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The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to enact new national security legislation to expand the range of activities that the SDF can engage in overseas. Would you support such a change?

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There are more than enough domestic issues (Fukushima, energy, food, working conditions, debt, inequality, climate change, etc.) the elected officials of this country need to address without wasting their time deliberating on and enacting new national security legislation. It seems the real purpose of this is to divert the public's attention from the failing of governance and to stream public money for the profits of the military industry.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

As long as it were done carefully, yes. Of course Japan isn't going to suddenly start buying offensive weapons, training marines, eliminating the longtime measures like shortening the range of their fighters (which Japan alone does -- Korea and China do not take any steps like this).

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I would encourage (and limit overseas involvement to) active participation in the UN's PKO - including defending other nations' blue helmets as (infrequently) required - like other nations with a fraction of Japan's military spending do.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I would support it yes. The West needs all the help it can get with dealing with the huge problems we have in this world today. Japan also has very experienced and capable disaster relief teams that can be deployed more effectively with military help.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I think, if at all possible, Japan should keep to itself militarily. But...

I'm not opposed to strengthening and building the military. Anything can happen in this day and age, and Japan should not be caught surprised when it happens. Japan can't depend on America. Offer incentives for joining the military or becoming a reserve. Increase soldiers' salaries and offer more benefits: free or subsidized education for military service, better medical insurance/coverage, life insurance, etc.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Peter Payne: ... Of course Japan isn't going to suddenly start buying offensive weapons, training marines, eliminating the longtime measures like shortening the range of their fighters (which Japan alone does -- Korea and China do not take any steps like this).

Japan shortens the range of its fighters?

Looks like they are planning on changing that, if so.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/japan-prepares-designs-its-next-fighter

Japan Prepares Designs For Its Next Fighter - Nov 21, 2014

Japan is looking at a big, long-range fighter to defeat superior numbers

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Absolutely. Japan needs to start taking its share of the global security burden.

Globalization does not simply mean globalization of the economy. It also means globalization of conflict, and Japan's isolationist, and hypocritical, military policy where it pretends to be pacifist all the while supporting around 50,000 US troops in the country needs to change.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Yes. Particularly if such overseas actions are to protect Taiwan and, if they play nice, SK. Or to take down 'lil Kim for giggles.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

No. Why should Japan spend more money it does not have. Hello Abe? Bubble popped decades ago, or did no one tell you and your rich buddies? Japan does not have any money for your egoistic nonsense.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Society has it's flows, remembers it's history, yet subjects itself to immense money spending(wasting) on army that it does not need? One can surely build more tanks and chopper to eradicate other people, or instead one can build more schools and hospitals to protect his people. Japan is neither at war, nor it is close to one. If anything, "USA" should protect Japan, as it states itself.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Lets become a part of the world. I want Japan to become much more open to new ideas and foreign influence. This a part of that. They cant isolate themselves forever.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As an exports driven nation, Japan could help out more battling pirates on ship lanes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This will only cause the death of more Japanese people.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

NO! Japan needs to spend its money to defend itself. The USA taxpayer would welcome the idea of removing just 50% of the useless military facilities in Japan. Okinawa is a perfect example. Put the casinos there.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Peter PayneFEB. 16, 2015 - 12:09PM JST As long as it were done carefully, yes.

Details?

Of course Japan isn't going to suddenly start buying offensive weapons, . . .

There is no such thing as a purely defensive weapon.

training marines, . . .

"Marine" is an archaic name for an infantryman that sailed around on warships in the 19th Century. The U.S. Marines don't travel to battle on ships any longer, they fly where they are going. No one "storms" beaches.

eliminating the . . . shortening (of) the range of their fighters (which Japan alone does -- Korea and China do not take any steps like this)

Define long range with regard to jet fighters. Japan's immediate potential foes are N. Korea and the PRC. Neither country is more than 45 minutes away.

dcog9065FEB. 16, 2015 - 12:34PM JST I would support it yes. The West needs all the help it can get with dealing with the huge problems we have in this world today. . .

Which "huge problems"? If you're referring to the mess that the ME and C. and S. Asia are today, that's pretty much something the U.S. and its Nato allies created. Japan's got no dog in that fight and would be advised to stay out of it.

Japan also has very experienced and capable disaster relief teams that can be deployed more effectively with military help.

Disaster relief doesn't need the military to work. The government could acquire heavy lift planes without attaching them to the SDF. Furthermore, given the dithering that went on after both the Kobe and Tohoku disasters, it's questionable whether Japan really is any good at that kind of thing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Counter China's aggression first before talking of engaging in overseas affairs.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The bottom line is that Japan already doesn't have enough young people to serve its basic functions in the future. Now they want to send them off to die in foreign countries?

Words cannot express the idiocy operating here.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There is no way Japan can defend itself if it's soldiers have no real experience. They will just died in the field. Japans soldiers are like the Samurai after 200 years of Tokugawa, they were Samurai in name only.

But not sure what Abe's real aim is.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This is crazy, Japan's prosperity comes from not wasting so much money on defense

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I voted yes but on condition that they DON'T go acting upon it just to please their "allies" (as Jeff Huffman says). But when push comes to shove, they should have the legal grounds to allow for necessary actions to be taken to defend their sovereignty.

@ka_chan There is no way Japan can defend itself if it's soldiers have no real experience. They will just died in the field. Japans soldiers are like the Samurai after 200 years of Tokugawa, they were Samurai in name only.

You mean those guys that went on to win the first Sino-Japanese and consequent Russo-Japanese wars? With your logic 98% of the world's armies wouldn't be able to defend themselves. Or are you implying that Japanese people are somehow different from other people? @DanielJP Japan spends tonnes of money on defense, paid to the US of A and their military industrial complex. If payments are going to be made regardless, doesnt it make more economic sense for Japan to re-route those payments domestically so that money can in-turn be spent domestically?

@ people who say Japan should be concentrating on domestic issues like Fukushima and the economy

Like Lostrune2 says, protecting the sealanes through which Japan imports their energy sources and exports their products seems to fall into this criteria.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

F4HA604FEB. 20, 2015 - 05:25PM JST You mean those guys that went on to win the first Sino-Japanese and consequent Russo-Japanese wars? With your logic 98% of the world's armies wouldn't be able to defend themselves. Or are you implying that Japanese people are somehow different from other people?

You are describing a different people in a different time. China lacked a strong central government then, Hong Kong and Shanghai were controlled by foreigners and there were revolts in far-flung provinces. Russia was nearly as hapless, on the verge of revolution and trying to fight a war from what was essentially a frontier outpost. At the time of the Sino-Japanese War, industrially Japan was already decades ahead of China and the equal of Russia.

In time, Japan could develop a capable offensive fighting force, but to what end?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is a very simple calculus, and one has to question whether Abe and Aso have actually attempted to make this calculation. Basically, Japan must, it is absolutely essential, make peace with China and Korea. What Japan has now is not peaceful relations with China or Korea. It is a step away from a war with both. This is the reality. It only takes one false move, before JSDF and Korean or Chinese navies are firing surface to surface missiles at each other. It would not take much. One overexcited commander on board one of these ships decides he is in danger and bingo, the genie is out of the bottle. You can't put it back in once that happens.

If we had a PM with some vision, or who actually cared more about Japan than his flaccid ego, he would be reaching out to Korea and China in friendship. This is what a smart leader would do. And it has to be the Japanese that do this. We can't expect the Chinese or the Koreans, after the humiliations they received from Japan in the first half of the 20th century, actions which Japan still refuses to atone for, out of sheer, bloody-minded arrogance, and possibly narcissism, to come with their hats in their hands asking for Japan to be friends with them.

The ball is in Japan's court. But Japan's leaders care more about their egos, than what is good for Japan. Japan would not look week by opening up good relations with China and Korea, it would look mature and like a real global leader. The problem is that Japan has no examples, from the political world, of real global statesmen. All Japanese leaders have been small island people, incapable of looking beyond their own shores.

When Japan makes peace with China and Korea, and actually tries to discuss the islands and other issues, the tension vanishes. No need for the US military presence, no need for a defence against China or Korea, neithe of which are in any way a military threat to Japan. Kills three birds with ones stone.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

NO, Japan needs to kneel to China. China will take good care of Japan and this will happen eventually anyway since already the plans are in motion but people don't know.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

NO! The US just wants to use Japan to fight its wars becuase they can't afford it anymore. Also, according to a group of retired generals, Americans are too fat to fight.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As much as this should be future target, there is no need for Japan to start deliberating on this. There are more pressing issues here at home and unless these are attended to, no need to spend more on other things that are not priorities now. But surely the future will require Japan to step up SDF beyond the current limits

2 ( +2 / -0 )

China is the most powerful country in Asia now and Japan is a kind of also ran, hasbeen country with no future. All Abe and his buddies can do is make Japan more a little sidekick for the US. Japan has no power. If it was neutral and did not become a sidekick for the US or China it could become a real power, but Japan's leaders lack vision. They are just good at being yes-men for the US. And if the US loses power they will be yes-boys for China, I guess.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Jeff Huffman

At the time of the Sino-Japanese War, industrially Japan was already decades ahead of China and the equal of Russia.

Absolutely incorrect. Like really really bad dude.

Even with some major port cities in foreign hands, the Qing still had more money, more international favor, and were better equipped. Go look up the battle of the yellow sea and read who had what ships and military advisors from what country.

As for Imperial Russia, they were practically the land based super power then, top contender against England who was top dog as a naval super power. Furthermore, you have your time-line confused, Bolshevism spread as a result of the Russ-Japanese war.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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