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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Article 9 Essay by David Gray

(This essay was written by David Gray, a UBC student of International Relations, for the Vancouver Save Article 9's Fundraising Dinner on February 29, 1008. )

One perspective in regards to revision of Article 9 of the Japanese 1947 constitution is that it should not be altered under any circumstances. This is supported by both the economic success Japan has achieved since losing World War II despite a lack of offensive military forces and the inevitable criticism Japan would receive both domestically and from regional neighbours, some of whom experienced Imperial Japan’s brutality firsthand in the past.

Japan, however, must take both regional and global threats into account. Terrorism, the rise of China, and nuclear threats from belligerent countries like the DPRK are all threats that may be counter argued as concerns ‘taken care’ of by Japan’s heavy and long standing reliance on the United States for protection through its longstanding security alliance (which has eliminated Japan’s need for maintaining offensive capabilities thus so far), however the US’s pressure on Japan to rearm and become more self-reliant, has been continuous since the post-WWII occupation period. Since the controversial creation of the SDF in 1954, Japan’s military has expanded constantly, bringing Japan to presently sit in the top 5 military-spending countries in the world. Should something disrupt the US-Japan alliance, Japan would in all likelihood be forced to add offensive capabilities to its defensive ones to protect itself and its interests around the world.

Japan should not revise its Article 9, however. Indeed, Japan currently enjoys a state of peace and relative cooperation with both regional neighbors and most countries around the world, in which strong trade links exist. As well, the Empire of Japan days during which the nation was urgent to catch up with the west, are over; Japan has surpassed its goals in this regard, having become the world’s second largest economic power. Imperial Japan is simply not the Japan of today, and it is very unlikely Japan would act as the aggressor that it did in the past given today’s modern context.

David Gray

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