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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Japan's case of flawed priority

By Wang Hui (China Daily)

08:25, December 31, 2011

Tokyo's decision to ease arms exports ban is fraught with danger, for it could start a new arms race in Asia and worsen Mideast security

Japan's decision to effectively lift the long-standing ban on export of arms is shortsighted, if not dangerous. Worse, it could backfire on domestic, regional and international fronts in the long run.

On Tuesday, Osamu Fujimura, chief secretary of Japan's Cabinet, announced that Tokyo was easing its decades-old ban on arms exports to pave the way for joint development and production of advanced weapons with other countries.

It is widely perceived that huge defense costs prompted Tokyo to relax the rules, which it had been mulling for years. Such concerns may be seemingly relevant given the financial pinch Japan is feeling in reviving the national economy after the triple disaster of the earthquake, tsunami and the subsequent leak from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The triple disaster dealt a heavy blow to the Japanese economy, which had already been suffering from slow growth since the country's asset-price bubble burst in the early 1990s.

But compared to the economic benefits that arms exports could bring, the social and political repercussions of lifting the ban would be much greater and might even lead Japan onto a dangerous path. For example, the decision has already sown the seeds of social division. While some right-wing media and groups have lauded it as epoch-making, others have denounced it as being detrimental to Japan's image as a pacifist power and even violating its pacific constitution.

Indeed, a country that has followed a war-renouncing doctrine for decades could unleash its arms manufacturing capability when it departs from its pacifist path. Japan's decision to ease the ban on arms exports cannot be interpreted as a move to uphold its pacifist constitution, for it is an open declaration to boost its military might. Fujimura's statement on Tuesday makes that obvious.

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Leave your comment8 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2012-01-03117.242.144.*
asia is looking at china chinese need to work hard in every field both domestic and international their governing system their education their military everything of china should be like that world starts feeling jealous from chinese people capabilities should outpacedthe world for this if they die die for china society but not let chinese let down in world in any case any cicumstances
PD User at 2012-01-02220.255.1.*
Yes, China's rise is peaceful.From : ASEAN
Ron at 2012-01-01113.231.246.*
Is there anybody on planet Earth that believes that China"s rise will be peaceful ? No. Not one Asian nation believes that. Japan does not want another war with the United States. They know what it feels like to have all of their cities fire bombed and 2 cities nuked. As them what a nuclear war feels like before you start one.
PD User at 2012-01-01202.215.181.*
Doubt it"ll happen. Sure, many Japanese really think the nukes are a mistake, but the Americans did a good PR job. For a country that won so decisively, the Americans acted with restraint and goodwill, so while Japan is no doubt unhappy with some things Americans did, even the nationalists have to admit it could be a world worse and that holds back any real hate they have.
Democracy at 2011-12-3167.180.30.*
I am surprised at the open bias in the reporting instead of a subtle slant common reporting. The article IGNORES important points such as military expansion of China which may prompted these actions on part of Japan.

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