The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPeter Lee Archive
Call It "Japanese Military Restoration"
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

After several rhetorical fits and starts, I’ve decided that the best description for the overall process of Japan’s recovery of its full security sovereignty (exports of military equipment and technology, alliances, collective self defense, offshore military adventures, etc.) is “military restoration”.

“Remilitarization” doesn’t fit for a country that was already a global top-ten military power.

“Security reconstruction”, apparently the Abe administration’s term of art, I think somewhat overstates the amount of heavy lifting needed to enable the Self Defense Force to operate effectively in Japan’s near beyond, especially since the US military isn’t going anywhere and is in a position to provide as much backup as any aspiring regional power would like.  It’s somewhat more than slapping new labels on a few airplanes and frigates; on the other hand, it’s not like Japan is turning the neighborhood watch into a global fighting force.

As to “becoming a normal country again” or “recovery of full sovereignty”, my personal feeling is that Japanese exceptionalism is as hardy a plant as American exceptionalism, especially among Japan’s ruling elites.  Japan’s end objective is not to become a normal, fully sovereign country like Belgium or the Philippines; it desires a regionally exceptional ability to project its power and get its way (like the United States and China).

As for “proactive pacifism”, sorry, I’m not going to go there.

“Military restoration”, on the other hand, I think fits the objective and process: Japan wants to restore its doctrine and capabilities to something resembling its situation in the early part of the 20th century when it was a respected and effective regional military power, before the military’s headlong assault on civilian rule and the unfortunate setbacks of the Pacific War.

I might point out that an alternative formulation, “security restoration” would highlight the contradiction that Japan is already quite secure thanks to the security treaty with the United States and the sizable US military presence.  Japan is not trying to “restore” its security; one might argue Japan is actually incrementally weakening its security in pursuit of military freedom of action vis a vis the PRC.

“Restoration” also gives a historical tip o’ the hat to another episode in which Japan extracted itself from under the shadow of foreign (actually, US–funny coincidence) domination to claim the initiative in East Asia: the Meiji Restoration.

I ruled out calling the 21st century process the “Abe Restoration” because it’s bigger than one man–way bigger–and I don’t want him to get a swelled head.

So, from now on, “military restoration” it is.  Herewith decreed on this eight day of January, two thousand and fourteen.

(Republished from China Matters by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Japan 
Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Peter Lee Comments via RSS
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?