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    This is a few days old, and I didn’t know what to make of it because I couldn’t find any quotation of what Armitage had actually said to Nakagawa. The English versions of the Japanese papers are now writing about it, but they still don’t say what his words were:

    Officials in the ruling coalition as well as the opposition camp clearly were caught off-guard by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage’s remark last week that war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution is becoming an obstacle to strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance.

    Since it was uttered by a senior Bush administration official known for his deep understanding of Japan, they fear it may negatively affect Japan-U.S. relations and ongoing debate in Japan on revisions to the Constitution.

    Opposition members also were critical of Armitage for pressing Japan to revise the Constitution.

    Hidenao Nakagawa, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Diet Affairs Committee, shook up lawmakers after he relayed the gist of a meeting with Armitage in Washington last Wednesday.

    Armitage also told Nakagawa that while Washington supported Tokyo’s moves to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, any nation with that status must be ready to deploy military force in the interests of the international community. Unless it is prepared to do that, Armitage said it would be difficult for Japan to become a permanent member.

    The revision being discussed would appear to be a rather modest one; it just makes it possible for the SDF to provide combat assistance in defense of an ally. As written, the constitution doesn’t allow Japan to go into combat for anything but defense of Japan itself. Here’s what Article 9 says:

    1. 日本国民は、正義と秩序を基調とする国際平和を誠実に希求し、国権の発動たる戦争と、武力による威嚇又は武力の行使は、国際紛争を解決する手段としては、永久にこれを放棄する。

    2. 前項の目的を達するため、陸海空軍その他の戦力は、これを保持しない。国の交戦権は、これを認めない。

    1. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

    2. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceeding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

    The “means of settling international disputes” is the part that’s interpreted conservatively right now. I haven’t seen anything to indicate what verbal formulation would be used for the amendment, so it may not have been put together yet, but everything the Koizumi administration (which is proposing it) says indicates that it would apply only to common defense agreements with allies. In the course of arguing for such an amendment, he has, naturally, pointed out that US armed forces personnel already defend Japan.

    The PRC has been little mentioned in the most recent discussions on this point–at least, that I’ve seen–but as you may surmise, Beijing isn’t exactly champing at the bit for an opportunity to welcome a Japan with the constitutional permission to project force as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

    So yet again, the War on Terrorism is putting predictable stress on all kinds of tensely-balanced relationships in the Asia-Pacific region. If the push to amend the Japanese constitution remains front and center, we’ll have long-time animosities surfacing in a snaky line from Australia and the Philippines northward through Japan and Russia. It ain’t just vulcanism and plate tectonics making the Pacific Rim hot and frictive anymore.

    Not that it ever was.

    2 Responses to “集団的自衛権”

    1. Meaty Fly says:

      This topic deserves a lot more attention than its getting.
      About a year and a half ago there were people saying that one of the weapons we have against China is the threat of allowing Japan to militarize. I wonder if that is one aspect of what we are seeing.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      It looks as if we’re encouraging Japan in that direction. But then, we kind of have been for a while; what seems to have caught everyone off guard about what Armitage said last week (assuming what we’ve seen in the press is a pretty direct transcription) is that it was so blatant. I mean, I was pretty surprised myself.
      One other thing that bothers me: While it’s true that the generation of Southeast Asians who personally suffered under the Japanese occupation is dying off, suspicion of the Japanese remains pretty high. It’s hard to imagine that terrorist groups haven’t thought to exploit it alongside hatred of the US. You don’t hear much about it, though…at least, not here.