politics

Japan to dispatch SDF to Strait of Hormuz instead of joining U.S.-led coalition

35 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi

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35 Comments
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If japan bought the oil, regardless of who’s country flag is transporting it, they have a right to defend what is theirs. That I believe would fall under the constitution, self defense for property. Why not? Like protecting your land from a hostile takeover, same thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

dougthehead

@zichi

I think it was three times. The first in 1966, the second in 1973 and the third in 1978. All the sentences were favorable to the government's theses.

ok! thanks for the learning, and the correction.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@zichi

I think Article 9 of the constitution has never been tested in the supreme court.

I think it was three times. The first in 1966, the second in 1973 and the third in 1978. All the sentences were favorable to the government's theses.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think Article 9 of the constitution has never been tested in the supreme court.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Heckleberry

Shinzo is violating the Japanese Constitution. Not many Japanese will care though, as most Japanese are politically passive, even submissive.

Not Shinzo. The whole government including part of the National Diet. This is not about disobeying Article 9 or not. The underlying problem is that this Constitutional Article was written in 1946. And today it is becoming too obsolete. It needs urgent reform now.

If it has not been reformed, it is because the opposition parties have deliberately blocked any attempt to update it. And in the face of this systematic and irrational blockade of these parties in the Diet. The Japanese government has no choice but to systematically disobey the existence of this article. Taking Article 9 to a wet paper.

Whoever believes that Article 9 saves Japan from war. I am sorry to tell you that you are totally wrong.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Chip Star

Wow, given these aren't Japanese vessels being protected, Abe and his cabinet are really stretching the definition of Article 9. Next, they be doing freedom of navigation patrols through the South China Sea.

The world is changing very rapidly. And unfortunately for the worse. Article 9 is becoming too obsolete. Japan has no alternative but to disobey its application for reasons of force majeure.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

United we win, divided all loose. Iran wants it that way, they have already won the first challenge, ie splitting existing alliances.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hundreds of Japanese owned ships are run and managed by foreign companies and they are registered thru ports of convenience, meaning countries asking for a cheap registration fee in return of using their flag. In order to recognize to which country a ship is registered is as simple as taking a look at the stern of the ship. Just below the name of the ship, welded the name of country to which it is registered like Panama, Monrovia, Greece, etc. and during daytime, a flag is also hanging from the pole. Judging from this, the attackers have no way of knowing if the ship is of Japanese origin. Unlike the Japanese flagship which is known to be neutral, they are prone to Iranian attack thus the reason why the Japanese government sends the SDF to the region. As the SD initial implies, it is in self defense of these ship and to escort them while in transit in Straight of Hormuz. Maybe some unrelated ship might find their solace in the convoy but protecting other ships is not the main objective here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan's energy needs rely heavily on oil ... (and nucs)

at least they did not dismantle solar when govt changed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nice picture of the Kaga here. Named after the great old WWII carrier.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Good for Japan. I think the last time one of its tankers was attacked, US "intelligence" took over the investigation and ignored what the Japanese had to say. I doubt Japan wants to be in some US run "coalition" and have no say over anything. Even so, plenty of sheninigans going on in that area and its not Iran stoking the flames.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

sorry... meant to type ..."an invidious position"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

After having a Japanese tanker attacked by a missile the same day a diplomatic visit to Iran was happening, (which Iran denied it did... then who attacked the tanker I wonder...) I, therefore, can understand the importance of Japan protecting its interests.

However, obviously there are other clandestine parties who do want to trigger an attack on Iran, on invidious position for Japan, damned either way.

Many say the way forward is hydrogen power, that will take a long time to achieve...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nice and about time. More than 90% of the US base civilians are local nationals, so this makes it much easier to pull out as the US moves its business interests out of Japan too. No need to keep our troops here any longer or a contingency. Of course that's still a bit off but a move in the right direction.

ref: "We won't join the United States, but will cooperate closely with them," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news briefing. "Self Defense Force assets will ensure the safety of vessels related to Japan. and has been reluctant to join forces with Washington in the Middle East because it maintains close diplomatic and economic ties with Iran.

Seems the choice has been made already on which side they choose. Time to go finally coming. Took them long enough.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Abe can't sell the idea of joining in a US naval coalition to the voters, so he's doing the next best thing - from his perspective.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Wow, given these aren't Japanese vessels being protected, Abe and his cabinet are really stretching the definition of Article 9. Next, they be doing freedom of navigation patrols through the South China Sea.

kind of a strange scenario could develop if a Japanese vessel was attacked. The JDSF can return fire? Seems outside the domestic territory of Japan. What meaning does the constitution have? Its kind of like, in the US the 2nd amendment is sacrosanct only because its written as one of the original declarations, therefore cannot be changed (or almost impossible too) In Japans case, the constitution..is obeyed on a case by case or situation bases? Really weird.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Abe's decision to send naval support for "relevant" shipping but not actually join the US presence there is surely the most sensible move for Japan. It will both discourage those who are attacking the vessels from doing so, but at the same time minimise the chances of being drawn into any precipitous or irrational action against Iran or other pa that Trump might well initiate.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

"We won't join the United States, but will cooperate closely with them,"

So, on paper, Japan won't be joining the US, to please an oil supplier.

But, in actuality, they will be joining the US, to please a trading partner.

They're having their rice cake and eating it too.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

It looks to me like this is just a back door to joining the US coalition. Abe can't say NO to Trump.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Heavier investment in research regarding alternative energy.

You can say the same for every single country. Japan has very limited natural resources.

The investment for alternative energy was nuclear energy and had the disaster not happened it would have continued to expand and reached about 50% of total power generated. I think is was an error to build nuclear reactors in a country which experiences so many powerful disasters or at least they should have been built safer enough to survive those disasters.

Until recently, there have been very few alternatives to using fossil fuel cars and other vehicles. There are new futures which the Japanese car manufacturers are quickly moving toward it

Part of the expansion of the nuclear industry was because of the oil crisis in the 1970's.

If Japan lost 50% of its oil and LNG supplies because of what is happening in the Middle East it would cause major economic damage to the country leading to suffering of the people.

Every country should be striving to find alternatives to fossil fuels, especially oil. Oil is 44% of total energy imported.

There is a Japanese merchant navy mostly manned by foreigners. There are other ships supplying oil and LNG to the country. I think given the current situation in the Gulf, the SDF guiding and protecting those ships is an act of self defense.

SDF guided merchant ships are less likely to be attacked by countries like Iran. There is no likelihood of Japan invading a Middle East country. Guiding its ships and shipping is acceptable but anything further would not be.

Japan sent troops to Sudan has part of the UN peace keeping force.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Japan has not been part of any military actions in the Middle East or any other region. They have been merchants buying essential supplies like oil and LNG gas.

It supplied oil to the US military.

Supplying fuel to the US military means Japan has been part of the military actions in the Middle East. I'm not sure how you can say otherwise, but I'm willing to hear you out because you have demonstrated a vast knowledge and reasonableness on these threads.

How do you think Japan could have transited from using oil, mostly for use in vehicles during the past 70 years. 

Heavier investment in research regarding alternative energy.

The involvement of Japan in the Middle East is very small compared with America and the European countries.

Agreed.

Protecting its shipping interests is self defense.

To me, protecting its ships is self defense. When we start allowing countries to protect a nebulous concept as "its interests," we get things like the US invading Iraq and putting troops in Syria.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Japan has not been part of any military actions in the Middle East or any other region.

but then...

The involvement of Japan in the Middle East is very small compared with America and the European countries. Protecting its shipping interests is self defense.

Self defense is still military action, not to mention the support provided to allied coalitions.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

This isn't accurate. Japan has been buying oil and not transitioning away from it quickly enough. Also, Japan provided logistical support to the US for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Japan has not been part of any military actions in the Middle East or any other region. They have been merchants buying essential supplies like oil and LNG gas.

It supplied oil to the US military.

How do you think Japan could have transited from using oil, mostly for use in vehicles during the past 70 years. Alternative technology like EV's has only become a possibility in recent years and the fossil fuel car will remain with us for some years.

Gas was made from coal before the import of LNG. There are no alternatives at the moment to replacing LNG.

But I agree that the country should be doing more to increase the use of renewable energy which is capable of suppling 20-30% of total power generated.

Japan made the decision to use nuclear energy and we all know that story.

The involvement of Japan in the Middle East is very small compared with America and the European countries. Protecting its shipping interests is self defense.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Unlike a military, members of the SDF are special civil servants and are able to resign and leave. I guess f they are abroad a ship at sea they would have to wait until it returns to its port.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Japan has played no part over the past 70 years in causing the current situation in the Middle East.

This isn't accurate. Japan has been buying oil and not transitioning away from it quickly enough. Also, Japan provided logistical support to the US for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Japanese ships and ships carrying essential supplies to the country from the volatile region need the protection of the SDF's

While I agree, it is simply contrary to Article 9.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

For 80 years (think 1939 with the US oil and gas embargo triggering - some say - Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor) Japan's fossils-in-chief have known their country is dependent on oil producing nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, US and Russia to supply fossil fuels to keep the economy at pace with other leading nations.

But instead of finding ways to better conserve energy and instead of developing ways to reduce the country's dependence on foreign nations, the fossils in business and government have opted to keep the fossil economy.

How many of the fossil's family members will be involved in the SDF activities?

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Japan has played no part over the past 70 years in causing the current situation in the Middle East. Japanese ships and ships carrying essential supplies to the country from the volatile region need the protection of the SDF's. Not joining a coalition is correct decision.

This also happened when the Somali pirates were illegally taking ships for ransom.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Iran is a great nation, and Japan has never had any problem with them, unlike The West. Taking military action against Iran as the USA will do may not be the smartest move for coalition nations.

Words fail me at just how out of touch that statement is. Just a thought, visit Iran... try to get some medication, any medication (cold, flu, headache) let us know how amazing their hospital and healthcare system is. Then see how wealthy their military leaders, government leaders (especially the Khamenei) and their relatives are compared to the average Iranian citizen. Then when and if you try to come back, let us know how easy it was to get out of the country without having to pay bribes to corrupt law enforcement or government officials (unless their government thinks they can get some ransom off of you...)

7 ( +17 / -10 )

Japan can guarantee protection of all her ship

Try re-reading the article so you can see the error here.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Excellent decision by PM Abe and His Cabinet. Japan can guarantee protection of all her ships, while maintaining excellent relations with Iran. Iran is a great nation, and Japan has never had any problem with them, unlike The West. Taking military action against Iran as the USA will do may not be the smartest move for coalition nations.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

Good for them, smart move

Yeah! Never mind the constitution; it's just a piece of paper.

The Kaga is a beautiful vessel.

0 ( +15 / -15 )

Japan is just protecting its own interests. As it did against the Somali pirates.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Abe and his cabinet are really stretching the definition of Article 9.

Shinzo is violating the Japanese Constitution. Not many Japanese will care though, as most Japanese are politically passive, even submissive.

Shinzo-kun risks drawing the ire of his master the USA with this move however, and he might need to agree to buy more corn Japan doesn't need.

-2 ( +16 / -18 )

Good for them, smart move

2 ( +16 / -14 )

"Self Defense Force assets will ensure the safety of vessels related to Japan."

Wow, given these aren't Japanese vessels being protected, Abe and his cabinet are really stretching the definition of Article 9. Next, they be doing freedom of navigation patrols through the South China Sea.

1 ( +16 / -15 )

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