RealNews

Japan Rethinks Military's Role

Time seems to have stood still at this base that was once home to the Imperial Japanese Navy: Black submarines flying the rising sun flag huddle in the morning mist, while sailors clamber over their gray-hulled warships. But outside the gates, Japan is rethinking decades-old attitudes about its military and the commitment to pacifism on which this nation rebuilt itself from the ashes of World War II. Reflecting the anxieties of a country concerned it can no longer take its security for granted, the issue has become a hot button as Japan prepares for parliamentary elections on Sunday. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has pledged to draft a proposal by 2005 to revise the 1947 constitution under which occupied Japan renounced armies, navies and the right to make war. Even the largest opposition party agrees on the need to debate the constitutional status of the nation’s military, which exists in a legal gray zone as a “self-defense force.” Full Story

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