Re-interpret the Constitution-Militarise the Region.

Parihaka 56Re-Interpret the Constitution-Militarise the Region.

Kevin P Clements

Shinzo Abe’s unilateral re-intrepretation of the Japanese Constitution was justified in terms of “Collective Defence”  particularly of the the Japanese homeland. What was not stated, however, in the official justifications  was that it also enables  Japan to  expand its defence industries   and  to securitise/militarise relationships with  allies and neighbours. The first  example of this was  the joint agreement in Australia  for Japan to supply defence technology for Australia’s new submarine fleet. The most recent , and more provocative example  was yesterday’s announcement  in Hanoi that Japan would give Vietnam 6 maritime patrol ships for patrols in the South China Sea. This is code  for stepping up the maritime containment of China and  for  providing  further  military weight to Japan’s competing  territorial claims against China. By these actions, Japan is currying military favour with neighbours so that they will support Japan’s desire for territorial expansion.

The offer, worth 500 million yen (£2.9 million, $5 million), was announced during a visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to Hanoi. Even though the  six boats are used vessels, they expand and underline Japan’s commitment to “militarised” relations with neighbours. They  are going to be  accompanied by training and equipment to help coastguard and fisheries surveillance which is another way of saying   Japan is giving Vietnam enhanced naval capacity to monitor  China’s fishing and naval activity in the South China sea.

What is curious about all of these initiatives is that they are  being justified  in terms of maintaining international law. Japan is generating a carefully contrived legitimation of its own territorial assertions, and its expanded military cooperation with neighbours  by arguing  that it is the defender  of international legal order and China  is the challenger.

Fumio Kishida  said that both Vietnam and Japan agree on “maintaining peace and stability” in regional waters, and that future disputes must be settled “in accordance with international law”.

The problem is, however, that China sees these actions as an assertion of Japanese territorial right, quiet sabre rattling  and a deep Japanese commitment  to securitising political relationships in North East Asia. They are also seen as part of the  wider United States containment of China . In any event, they are not helpful to the promotion of peaceful relationships in the region. They do not build confidence between the nations of the region and  they are promoting policies that are reminiscent of the worst days of the 20th century rather than more enlightened  days in the 21st. I hope that there are strong political voices and parties in Japan who will return Japan to a more creative role as a peaceloving and  “pacifist” nation in North East Asia.


About kevinclements2012

Short CV Professor Kevin P Clements. I am the Foundation Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand and Secretary General of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy. Prior to taking up these positions I was the Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia . I went to Queensland from International Alert where I was Secretary General from January 1999 to September 2003. International Alert is one of the world’s largest NGOs working on conflict transformation. It pioneered innovative policy and practical approaches to conflict prevention and transformation in Africa ,Eurasia and Asia . It has also made a major contribution to the mainstreaming of conflict prevention within European Foreign and Development Ministries, the EU and a variety of UN institutions. During his time there I was on the Board of the European Centre for Conflict Prevention and past President of the European Peace Building Liaison Office in Brussels. Prior to becoming Secretary General of International Alert I was the Vernon and Minnie Lynch Chair of Conflict Resolution at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University Fairfax Virginia USA 1994-2000 and Director of the Institute from 1994-1999. My career has been a combination of academic analysis and practice in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. I was, for example, formerly Director of the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva and Head of the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra .Prior to this I was Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Coordinator of Peace Studies at Canterbury University, Christchurch New Zealand . My first academic position was as a lecturer in Sociology at Hong Kong University . I took up this position from a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Oxford University where I worked on development issues with Paul Streeten and others. I have been an advisor to the New Zealand, Australian , British , Swedish and Dutch governments on conflict prevention , peace, defence and security issues and advised the German Government and the OECD on States and Violence. I was, a member of the New Zealand Government’s Defence Committee of Enquiry in 1985 and I currently conducting Problem Solving Workshops in North East Asia with high level participants from Japan, China and Korea. Iwas President of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) from 1994-1998, President of the IPRA Foundation from 1995-2000 and Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Association. I was Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association 2008-2010. I got my B.A, B.A Hon ( First Class) and Ph.D in Sociology from Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand. and held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford from 1970-1971. I have been a regular consultant to a variety of non governmental and intergovernmental organisations on disarmament, arms control, conflict resolution, development and regional security issues and I have written or edited 7 books and over 160 chapters /articles on conflict transformation, peacebuilding, preventive diplomacy and development with a specific focus on the Asia Pacific region. Research Expertise 1. Peace Research Theory- Conflict and Conflict Resolution Theory . Preventive Diplomacy , Development and Peacebuilding 2. International and Regional Regimes-APEC, ASEAN, the ARF, ECOWAS 3. Political Sociology-International Organisations. Multilateral/bilateral negotiating processes. 4. Fragile States, Legitimacy and Political Hybridity 5. Alternative Defence and Security Policies-Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific region. 6. The politics and ethics of international humanitarian intervention 7. Altruism and Compassion In my spare time I like to paint with acrylics or pastels, go to the theatre, listen to classical music, visit art galleries etc!
This entry was posted in Arms Trade, Australia, China, Japan, Japanese Peace Constitution, North East Asian Security, The UNited States, US containment of China, Violence and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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