Japan’s Geopolitical Landscape for Shinzo Abe Assassination

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Just days after assassination of the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan held a general election and Abe’s party which is Liberal Democratic Party had an overwhelming victory. ...

Just days after assassination of the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan held a general election and Abe’s party which is Liberal Democratic Party had an overwhelming victory. Some of the votes may have been sympathetic but the election was primarily a clear signal of the public sentiment regarding the growth of Japan’s military capabilities and a de facto break with the country’s Post-World War II pacifist stance and that was precisely one of the Shinzo Abe’s last wishes before his death. His successor Fumio Kishida is gradually restoring Japan’s military super power status. Eighty years ago imperial japan possessed one of the largest and most powerful militaries in the world and the mighty japanese offensive brought the empire extensive territorial gains but ultimately suffered a devastating defeat resulting in subjugation by the United States of America. After the end of World War II, in order to avoid renewed bloodshed the Americans wanted to have Japanese military capabilities under their control. Thus acting prudently, they inserted a provision into the newly created Japanese constitution in 1947 and for this to be guaranteed, which have been intoduced duress and overseen by the commander of the occupation forces General Douglas MacArthur article 9 of the Japanese constitution prohibited Tokyo from having a military capability. Japan after World War II diametrically changed its policies and it abandoned its own imperial past altogether to become a democracy by focusing on one goal which was the economic growth.

The United States was fighting battles in many places around the globe in a strategic rivalry with the Soviet Union at the forefront. On the other hand Japan’s location in the pacific theater continued to be crucial. It was located in close proximity to the soviet’s main pacific port which was known as Viladivostok that soviet ships could not sail into the open pacific without circumventing Japanese islands first. At this point, Moscow was looking for a way to field a significant naval force in the pacific and draw American power away from the other side of the globe. However Washington having its main interest in securing the atlantic and Europe did not want to pull resources away to the other side of world. Therefore for this purpose the United States wanted to use the economically growing Japan which is no longer presented a threat to Washington strategic aims. Japanese were reluctant to invest in the navy and air forces instead preferring to invest in the electronics and automotive industries which were soon to threaten the American counterparts. Japan’s constitution despite having 75 years since its inception has not experienced any amendments to date but interpretation of article 9 has become increasingly flexible.

The first signifcant step took place as early as 1954 when the Japans self defense forces were established and this due to persistent urging from the Americans. In the eight years since end of World War II, japanese still remembering the trauma of those events have become an extremely pacifist nation in which the ceiling of just 1 percent of GDP being spent on self –defense forces. Japanese were content to lease their own security status to the Americans which they concluded on the back of a mutual security treaty signed after the end of World War II. The United States pledged to defend Japan’s sovereign integrity in exchange for the aforementioned pacifist constitution in which under this treaty The United States established more that 80 military facilities in Japan with more than 60.000 U.S troops deployed there. However in the 10 years the architecture of global security has begun to change rapidly due to the unprecedented “ Rise of China“ which is Japan’s close neighbor and historical rival in the reigon. The threat posed to Japan by China’s rise was quickly realized by Japan’s long time Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Former Prime Minister Abe implemented a unprecedented series of security reforms and heavily modernized Japan’s forces with aware of the waning power of The United States. Shinzo Abe acted strongly in favor the QUAD Treaty in line with countries those who are concerned about “China’s recent meteoric rise“. In addition to Japan and The United States, QUAD includes Australia and India. In this circumstances, Japan’s self –defense forces began taking part in international maneuvers under the concept of another flexible reinterpretation of article 9.

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