World / Asia-Pacific

Abe's Faustian flirtation with specter of war

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-01 13:25

BEIJING -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leading his country down a dangerous path as his cabinet is poised to approve on Tuesday a so-called constitutional "reinterpretation" that essentially guts Japan's pacifist charter.

The imminent revision of the long-standing rendition of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese constitution will overturn the ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense and pave the way for Japanese forces to fight abroad in defense of "countries with close ties."

The change not only marks a radical turnabout from Tokyo's postwar security posture, but also amounts to a blatant betrayal of the pacifism enshrined in Japan's constitution.

The Japanese general public is clear-eyed and alarmed. Poll after poll has shown that most Japanese are opposed to Abe's attempt to eviscerate the constitution. Demonstrations against tampering with the bedrock constitutional principles have taken place across the country, and in Tokyo a man even set himself afire in protest.

Yet the public opinion failed to shame Abe out of his Faustian scheme. He has chosen to turn a deaf ear to the voices of the people and sneaked ahead with a treacherous trick: Instead of amending the constitution above board, a broad-based process his bid is unlikely to survive, he has opted to reinterpret it with a single decision of his cabinet.

No matter how Abe glosses over it, he is dallying with the specter of war through a cheap scam but at the dear cost of the souls not only of his own but also of the entire Japanese nation. For with the limits on the use of force for collective self-defense vaguely defined, Japan might be thrown into undeserved wars by some hot-headed or near-sighted politicians at the top.

The potential consequences of Abe's shenanigans do not stop at the water's edge. His trickery also poses a menace to regional security, particularly given his refusal to face up to Japan's historical aggressions, his increasingly assertive behavior in relations with Japan's neighbors, and his connivance in the revival of the devilish militarism that once wrecked Asia and devoured Japan itself.

On the broader background, Asia is already plagued with simmering tensions in the wake of the United States' "pivot" to Asia and the increasing bellicosity of the opportunistic likes of Japan and the Philippines, among other challenges and uncertainties.

With the constitutional runaround, the Abe administration -- a recidivist troublemaker in regional affairs -- is adding more malevolent variables to the already daunting task of safeguarding regional peace and stability. In a nutshell, he is clipping the fuse of a powder keg partly of his own making.

In Goethe's version of the German legend, angels saved Faust's soul from Mephistopheles. In view of Abe's perilous obsession, it is high time the Japanese people and the international community jerked Abe back to sense and stopped him from further befouling Japan's national ethos and undermining regional security.

Related stories:

Abe skirts constitution to wake up dormant war machine

Majority of Japanese oppose collective self-defense: polls

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