Leaving the path of peace, is Japan playing the drums of war again?

Last Updated on March 27, 2024 11:47 am

Since World War II, Japan has opposed war or violence as an effective means of resolving any kind of conflict. However, in the face of growing threats from China and North Korea, Tokyo is slowly moving away from that ‘peaceful’ policy. As a part of this, the Japanese Cabinet approved the manufacture and export of high-quality warplanes with the UK and Italy.

According to the news BBC report, Japan has relaxed the rules of export of arms abroad. So from now on they will be able to sell warplanes to countries that have defense agreements and countries that are not at war. Apart from this, the country has announced to double its military expenditure by 2027, citing threats from China and North Korea.

Japan will spend 311 billion US dollars on defense by 2027. This amounts to two percent of the total GDP of the world’s fourth richest country. In addition, this amount is 50 percent more than the previous five years.

After World War II, US-occupied Japan enacted a constitution that prohibited war and the use of force in settling international disputes. Even that constitution did not officially recognize the military in Japan. Their abilities are limited to self-defense. It included a ban on arms exports. However, the restrictions were relaxed for the first time in 2014 under then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In December 2022, Japan joined a UK-Italy cooperation project, called Tempest. The joint venture’s new fighter jet will use artificial intelligence and advanced sensors to assist pilots. The jets are expected to be ready by 2035. And this will be Tokyo’s first defense equipment development partnership with a country other than the United States, a major Western ally.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said allowing the export of fighter jets to third countries is necessary to maintain Tokyo’s credibility as a partner in other international defense projects in the future.

Critics say Japan has decided to completely shake off its anti-war and pacifist image. However, Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara says Japan is still committed to a pacifist philosophy. Export of arms abroad will be implemented through a strict regulatory process.

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