How Japan might use its military in the future


The Abe administration’s reinterpretation of the war-renouncing Constitution to allow greater use of military force in defending other countries is one of the biggest changes ever to Japan’s postwar security policy.

The administration has given a range of examples as to how the Self-Defense Forces might used when related laws are updated later this year. They include scenarios in which troops might:

Defend U.S. warships.

Troops could protect U.S. warships under attack from a third country near Japanese waters, before an imminent, direct attack on Japan, because cooperation with the U.S. military is considered essential to secure Japan’s own survival.

Intercept ships for inspection.

Troops might forcibly stop vessels for inspection when they are believed to be carrying weapons to a third country that is attacking U.S. warships in the region, when the battle seems likely to spill over to Japan — a step currently considered unconstitutional and prohibited as use of force.

Shoot down a missile fired at the U.S.

The SDF could intercept a ballistic missile that is flying over the Japanese archipelago heading toward Hawaii, the U.S. territory of Guam or the U.S. mainland, and when requested by America to do so.

Protect peacekeepers abroad.

SDF personnel could rescue civilians engaged in U.N.-backed peacekeeping operations that come under attack, using weapons if necessary to defend those civilians.

Minesweeping in the Middle East.

A plan still being contemplated would allow Japanese forces to participate in U.N.-led multinational minesweeping efforts to secure sea lanes in the Middle East, such as in the Strait of Hormuz, arguably crucial lifelines for resource-poor Japan.

  • wada

    It was a big relief to change interpretation. It is time to repulse armed provocations.

  • Upageya

    Yes, Wada, that is so true.

    After all, it is the Chinese with North Korean support of course, who have loads of nuclear weapons just a few miles from the US coast stationed, while the US army never leaves the homeland, or even starts wars or invades other countries.

    Right on! USA! USA! USA!

    On the other side, of course, the Japanese people of course have the right vote in a government like this one, that is all for Japan remaining the largest aircraft carrier of the US. If Japan’s people that is what they want to be, fair enough….

  • http://blog.goo.ne.jp/srachai srachai

    Enabling SDF to exercise the right of collective self-defense is a long-awaited dream for Prime Minister Abe.
    Prime Minister Abe promises that Japan never will go into any wars.
    As a matter of course, China and Korea are against the current movement of Abe regime.
    However, it is good way to be prepared for any contingencies, whatever they are unrealistic.
    In this way, possibility of being at war might be fostered.
    Holding national referendum may be better way.

  • Gerard White

    So Japan will assist American troops at war? Now lets see, which wars in the past 50 years are worth sacrificing Japanese lives? The illegal war in Iraq? The pointless war in Afghanistan? Perhaps the illegal war against Nicaragua, Napalm kids in Vietnam? 500Lb Daisy cutters on villages in Cambodia?
    I wonder, if Abe were to ask the people of Japan; What would you rather spend trillions of Yen on, building homes for the thousands of citizens still living in temporary shelters and school gymnasiums since the tsunami / nuclear disaster March 2011 or on military equipment to send your children to be killed in battle supporting capitalist wars against any socialist country.
    Does any right thinking person seriously think China would start war with America? Why on earth should they, if they wanted America all they have to do is foreclose on the trillions of US$ treasury bonds it holds, enough to buy all the real estate in America, all the companies on the American stock exchange and fund a new political party which gave Americans a fair share of the wealth the country creates instead of allowing tax breaks for the privileged 1%

    It’s far more likely that America, would start war with China, and to do so, they would need the financial support of Japan, just as they have in Kuwait 1991, Afghanistan, 2001, Iraq 2003. So now instead of simply funding American wars, Abe is saying the Japanese will send Japanese children to fight and die in American wars too?

    Abe should hold a referendum of the Japanese people, you want to send your children to die fighting for the country that dropped nuclear bombs on Japan, or do you want to save your treasure to spend on building homes and infrastructure needed by so many thousands who’s lives were devastated in 2011.