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Japan Watch Thread

Japan Shinzō Abe China Korea sci-tech military politics USA East Asia Pacific

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Japan’s Abe wins two thirds and will be able to Amend Constitution
brian wang | October 22, 2017 |


Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) coalition won a combined 312 seats, keeping its two-thirds “super majority” in the 465-member lower house. Shinzo Abe will almost certainly secure a third three-year term as LDP leader September, 2018 and go on to become Japan’s longest-serving premier. It also means his “Abenomics” growth strategy centered on the hyper-easy monetary policy will likely continue.

The U.S.-drafted constitution’s Article 9, if taken literally, bans the maintenance of armed forces. But Japanese governments have interpreted it to allow a military exclusively for self-defense. Abe has proposed modifying the Japanese constitution to codify that Japan can have a military for self-defense.






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Japan and its Increasing Military Boldness 
The re-election of Abe and the desire of Japan’s decision-makers to amend the country’s pacifist constitution are just reflections of a much deeper process that is underway in Japan.  
Japan is a country that adopted the ideology of pacifism in response to what it did and what it experienced in World War 2. Those horrific memories shaped Japanese foreign policy for the next couple of generations. But as time goes on those memories are fading, and the last of the survivors of that period are passing away.
Japan has since relied mostly on other powers to guarantee its security, particularly the United States. That strategy can work well if those other powers have the same national interests, but of course, those interests don’t always align, and may conflict with each other. 
The country is facing the potential of security threats from China and increasingly North Korea. Those threats are immediate and right in its neighborhood. Those threats are not immediate for the United States; they’re more nuisances.
No country wants to rely on another for so much of its core strategic interests. That includes Japan. As much as many of those in Japan may still be content to leave its matters to others, that can’t last forever. Japan eventually will be reasserting itself.
Japan is still a major military, economic and political power. By being passive it has been relatively quiet and modest in its endeavors. That power becomes more pronounced when the country gets more assertive.
That does not mean Japan will be waging war any time soon. Japanese society isn’t yet ready for such a radical shift in its foreign policy. Japan has a powerful military but it has only been reserved for use in self-defense. However, it does mean that the idea of the best defense being good offense is slowly gaining traction. The considerations Japanese ministers have had on reforming Article 9 of its constitution and the desires to install long-range weapons on its soil are just part of a much stronger undercurrent that is propelling Japan to change.
The remarkable thing about Japan is its ability to change its behaviour without significant social upheaval. Japan has gone through many such changes in the last century. Considering its history, it’s unlikely it will behave the same way for the next 25 years as it has for the preceding 25 years. 

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Japan to Buy At Least 20 More F-35 Stealth Fighters




TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to buy at least 20 additional F-35A stealth fighters over the next six years, some or all of which it may purchase directly from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) in the United States rather than assemble locally, three sources said.




This is especially significant considering the country has had a pacifist constitution, and its military is officially only supposed to be used in self-defense. But what does "self-defense" really mean? Fighter jets, among numerous other military equipment Japan has purchased, are types of machinery that are intended to attack targets, not act as shields. Japan, like any other country, has the right to protect itself and pursue its own national interests. It has relied mostly on allies such as the United States for its security guarantees. If Japan faces pressing security threats but could no longer rely on the military of its allies, how will Japan react?

Yuli Ban

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Japanese investors dump record amount of U.S. bonds in February

Japanese investors sold a record amount of U.S. dollar bonds in February as the soaring cost of currency-hedging undercut yields while they extended their purchases of euro-denominated bonds, government data showed on Monday.
Investors sold 3.924 trillion yen ($36.68 billion) of U.S. dollar bonds in February but scooped up 1.059 trillion yen (8.06 billion euros) of euro-denominated bonds - which offer higher yields after currency hedging.
It was their fifth consecutive month of euro-denominated debt purchases.
Since October, investors offloaded 7.675 trillion yen ($71.72 billion) of dollar bonds and bought 4.079 trillion yen (31.06 billion euros) of euro bonds.

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Japan, Shinzō Abe, China, Korea, sci-tech, military, politics, USA, East Asia, Pacific

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