Japanese public won’t allow resumption of militarism

By Wang Zhanyang Source:Global Times Published: 2014-10-19 22:18:02

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Having a correct understanding of the international situation, and making sure that peace and development remain the two mainstream trends, were the premises under which former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping made roadmaps and policies for the country's development.

He didn't believe Japan would pose a major threat to China and held that most Japanese people objected to the rejuvenation of militarism. China and Japan have no reason not to strengthen friendly ties.

Nowadays, Deng's views still apply. Meanwhile, based on new development and analysis, we can be sure that even if some individual Japanese politicians seek to resume militarism, Japan will not become a militarist country.

First, Japan's pacifism has won support among its people. The social foundation under which militarism was able to become the dominant ideology has disappeared.

Before the end of WWII, militarism was Japan's mainstream ideology. But after the war, such thoughts turned to pacifism. Most Japanese people desire peace and hate war, and those who adhere to militarism are few. This is an undisputable fact.

Second, pacifism, combined with the democratic system, makes militarism even more impossible. That Japan moved toward militarism was a result of not only its social thought foundation, but also its political system.

The prevalence of pacifism in the past decades indicates that the Japanese electorate objects to invasive wars. In addition, the democratic system will sift out any bellicose politicians by electorates and parliaments that favor pacifism.

Meanwhile, what the Japanese economy needs now is peace, rather than an invasive war. In this economically globalized world, if Japan destroys China's economy through an invasive war, it is killing its own economy at the same time.

US General Douglas MacArthur dissolved Japan's giant industrial corporations which served as Japan's economic foundation. Nowadays, the board members of Japan's big companies have become senior managing staff. It is incorrect to assume they are like the financial magnates who backed WWII.

At the same time, Japan has realized that obtaining resources, energies and markets through peaceful commercial means is the only path to develop its economy.

The next issue is that Japan doesn't have financial support to resume militarism. To move toward the militarist path means initiating large-scale invasive wars, and this calls for solid financial support.

Japan is now facing a long-term financial dilemma. If we say China is focusing on development, then Japan is striving to remain what it is now. But it is not that easy.

Also, amid this long-term financial predicament, there have been conflicts between expenditure on the social insurance and defense budget.

Under Japan's democratic system, Japanese politicians don't dare to turn a cold shoulder to the electorate's demands to increase social insurance expenditures. So the reality is that Japan neither wants to fight a war nor has money for it.

The US does not want to see a militaristic Japan either, and the Japan-US Security Treaty will serve to prevent Japan from returning to militarism.

At the moment, both China and Japan are powerful countries in East Asia, which is unprecedented. The Japanese people have no ambitions to conquer China.

Above all, all the conditions that could lead to Japan's militarist path have disappeared. The few Japanese militarists have no ability to turn the country back to history.

As long as China and Japan can properly handle historical issues and the Diaoyu Islands dispute, a friendly and peaceful future between the two can be expected.

The author is a professor at the Central Institute of Socialism. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: Viewpoint

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