Mr. W.D. shared this very important article with me, and given the fact that we often comment on geopolitical trends here, it simply must be passed along to you. You'll see why once you read the article:
Now let's put this in a long-term context.
You'll recall that prior to the Fukushima tragedy and the ongoing disaster, there was a change in the Japanese government as for the first time since the end of the War, a new Japanese government came to power, one less intent on fulfilling its role as an American satrapy, and one which was trying to mend fences with China. That government began quietly floating the idea of state visits of the Emperor, and quietly but politely indicated that it would like the USA to close its Okinawa military base. You'll recall as well that the then US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, issued statements to Japan that could be taken as little more than a threat to back off from its course of actions or there would be dire consequences. Then, Fukushima occurred, and to this day, many suspect that it was a deliberate event. I too, incline often to this suspicion.
In any case, we now have the government of Mr. Abe.
And it is clear that Japan, while not exactly returning to its role of compliant satrapy, is playing second violin to Washington's "Pacific Pivot" and acting in "collective security" with the USA.
That at least, is the cover story.
But there are some paragraphs that are worthy of close examination in this article:
"The decision by Mr Abe’s cabinet, which had long been expected, changes a more than six-decade-old reading of the constitution, which had strictly limited Japan’s forces to acting solely in its own defence. The new interpretation, known as “collective self-defence,” will allow Japan to use its large and technologically advanced military in ways that would have been unthinkable for this long-pacifist nation just a few years ago, such as coming to the aid of an American ship under fire, or shooting down a ballistic missile aimed at the United States...."Still, most Japanese seemed to at least tentatively accept the change, a sign, analysts said, of the growing anxiety here over China’s rising military might, and its increasingly forceful claims to disputed islands now controlled by Japan. They said these fears of China had made the public more willing to accept the more assertive security stance espoused by Mr Abe, who has long called for Japan to shed its postwar passivity and become a “normal” nation...."Rather, he said the change was necessary for Japan to act more like a full-fledged ally of the United States, something Japan needs to start doing as it seeks a clearer show of American support in its territorial dispute with China.“'A strengthened Japan-United States alliance is a force of deterrence that contributes to the peace of Japan and this region,' Mr Abe said. He also said the change would allow Japan to participate more fully in United Nations peacekeeping operations, such as by allowing Japanese troops to come to the aid of other peacekeepers under attack.
"While Mr Abe focused his comments on closer ties with the United States, Japan’s postwar protector, analysts said the new policy could also make it easier for Japan to seek new military alliances with other nations including the Philippines and Vietnam, which have similar territorial disputes with China.
"Analysts also said the decision capped a series of security-related changes by the Abe government that had already gone a long way in freeing Japan to play a larger military role in the region. These included lifting a self-imposed ban on selling weapons abroad, starting Japan’s first military aid to foreign countries since the end of World War II and improving its ability to respond to a security crisis with the creation of a new National Security Council, modelled on the American one."