(UnitedVoice.com) – In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Europe restructured its security landscape in a matter of days. A longtime pacifist country since the end of World War II, Germany made serious changes to its defense spending, willingness to intervene in wartime matters, and its relationship with Russia. Germany isn’t the only post World War II country to consider changes to its defense after Russia’s aggression.
On March 1, Japan did something highly uncharacteristic for the peaceful country. It took steps to align with Western governments to pressure Russia and Belarus and aid Ukraine. Since Japan signed a peace treaty on September 8, 1951, it’s the first time the island nation has involved itself in any foreign conflict. It’s something no one expected or predicted.
Japan Offers Aid As It Considers Next Moves
Without any foreign pressure, Japan is stepping up its assistance in the fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin as he wages war against Ukraine. Recently, Japan said it would send bulletproof vests to Kyiv and accept Ukrainian refugees, which is historic considering Japan does not welcome refugees. It’s an unparalleled action for the pacifist nation to take, but regional antagonizers are provoking Japan to reconsider its ways. China’s military is growing more powerful and continually threatens Taiwan, and North Korea regularly fires test ballistic missiles in Japan’s direction.
Still, some experts believe Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian nuclear power plants sent a chilling message to Japan, which relies heavily on nuclear technology for its electric power grid. In recent days, the Japanese government began expressing skepticism that the United Nations could control aggressive member states through diplomacy and economic sanctions. The small nation’s leaders question whether they need to rethink Japan’s pacifist policies in light of a quickly evolving world.
Japan Considers Rebuilding Its Military
Japan’s constitution states it may not have a land, sea, or air force. Since World War II, the country adopted a strong non-military culture, and rebuilding the military could be a hard sell that would require a revision to the country’s constitution. Still, don’t be fooled: Japan has one of the most robust and capable defenses in the world. It owns around 1,000 warplanes (including cutting-edge F-35 fighter jets), submarines, and sea and ground-based ballistic missiles. Japan was the world’s ninth biggest spender on defense in 2018, and its defense rivals France and the United Kingdom.
Recently, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his country needs to significantly upgrade its defense capabilities, including asking the United States for nuclear weapon capabilities in its homeland.
While Germany re-establishes its military posture, Japan is watching closely. The debate about defense spending is controversial in Japan. Still, its leaders say it may be time to reconsider its national security policy in the wake of Russian and Chinese aggression.
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