Japan took a historic step on July 01 2014 by ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since 1945. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe but a move that has riled China and worries many Japanese voters.
The change, the most dramatic shift in policy since Japan set up its post-war armed forces 60 years ago, will widen Japan’s military options by ending the ban on exercising “collective self-defence,” or aiding a friendly country under attack.
Japan cabinet adopted a resolution outlining the shift, which also relaxes limits on activities in UN-led peace-keeping operations and “grey zone” incidents short of full-scale war, Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told.
Long constrained by the post-war constitution, Japan’s armed forces will become more aligned with the militaries of other advanced nations in terms of its options. However, the government will be wary of putting boots on the ground in multilateral operations such as the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Abe repeated that stance, while stressing Japan had to respond to an increasingly tough security environment.
“There is no change in the general principle that we cannot send troops overseas,” Abe told, flanked by a poster showing Japanese mothers and infants fleeing a theoretical combat zone on a U.S. vessel under attack.
The United States welcomed the Japanese move, which one defeated Japan in the Second World War then became its close ally with a security co-operation treaty.