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People's Daily Online

Why Japan is revising its expanded defense pact

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 09:05, October 13, 2014

The U.S. and Japan have produced an interim report on revising the guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation. The ultimate report will be released at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year. The two countries are currently reviewing the guidelines with the aim of giving Japan a greater role in maintaining peace in East Asia. The report emphasizes on several occasions that this amendment could provide the two countries with opportunities to make a greater contribution to international peace and security.

In the name of peace, the two countries are attempting to win moral support for the amendment to the guidelines. But it is not difficult to see that the true goal is for two countries to pursue their own interests.

There are two reasons for Japan to revise the guidelines.

One is to dismantle the postwar international order, and especially those rules in the Constitution of Japan maintaining restrictions on Japanese military development and self-defense. Japan has turned to America when it comes to queries from its neighbor countries, including China and South Korea, and America has actively responded to Japan's overtures.

In the first half of 2014, America announced its firm support for Japan to lift the ban on collective self-defense and welcomed its policy of military enhancement.

In this report, America claimed that Japan's expansion of Self-Defense Forces is in accordance with the Constitution.

The other target of this revision is China. When it was first published in 1978, the initial aim of the guideline was to create cooperation in case of potential attacks from Soviet Union. The first amendment targeted North Korean issues. The Sino-U.S. relationship was damaged because of Japan's nationalization plan for the Diaoyu Islands in 2012. Japan's Defense Minister then came up with the idea that it was necessary to revise the guidelines. Claiming that China is a threat to the country, Japan has linked revision of the guidelines to China's military development and maritime activities. China is treated as an assumed enemy in this revision.

For the U.S., the revision will adjust bilateral cooperation to reflect its policy to "rebalance the Asia-Pacific region". America attaches great importance to its dominant position in Asia. Facing internal and external problems, the U.S. cannot realize its goals alone. Therefore, according to the report, the aim of these Guidelines is to create a solid basis for more effective and credible U.S.-Japan cooperation, which means that Japan, as America's significant regional ally, should shoulder more responsibilities in dealing with regional affairs. Furthermore, the report also notes that the U.S.-Japan alliance has global implications and that the two countries will expand fields of cooperation.

The revision provides a blueprint for the two countries to grab global interests. Japan and the U.S. are seeking hegemony. Under the indulgence of the U.S., Japan might evolve into a new 'international police force' and a cheerleader for 'neo-interventionism'. There will be growing worries about this trend.

Fundamentally, the experience of the Cold War demonstrates that 'alignment' is not the right approach to maintain peace and stability; on the contrary, it will aggravate conflicts. Cooperation is beneficial to the resolution of disputes.

The article is edited and translated from《日美同盟:漂亮包装难掩丑陋实质(望海楼)》, source: People's Daily Overseas Edition, author: Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the Department for International and Strategic Studies at China Institute of International Studies.

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