BEIJING, July 2 -- Foreign analysts and scholars have harshly criticized a resolution passed by the Japanese cabinet on Monday to allow it a larger military role in Asia, saying it will escalates regional tensions and is a sign of fascism emergence.
The resolution, which allows Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the pacifist Constitution, greenlights Japan to take military action to defend other countries even though the nation itself is not under attack, marking a major overhaul from Japan' s postwar security policy.
"Japan is changing," warned Shada Islam, the director of Brussels-based Policy, Friends of Europe in a written interview with Xinhua.
The move is part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive to transform Japan into a "normal country" when it comes to defence and security, said Islam, adding that he has also pushed through a law to strengthen control of state secrets, created American-style National Security Council, and lifted Japan' s self-imposed restriction on exporting weapons.
Abe's so-called "proactive pacifism" is clearly not popular at home and he has had to abandon his original plan to secure direct constitutional revision -- but this move should reassure the United States that Japan is taking on some responsibility for its own defence, she said.
Public opinion in Japan will continue to act as a brake on some of the Abe's more ambitious plans, so Abe will have to carefully balance his policies, she said, adding that the resolution "will certainly not enhance security and could increase tensions in northeast Asia."
It is absurd for Japan to allows collective self-defense, said Enes Begicevic, a journalist from Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding that Japan's move will lead to regional instability.
"This constitutional change is both historic and worrying as it moves one of the pillars which has maintained the balance of peace in East Asia since the end of the Second World War," said Augusto Soto, professor of ESADE institution of Ramon Llull University and Director of Dialogue with China Project.
This measure could have the effect of destabilizing Asia and the Pacific and this is understood by an important part of public opinion in Japan which is against the Abe administration. However, this opinion does not have the political power to stop the Japanese government's initiative, he said.
In the face of this situation China could launch a political offensive in order to try and convince Japanese public opinion that the announced measure goes against Japanese interests, he advised.
"The new interpretation of the constitution that Japan's cabinet has adopted now may do little good to the security situation in the Asia-Pacific region," Angel Maestro, a Spanish columnist of the Financial World and a expert on asian affairs.
Japan's neighbors may worry this is the sign of a new rise of the fascism in Japan's Political Arena. These countries may strengthen their defense forces as insurance against the possibility that Japan has chosen an expansionist foreign policy as it did during the Second World War, which would raise tensions in the region and escalate conflicts that already exist, he said.
"I think it may increase the historical mistrust that Japan already faces from its neighboring countries, especially China and Korea, about its military intentions," said Piin-Fen Kok, Director of China, East Asia and United States Program with the EastWest Institute.
It' s up to Japan to explain clearly to its neighbors why it is doing this, and why this is good for regional and global security. Japan also needs to provide assurances to its neighbors that it will not revert to its militaristic past, Kok said.
"Collective self-defense is a compromise born from Shinzo Abe's political will, who leads a group of people that don't represent the mainstream of Japanese politics," Professor Axel Berkofsky, senior associate research fellow of Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) has told Xinhua.
"It is funny to say that Japan should regain the respect of the world. It was just saying: It's a weak commitment, a political move, a dream, a vision of Abe himself," he added.