Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Yoshiko Sakurai

【#228】Japan Should Enhance Spirit and Strength This Year

Yoshiko Sakurai / 2014.01.09 (Thu)

January 7, 2014

Abe's Yasukuni visit is the first step to end the postwar regime
      This year, Japan should fight against every difficulty cleverly and gallantly, instead of escaping from it.
      "We should take advantage of the changing times to further promote national debate to revise the interpretation of and amend the Constitution," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at his New Year’s press conference.
      Japan now should brush off any sophomoric priority-oriented approach and squarely face off against every pending matter. We should go beyond assertion and prepare for acting.
      Amending the Japanese Constitution and allowing Japan's exercise of its collective self-defense right are indispensable not only for resolving present crises including that of the Senkaku Islands but also for reconstructing Japan's state foundation. The true goal should be to achieve constitutional amendments to end the postwar regime. We should take to heart that only Japan can take responsibility for its own survival.
      In this sense, Prime Minister Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine at the end of last year was very significant as the first step to terminate the postwar regime.

Brace for changes in U.S.-China relationship
      This year, Japan should closely watch U.S. and Chinese developments. Chinese President Xi Jinping has made fast progress in his concentration of power. China decided last autumn to create the State Security Committee to integrate the Communist Party, the military and the government. The Armed Police Force is being reorganized under direct control by the Central Military Committee. President Xi will chair the new committee as well as the Central Military Committee.
      The 2.2-million-strong People's Liberation Army and the 1.2 million-strong Armed Police Force will be put under control of President Xi who has encouraged them to become the forces that would win every war. The Chinese president, who seeks to achieve a revival of the great Chinese race on the strength of the military power, proposed a new model of major power relations to the United States last June.
      The U.S. attitude on the Pacific has been remarkably inconsistent. Last March, the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command cited climate change as the biggest threat to the Asia-Pacific region, prompting observers to suspect that the United States could turn a blind eye to China's military expansion. In a speech at Georgetown University last November 21, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice referred to the new model of major power relations proposed by Chinese President Xi, allowing analysts to speculate that the United States could take up the proposal.
      Under such circumstances, China abruptly set up its air defense identification zone in the East China Sea on November 23. On December 5, a Chinese warship closed its distance with the U.S. Navy's Cowpens guided- missile cruiser to only 100 yards.
      While Chinese President Xi has inclined toward a hardline attitude taken as adventurism, U.S. President Barack Obama has left his spirit or his strategy on China unclear.
      Japan has to consider its strategy while bracing for qualitative changes in the U.S.-China relationship. This year, Japan should enhance its spirit and strength while making every effort to solidify its alliance with the United States.

Yoshiko Sakurai is President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.