Early this month, a commission of experts is due to submit a report to Japan’s new Prime Minister Naoto Kan, recommending an overhaul of Japan’s foreign and defense policies.
At the end of World War II, Japan was compelled by the U.S. occupation forces to adopt a Constitution ordaining its renunciation to the right to wage war in order to settle international conflicts. Even though it has kept a self-defense contingent in case of emergency, Japan has basically placed itself under the "U.S. umbrella".
Reduced to a state of bondage for sixty years, Japan has yet to achieve a diplomatic settlement of its territorial disputes with Russia, Taiwan, China and South Korea.
Over the past years, the United States has chosen to use Japan’s assets as auxiliaries. Thus, Japan’s self-defense force soldiers have been deployed abroad for UN peace-keeping missions, and for non-military missions, in Iraq. Ultimately, the U.S. plan is to build up the Japanese army merging it with Australia within an expanded NATO architecture spanning the Pacific.
The Japanese on the other hand asserted their intention to stick to their pacifist stance while freeing themselves of U.S. tutelage. The Futenma U.S. military base (Okinawa) has become the symbol of the continuing presence of Japan’s erstwhile victor and occupant.
In September 2009, the Japanese voted the Democratic Party into power; its platform included the revision of Japan’s relations with Washington. Thus Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama proceded to unveil the secret treaties between the victor and the vanquished, but failed in his attempt to relocate the base at Okinawa. Pushed to resign, the vacancy was filled in June 2010 by his Economy Minister Naoto Kan.
The new Prime Minister, who enjoys Washington’s absolute trust, has undertaken a "modernisation" of foreign and defense policies, which envision the abandonment of Japan’s pacifism and the strengthening of its army. In addition, Japan would formally authorise the United States to stockpile nuclear weapons on its soil and participate on a massive scale in United Nations peace-keeping operations.
Mr. Kan has been exploiting to the hilt the incident involving sinking of the South Korean vessel Cheonan, propagated by the U.S. Pacific Command and attributed to North Korea. The aim is to justify Japan’s rearmament plans in light of this "threat" and to deploy troops in order to tackle it.