Japanese government abuses ISIS terror for its own militarism

This video says about itself:

Uncomfortable Truth Behind Japan’s Comfort Women

29 May 2013

Japan’s Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, committed a bit of a faux pas when he tried to justify Japan’s use of “comfort women” during World War 2. In case you didn’t know, “comfort women” is a fun euphemism for invading Japanese military forcing women at gunpoint into prostitution.

By Ben McGrath:

Japanese government exploits hostage crisis to push remilitarisation

28 January 2015

The Japanese government has announced that it will use the current parliamentary session to push through a raft of legislation to codify its “re-interpretation” of the country’s constitution to allow for “collective self-defense.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is exploiting the current hostage crisis, in which Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has killed one Japanese citizen and continues to hold another, in a bid to overcome public opposition to remilitarisation.

The regular 150-day session of the Japanese parliament or Diet that began on Monday is the first since the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won reelection in December. Among some 80 bills expected to be submitted are 10 to remove restrictions on the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), Japan’s military. The LDP will begin negotiations with its coalition partner Komeito in early February and plans to submit the bills for a vote following April’s local elections.

Speaking to Japan’s NHK public broadcaster on Sunday, Abe declared: “The legislation is aimed at protecting the lives and well-being of the people by structuring a seamless legal security structure. For example, if Japanese abroad come under harm’s way, as in the recent case, the Self-Defense Forces currently aren’t able to fully utilize their abilities.”

These new laws are being drawn up not to protect Japanese citizens, but to facilitate the Japanese military’s involvement in US wars of aggression, in particular its war preparations against China as part the US “pivot to Asia.” The legislation is in line with new defense guidelines that Washington and Tokyo agreed to last October.

The legislation will allow Abe to dispatch the SDF overseas without seeking the Diet’s approval. Currently, each time the military is sent abroad, a new law must be passed authorizing the mission, as was the case in Japan’s military support for the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The proposed laws will ensure that Japan is more closely integrated into US war planning in Asia against China. The Pentagon regards its military bases in Japan as crucial components of its “AirSea Battle” strategy, which envisages a massive missile and air attack on Chinese mainland bases, missile sites, command centers and communications. Japan is also critical to another element of US military planning, for an economic blockade of China.

Other laws are specifically directed against China. These include allowing the prime minister to dispatch the SDF if foreign ships or people enter the waters around Japanese islands or land on the islands themselves. The disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea have been at the centre of sharp tensions with China since the Japanese government provocatively nationalised them in 2012 by purchasing three of the islands from their private owner.

A particularly insidious bill will allow the government to restrict the rights of Japanese citizens if Japan is attacked or threatened with an attack. The legislation will give the government broad scope to crack down on anti-war protests or opposition to remilitarization in Japan, on the pretext, for example, of a supposed threat from North Korea.

The Abe government is clearly considering measures that go beyond its proposals for “collective self-defense.” Reuters reported that at Abe’s request Japanese officials drafted a briefing paper last Friday to consider a series of questions, including whether the planned legal changes would allow Japan to launch a military attack on ISIS to secure the release of the hostages. The paper’s conclusion that there was no legal basis for such action could well be used by Abe to press for further legislative changes.

However, the briefing paper did conclude that the new legislation would permit Japan to give military support to the US-led war in Iraq and Syria. “We are proceeding with consideration of a legal framework to implement support activities necessary to support other militaries in contributing to Japan’s peace and safety and the peace and stability of the international community,” it stated, without directly referring to ISIS.

The current hostage crisis began on January 20 when ISIS released a video featuring two Japanese men, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, and demanding $200 million for their release. Yukawa was captured last August. Goto attempted to intercede for Yukawa in October but was also captured. In the video, ISIS gave a 72-hour deadline for Japan to pay the ransom or the two men would be killed.

The deadline expired Friday afternoon but it was not until late Saturday evening that a second video was released featuring Goto holding a picture of Yukawa, who had been beheaded. ISIS also changed its demand from a ransom to a prisoner exchange. The organization is seeking the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a woman condemned to death in Jordan for her role in a 2005 terrorist attack at hotels in the Jordanian capital, Amman. ISIS issued a new threat saying Goto would be killed along with a Jordanian pilot on Wednesday if its demands were not met.

In 2013, Abe seized on a hostage crisis in Algeria, which resulted in the deaths of 10 Japanese citizens, to pass a new law watering down restrictions on the Japanese military. The law overturned a ban on Japan sending SDF vehicles, including armored vehicles, into a conflict zone.

The widespread public opposition to the government’s constitutional reinterpretation and the planned legislation finds no expression in the political establishment. The LDP’s coalition partner, Komeito, which is nominally pacifist, backed Abe’s constitutional reinterpretation last year and is looking for cosmetic changes to the new legislation. In relation to providing logistical support for US wars, spokesman Natsuo Yamaguchi said on Sunday: “As a basic rule, rear-line support should be to back the response of the international community based on a UN Security Council resolution.”

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has yet to formulate a coherent stance on the government’s planned laws. Newly-installed DPJ leader Katsuya Okada tentatively pointed out that the legislation would mean Japan would be drawn into US wars. “If the United States requests more direct involvement, can the Japanese government refuse it by saying, ‘we only conduct humanitarian aid?’” However, he did not oppose the legislation, or involvement in US-led conflicts, outright.

JORDAN CUTS DEAL FOR ISIS PRISONER SWAP “The Jordanian government agreed on Wednesday to release a convicted terrorist in exchange for the freeing of an air force pilot captured by Islamic State militants in Syria a month ago, according to a statement released on Jordanian state television just before a deadline set by the extremists. The militants had threatened to kill the pilot and a Japanese journalist if the deadline was not met. The Jordanian statement made no mention of the fate of the journalist.” The parents of the hostages had begged each government to agree to the terrorist group’s demand for a prisoner swap. And in the U.S., Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced an ISIS War Authorization bill. [NYT]

The execution of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, as conveyed in a video released late Saturday night, is the latest atrocity to be carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It follows the beheading of another Japanese citizen, Haruna Yukawa, last week after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refused to pay a $200 million ransom for the two hostages: here.

JAPAN VOWS VENGEANCE AFTER ISIS BEHEADS JOURNALIST: “When Islamic State militants posted a video over the weekend showing the grisly killing of a Japanese journalist, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacted with outrage, promising ‘to make the terrorists pay the price.’ Such vows of retribution may be common in the West when leaders face extremist violence, but they have been unheard of in confrontation-averse Japan — until now. The prime minister’s call for revenge after the killings of the journalist, Kenji Goto, and another hostage, Haruna Yukawa, raised eyebrows even in the military establishment, adding to a growing awareness here that the crisis could be a watershed for this long pacifist country.” [NYT]

Under conditions where US imperialism is resorting to war as an instrument of foreign policy in Ukraine, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific, other major powers are also seeking to remilitarise and remove any restraints on their use of military force. That is the significance of the call by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a fundamental revision of the country’s post-war constitution: here.

The Japanese government announced last week that it would provide aid for the first time to foreign militaries through its Official Development Assistance (ODA) program. The move is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s aggressive diplomatic efforts to build Japanese influence and ties, particularly in Asia, on all levels, including military: here.

FILIPINO President Benigno Aquino said yesterday that he wanted Japan to station troops in his country. On a state visit to Japan, Mr Aquino proposed talks on a visiting forces agreement for the first time since Japan’s occupation of the Philippines during World War II: here.

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