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If security bills that would allow Japan to use its Self-Defense Forces to defend an ally are passed in the Diet, do you think Japan would be compelled to fight a war alongside the U.S.?

53 Comments

With bills under debate in the Diet that would allow Japan to use its Self-Defense Forces to defend an ally, do you think Japan would be compelled to fight a war alongside the U.S.?

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Defending an ally is one thing, fighting a war is something totally different. These questions should be separated as Japan has other allies besides the US.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

When we see the coffins coming home someday, perhaps apathetic Japanese, particularly the young, will rethink things.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The question is odd. It's not a matter of opinion. It's a simple fact that Japan would be compelled to fight along with the US at some point. The fight may or may not be in Japan's best interests.

With America growing weaker, and China growing stronger, Japan absolutely must come to some kind of terms with China. Ironically though, Japan needs unflinching US military backing at this point to have any real power at the negotiating table.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Since japan already has the means to defend itself, getting hands-on involved in America's wars seems to me the whole reason for these new laws and the 'reinterpretation' of the constitution. And what jcapan said. The people making the laws who are so keen for a part of the action are not the people whose necks will be put on the line when the action starts.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Realistically-speaking, I sincerely doubt if the U.S. went to war and Japan decided to aid that the Japanese would be held to a high standard. Heck... Every military in the world heavily pales in comparison to the U.S. in everything except troop numbers. The U.S. would be doing ALL the heavy lifting, and Japan would take a support role in some capacity - in what way, who knows.

Overall, I suppose Japan doesn't have to sign the bill. But geo-politically speaking, maybe that would make the Japanese look weak. Not that that matters anyway, as of right now Japan's military is pathetically weak. Even if they did sign the bill, they couldn't contribute any noticeable strength militarily.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

There is another possibility that isn't mentioned in the question:

That the US will get Japan to fight INSTEAD of them.

Because of its massive debts to China, it would be very difficult for the U.S.A. to do anything openly aggressive against China. But it could get the puppy dog to do it for them.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I agree with BertieWooster, and I would that the US has a habit of entering major wars when the two sides have already become weakened by prolonged fighting. So they might get Japan and China to fight, and then come in later as the hero.

Anyway, if it's a war initiated by the US, I hope Japan stays out of it. Recent American wars have been based on lies, the US was clearly in the wrong. One could argue that all wars have been like that, but the more recent ones are much more obvious. Japan getting involved would only tarnish it's reputation as a peaceful country.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

An LDP PM would definitely fall for the type of mendacious enterprise that Tony Blair swallowed - standing shoulder-to-shoulder with George Bush - and open another Pandora's Box.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

As Yubaru posted defending allies and fighting a war is completely two different things. Unfortunately the minority parties would mix the two in an argument to try to sway the people.

As for coffins, although not reported JSDF had their share of causalities during the various on going PKF and Humanitarian missions that they had participated in the past decade.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

US is in a state of permanent war (defence industry interests etc), so it would only be a matter of time before Japanese guys started dying in battle. With the declining population, we cannot waste our boys on such nonsense as US wars.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Let me expound on the point of war here, if the US get's into a war somewhere across the globe, let's say the Middle-East, then I personally think no, not just no but hell no, Japan should stay out of it, but if the war is with North Korea, that's a different story, and each is a case-by-case decision.

It's not so easy to answer with a blanket yes or no. Each situation is different and each should be handled as such.

That being said Japan should stay the heck out of the middle-east, even in support roles, as they have managed so far to avoid being directly targeted by terrorists, yet I fear that would change if they took a more active part in the ongoing operations.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Obviously yes. The Spanish, Greeks, Germans and Italians are all permitted to use their soldiers to defend allies and that's why we saw them all on the front lines in Iraq and Vietnam, shoulder to shoulder with the tin foil brigade and the 9/11 truthers.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

We all the same ideologies, but not the same view when it comes to war. For Japan being obligated to fight with the U.S. should be no different than other countries around the world.

Why should Japan be obligated?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sure, let's get the politicians and defense ministers in their finest gear-good luck out there!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't think any time in the near future because there's no military forces as we usually understand it. The members of the Self Defence Forces are not troops but "special civil servants" who can resign by giving a months notice.

Any sign of a war and these troops will be mass resigning. The current forces don't have the hardware to go into a war. For 70 years Japan has been at peace and lacks any fighting experience so how many American troops would want to into a war or battle with other troops lacking experience.

@Bertie

Because of its massive debts to China, it would be very difficult for the U.S.A. to do anything openly aggressive against China. But it could get the puppy dog to do it for them.

If there were a hostile situation between America and China, America would not even care about the $1 trillion foreign debt held by China? Not even part of any real time equation.

It will take a lot more than the introduction of a secret security bill to make anything of it. PM Abe should be thinking why there as been peace for the past 70 years and steer the boat in that direction and not into dangerous unknown seas.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Zichi,

PM Abe should be thinking why there as been peace for the past 70 years and steer the boat in that direction and not into dangerous unknown seas.

Agreed. He should be. The problem with Abe is that he is stuck in some romantic image of glory and needs to find out where the real world is, where and when he is in relation to it and only then would he be able to steer the boat in the direction of peace.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I say no because the proposal is to defend an ally - to me that means SK or Australia, NZ, etc should they come under attack... not toddle off to some middle eastern backwater to be sacrificed so American soldiers don't need to be.

I honestly don't think it means fighting alongside allies in a far off war... that's not defending an ally.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Agreed. He should be. The problem with Abe is that he is stuck in some romantic image of glory and needs to find out where the real world is, where and when he is in relation to it and only then would he be able to steer the boat in the direction of peace.

If you agree with Zichi, then you are contradicting yourself when it comes to the US Military in Japan.

It has been because of the presence of the US in Japan that Japan has had peace for the last 70 years. You can not accept the one without the other.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Bertie

Well PM Abe won't be going to war and I seriously doubt many citizens will too!

Yubaru

Probably a combination of both, the Article 9 of the Constitution and the presence of the US troops but had there been no Article 9 would the US have prevented Japan attacking say, North Korea on its own?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

No, because even if the bills are passed the Supreme Court judges will surely find a pair amongst them to strike down the bills as unconstitutional. Well, that is my earnest but rather forlorn hope. Otherwise, it won't only be Japanese soldiers as casualties, it will be the freedoms and ways of life of the Japanese people which these very bills are said, by Abe, to be protecting.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

In the 70 years since the United States Military has been in Japan they have fought 5 major wars and they used their bases in Japan to fight these wars. Japan actually participated in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars but not in a combat role and the only reason was because of Article 9. If not for Article 9 there would have been a very good chance that Japan would have had combat troops in Afghanistan and Japan. These security bills that the LDP and Komeito are forcing on the country are meant to make it easier to circumvent Article 9.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yubaru,

It has been because of the presence of the US in Japan that Japan has had peace for the last 70 years.

You are entitled to hold your own opinion.

Let us, since you demand it, be more precise.

What I agree with in Zichi's statement was that Abe should be steering his ship of state in the direction of peace. Whether the U.S.A. of the 50's and 60's was the reason for Japan's peace or not, the U.S.A. of TODAY doesn't seem to have much interest in peace.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan has been at peace for 70 years after the deadly suffering and defeat in WWII because the Japanese people wanted peace and war never again.

These security bills that the LDP and Komeito are forcing on the country are meant to make it easier to circumvent Article 9.

But how will PM Abe find the troops to build a military? It takes hundreds of thousands to even fight a small war. The Japanese youth have no stomach for war unless its just a video game.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

zichi,

The Japanese youth have no stomach for war unless its just a video game.

There is truth in what you say, yet there are crazies everywhere. I can see it appealing to the Bosozoku types.

Also, if they manage to force the TPP through and the economy suffers even more, there will be people who will join up just because there isn't much alternative, as in the poorer parts of the States.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Bertie

There is truth in what you say, yet there are crazies everywhere. I can see it appealing to the Bosozoku types.

I doubt PM Abe will muster up at least 300,000 youth troops even if all Boso types volunteered even with all the right wingers. With the TPP since most of the young people are not working in industries likely to face changes under the TPP, like farming for instance.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I meant to say that if not for Article 9, Japan would have probably had combat troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

@zichi: I understand what you are saying about the Japanese people and their stomach for war and I agree there will probably be resignations and it will be very difficult to recruit once people realize they will see combat but Japan could make a commitment to supply combat troops with what they have now. The U.S. would not expect or want the inexperienced Japanese doing the bulk of the fighting but there are people in the U.S. Govt. who want and expect Japan to take a combat role. If you remember, Richard Armitage a few years back was screaming at Japan to show the flag and what he meant by that was to put boots on the ground and fight along side the U.S. The U.S. put pressure on Japan to get involved in Desert Storm, which they wound up giving a lot of money to fight that war, and Afghanistan and Iraq in which they committed non-combat troops. The only thing that saved them from sending combat troops was Article 9. It is my opinion that the current Japanese leadership along with the U.S. would like to use these new security bills to bypass Article 9 regardless of what the Japanese people themselves think.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

japan4life

Japanese people have no stomach for war and even more so the Japanese youth since unlike America, Britain and many other countries that have had no experience of it.

Japan could make a commitment to supply combat troops with what they have now.

Japan does not have a single combat trooper. It has special civil servants who can resign with a months notice.

It does not matter what America wants its what the Japanese wants that counts. Even without Article 9 no youth will be lining up to enlist.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I can see it appealing to the Bosozoku types.

You have no idea what a military is if you think for a moment that these bosozoku types qualify. Even the yakuza wouldn't make the cut either.

There is more to creating, maintaining, and keeping a military force ready for combat than just riding around on motorcycles like a bunch of kids and acting like chimpira.

Japan does not have a single combat trooper.

I beg to differ with you here, while yes they are komuin, there are definitely "combat ready" troops within the SDF, dont let any one fool you otherwise.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

BertieWoosterJul. 13, 2015 - 08:29AM JST

Because of its massive debts to China, it would be very difficult for the U.S.A. to do anything openly aggressive against China. But it could get the puppy dog to do it for them.

That means China is vulnerable. The US can topple CCP just by refusing to pay its debt to China. What can China do? Nothing. The consequence to the US is only that it has to print more dollars.

The US has frozen the assets of Iran, Iraq, Russia and so no in the US. It would freeze Chinese assets, eg Chinese holding of US T-notes, as soon as China gets hostile.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I beg to differ with you here, while yes they are komuin, there are definitely "combat ready" troops within the SDF, don't let any one fool you otherwise.

I'll put it another way then. There are no enlisted military troops, they are all special civil servants who could resign at the first cry of a battle call. Combat ready troops who have never seen combat?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'll put it another way then. There are no enlisted military troops, they are all special civil servants who could resign at the first cry of a battle call. Combat ready troops who have never seen combat?

Everyone has a first time, and one must wonder since all their experience with combat is at ridiculously good odds (in fact, within the past 100 years Americans having to fight at so much as even odds is the exception), how well "combat-veteran" American troops will really do the day they have to fight against real opposition is a big question mark.

And while the SDF does allow for easier quitting conditions than regular enlistment, if a force is only sendable to battle by fiat of law, it will probably collapse in battle anyway.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

zichiJul. 13, 2015 - 07:15PM JST

they are all special civil servants who could resign at the first cry of a battle call.

Zichi is sort of right.

Self Defense Force Act

Article 40

The officer who has the authority of allowing resignation of defense force members by article 31 paragraph 1 may postpone allowing the resignation, if so allowing would cause tremendous problem to the operation of Self Defense Force except special provisions apply by Government Ordinance, for the period,

for privates with termed contract, that is necessary within the contract, and

for other personnel, that is necessary at minimum.

They can postpone resignation if they could prove tremendous problem.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'll put it another way then. There are no enlisted military troops, they are all special civil servants who could resign at the first cry of a battle call. Combat ready troops who have never seen combat?

By your logic or way of thinking then there are no officers either. But neither is true. There are "enlisted" and "officers" as well, and while they may all be komuin there are many who are very patriotic and would not run.

You dont understand the term combat troops if you think that a combat ready trooper is only one who has seen combat, that is a fallacy. Even the US Marines, the "spearhead" of the US military had combat ready troops who have never seen combat.

One can and does train for the eventual or potential of combat, and they CAN and ARE made ready for combat without ever having seen it either.

BTW the JSDF often trains with the US military, not only in Japan but in the US as well, and they have and do receive training from combat veterans, as they are US allies. Do not under-estimate the JSDF, most will not run, and will protect their country.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Yubaru

You can't change the fact there are no enlisted military troops even if there are officers, all who joined the Self Defence Forces under those conditions which if changed into an enlisted military you don't know how many would remain in a changed organisation especially one which could be sent into a foreign land war.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The ones in SF like Wair and/or SFGp actually signed up into private military contractor during their off time to train in the ME to gain real combat experience.

As for number of personnel remaining, it probably depends on the circumstances. If it's an invading war probably some would resign since it goes against their beliefs and this actually occurred when Japan decided to go to Iraq a decade a go. On the other hand if it's a defending war I can actually see men and women volunteering to the front line to defend this nation. These people's heart are at the right place only wanting to defend the citizens of this nation and will happily take the extra step in doing so.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You can't change the fact there are no enlisted military troops even if there are officers, all who joined the Self Defence Forces under those conditions which if changed into an enlisted military you don't know how many would remain in a changed organisation especially one which could be sent into a foreign land war.

You are stuck on semantics, the "enlisted" JSF enter typically after HS and are trained as "enlisted", and the officers are for the most part college grads, just like other military forces throughout the world.

You are pulling at straws, and focusing on the maybe, no one knows anything about anything until something happens where they are put into a situation that calls for a choice.

You are assuming they will run, I am giving them the benefit of the doubt, because you nor I know how they will react.....BUT many in the JSDF have experience on UN missions and have trained overseas, I am just sharing with you to not underestimate them, no one can see the future, but I personally know many men and women in the JSDF who are PATRIOTIC and are willing to fight for Japan.

I have trained with JSDF forces many many years ago, and they are just as dedicated to their professions as any in the US military.

BTW the ones who are "enlisted" signed up for the JSDF from HS, or after, and while you suggest they are not "enlisted" they are well in fact such.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yubaru

The self defense forces exist for the defense of the country and their training reflects in their role. The numbers of the SDF are calculated according to those needs which does not include going to war in a foreign country. Conscription in this country would be difficult under Article 16 of the Constitution and probably politically impossible too even though there are about 40 million, male and female, 16-49 who would be considered fit for military duty.

The current numbers of the SDF would have to be more than doubled and the necessary hardware obtained and issued. I know that it's the ambition of the Defence Minister General Nakatani for full rearmament of the country. Just don't think the majority of the people want to see these kind of changes to the country's military standings.

If it comes to defending the country the people will stand up and do just that but wars on foreign soil is a different storyline.

I don't underestimate the SDF and know several members personally, in the navy section.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I surely hope not. The war-mongering USA with its military-industrial complex will try to get Japan into a war, and may even use the latter as fodder or pawn to engage in conflicts started by the US. All the while trying to avoid getting its own hands dirty and profiting in the wars of other nations. Truly despicable. I hope Japan does not go down this path.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Whether Japanese soldiers are well enough trained to fight in a war is not the point... it's whether or not they would be sent off to die in the middle east at the beck and call of the US president. I believe the answer to that is no... the modified article states that they will defend an ally if attacked... that's a different kettle of fish completely. They are still a Defence Force, not Attack Force Z or something. I don't believe Japanese soldiers will fight in an American led war... the population would be against it for a start and Abe would be out of a job as soon as the first body came home.

Japan isn't America... they aren't gung-ho fist-pumping flag-waving jingoists like the Yuu-Ess of Ay... excluding the nuts in the black vans who wouldn't get into a real anyway.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think Japan would participate in any NATO Military Operation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan should not participate in a military operation outside its boundaries. But, it must be ready to repel an invasion that will occur sooner or later. At that time US and OTAN will be very busy trying to do the same in its own territory.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The self defense forces exist for the defense of the country and their training reflects in their role. The numbers of the SDF are calculated according to those needs which does not include going to war in a foreign country. Conscription in this country would be difficult under Article 16 of the Constitution and probably politically impossible too even though there are about 40 million, male and female, 16-49 who would be considered fit for military duty.

And why are you assuming all of this?

The current numbers of the SDF would have to be more than doubled and the necessary hardware obtained and issued. I know that it's the ambition of the Defence Minister General Nakatani for full rearmament of the country. Just don't think the majority of the people want to see these kind of changes to the country's military standings.

This as well?

Glad to see you understand what enlisted means. I do believe you were thinking conscripted.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

PM Abe should be thinking why there as been peace for the past 70 years and steer the boat in that direction and not into dangerous unknown seas.

There's been peace in Japan for 70 years because of the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

had there been no Article 9 would the US have prevented Japan attacking say, North Korea on its own?

It wouldn't have had to, as there was no incentive for Japan to attack North Korea.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan 'may' want to throw a few troops into some of the conflicts with the U.S, but the main reason Abe wants to change the bill is so that Japan can get a slice of the international arms trade. This move is more about money than politics.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

YubaruJul. 14, 2015 - 05:31AM JST

And why are you assuming all of this?

The self defense forces exist for the defense of the country

Article 9 of the Constitution.

The numbers of the SDF are calculated according to those needs which does not include going to war in a foreign country.

Senshu boei or "only for defensive purpose policy" based on Article 9.

Conscriptionin this country would be difficult under Article 16 of the Constitution

Abe Cabinet's interpritation of the Constitution is that conscription is prohibited.

The current numbers of the SDF would have to be more than doubled and the necessary hardware obtained and issued.

This is most likely true. Remember, Abe stated that he wants to protect Japanese "See Lane" from Middle East, through the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Malacca, the South China Sea and the East China Sea to Japan.

Glad to see you understand what enlisted means.

If a soldier can leave or resign at any time, he is not enlisted.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If a soldier can leave or resign at any time, he is not enlisted.

The definition of enlisted is one that is below the rank of officer, that's it, nothing with regards to how they join or how they may quit.

Ya'll are stuck on what you think it means vs what it actually means.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

take it from my grandma who lived in Poland during the invasion of the war in 39, many nations can be your friend and they may even declare war on your behalf, but the idea of co operative defence and implantation is another story, you must have the ability to safe guard your people, because history has shown, that even super powers as your friends may end up powerless to stop a invasion as in my homelands history shows.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Any sign of a war and these troops will be mass resigning

Yeah, and that's when the military draft law is passed. Japanese nationalists can now finally do their patriotic duty as a good Japanese.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Just putting this here...

Japan's post-World War Two constitution bars it from using force to resolve conflicts except in cases of self-defence.

Mr Abe's government has pushed for a change that would revise the laws such that Japan's military would be able to mobilise overseas when these three conditions are met:

. when Japan is attacked, or when a close ally is attacked, and the result threatens Japan's survival and poses a clear danger to people

. when there is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan's survival and protect its people

. use of force is restricted to a necessary minimum

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Thunderbird2

Its pretty funny how so many people, both regular Japanese peeps and JT dwellers, who are so adamantly opposed to "Shuudanteki-Jieiken", have no clue about its scope and tenets.

And when called out they back track to "the terms are too open to interpretation".

Personally I'm opposed to it as well as I think Japan should move toward independence (security wise) from USA for the benefit of both parties in the long term (as opposed to short term benefits).

The uninformed comments by the "slippery slopers" (like "military draft is coming!!" or Japan is headed for war now!) are only tarnishing the credibility of nay sayers on a whole.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think Japan should move toward independence (security wise) from USA

Don't worry, that day is coming, once the national interests of the US and Japan diverge. The US has a real bad habit of encouraging and nurturing Frankenstein monster regimes that grow out of control in due time. I believe China and Japan as two very good examples. What were Americans saying 25 years ago about China when the US decided to do business with China? And now look what's happened, China has become America's biggest enemy. Same thing with Japan, the Americans will regret one day, for supporting and encouraging Abe's version of Japan which will come back and bite the Americans in the behind.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@F4HA604... I'm opposed to the changes too, but rather than just weighing in with more rhetoric I went to find out exactly what the changes are... people just see tabloid headlines and assume it means Japanese soldiers going off to Iraq or Syria at America's side - it isn't. It's about Japanese forces going to protect Japanese people and interests when they are directly endangered by an aggressor attacking an ally.

Nice to see someone else with a cool head on this topic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As someone already said at the beginning of "W" conquest of the Afghanistan and Iraq, "When your son or daughter does not come home, will you still be as enthusiastic?" Japan needs to spend its money on replacing the USA military by assuming total responsibility for military bases, etc. in Japan. Get that done, then think about NK and China and fighting shoulder to shoulder with another nation's forces. The best defense is a great offense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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