Tokyo's arms export shift dangerous sign

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-4-3 9:03:00

The Japanese cabinet on Tuesday approved three principles on the transfer of defense equipment, ending a strict ban on the export of weapons that lasted 47 years. The newly adopted principles greatly ease restrictions on arms sale and signify a major move by Japan to step away from its postwar pacifism.

It's widely interpreted that Japan under the new principles will increase arms exports to countries involved in territorial disputes with China. This will pose new threats to China's periphery. Besides, the move is likely to stimulate growth of Japan's military industry thus consolidating the capabilities in strategic competition with China.

But there is no need for Beijing to feel unease. China's power growth could offset the threats. Tokyo may overestimate the impacts it can produce on China.

Nonetheless Japan is the trouble-maker in East Asia. Japan veering from its policies on weapons transfer formalizes a change in the status quo of the region.

For years Tokyo has adopted incremental steps to untie itself from the postwar order such as whitewashing its history of wartime aggression in textbooks, pilgrimages to the Yasukuni Shrine by politicians, "nationalizing" the Diaoyu Islands and attempting to revise the pacifism constitution.

Japan is the perpetrator of repeated aggressive wars in East Asia in modern history. After the US dropped two atomic bombs on its land, Japan surrendered and implemented the pacifism constitution. However, the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is forgetting the sore as it has boldly confronted China and South Korea.

The Abe administration has been accumulating strength to topple the postwar order. If Japan is at the edge of repeating history, neighboring such a country is China's new misfortune. We have to face the shock of Japan's military resurgence and maneuver accordingly.

Fortunately, the comparison of comprehensive strength between China and Japan has undergone a historically dramatic change. China has become capable of managing strategic risks in East Asia and could mount a counterattack against any military provocations. 

We could continue to build our strength, curbing Japan's inclination to follow a radical and adventurous policy. China should prepare itself for a degradation of Sino-Japanese relations in a power confrontation. Japan has discarded peaceful thinking. Therefore the idea Japan may have change of attitude is merely an illusion.

But as China's strength is stronger than Japan's, we need to build our confidence that Japan dares not easily cross the red line of war. Japan is challenging regional stability. We have no other option but resort to our strength to curtail the aggressiveness of Japanese politicians like Abe. This perhaps is the fate of the two East Asian powers in the first half of the 21st century.

Posted in: Editorial

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