Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Japan Announces a Military Shift to Thwart China

By MARTIN FACKLER and DAVID E. SANGER, NYT
JULY 1, 2014

TOKYO — Japan’s prime minister announced a reinterpretation of the country’s pacifist Constitution on Tuesday, freeing its military for the first time in over 60 years to play a more assertive role in the increasingly tense region.

The decision by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will permit Japan to use its large and technologically advanced armed forces in ways that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago when they were limited to defending the country. The revision will allow the military to come to the aid of friendly countries under attack, including the United States.

Japan’s stance is part of a rapidly shifting balance of power in Asia, where China and its growing military are mounting a serious challenge to the regional dominance of the United States and its allies, including Japan, and making assertive claims to vast areas of two strategically important seas. The hawkish Mr. Abe’s response is certain to anger the Chinese — who have never forgiven Japan for its World War II-era invasion — and could set Asia’s two biggest powers even more on edge.

(More here.)

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