An historic model of peace under fire


Kevin Doonan

Last week Shinzo Abe was elected as Japan’s new prime minister. Abe has promised to review Japan’s post-WWII constitutional security policies and no one seems even remotely concerned that the only national to have ever constitutionally rejected war, is on the path to rearmament. After WWII, Japanese policymakers made it unconstitutional to have a military, in an act of defiance to their American occupiers who were intent on rebuilding the defeated nation as an armed ally in the impending Cold War.

Since signing its new constitution, Japan has prospered economically, going from a nation leveled by firebombing and atomic weapons, to one of the strongest economies in the world. Not having to seep money into a bloated defense budget has been one of the attributes lending to Japan’s economic success, though there have been many other contributions.

Today Japanese WWII-era policy makers having passed from power, policy makers who understood firsthand the horrors of war after they had witnessed their friends and loved ones mutilated or burned to death. Since new generations, who cannot recollect the horrendous nature of war, have come to power in Japan there has been a concerted push to reinstate the military. Already Japan has developed a small military under the pretense of creating a defense force. Japan even committed a small symbolic detachment to the war in Iraq dispute, explicit warnings that the gesture would garner Japanese citizens negative and unnecessary attention from extremists.