other means, this placed Japan at a disadvantage in East Asia in the post war years.  No other country in that region ever rejected war as a national policy.  This rebounded only the benefit of the Soviet Union and now Red China.  Borders and war are both policies that nations need to survive in the real world.  It is good to see that the Japanese are returning to the aircraft carrier and to war.  Collective self-defense is just a first step, as is a helicopter "destroyer."

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