Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Road to remilitarize Japan dangerous

By Zhang Jingwei (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-22 09:06

As if that was not enough, the US has further complicated the regional situation. It seems the US' support, rather than Abe's personal efforts, made the Japanese lower house pass the security bills despite people's opposition.

The "pivot to Asia" policy of the US is aimed at containing China, for whose success it needs Japan to supplement its lack of strategic power in the region. On the other hand, Japan needs the US to expedite the process of becoming a "normal" country.

The disputes over China's Diaoyu Islands and resources in the East China Sea have escalated because of the US' apparent support to Japan to abandon its pacifist position, which incidentally the US imposed after WWII.

Japan's trumpeting of the "China threat" theory is in line with the US' plan to raise Southeast Asian countries' concerns over China's rise. And all that Japan needs to become a "normal" country seems to be provided by the US. This "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" policy followed by Washington and Tokyo is holding regional stability to ransom.

The US-Japan combination is vitiating the atmosphere in the Asia-Pacific region, ignoring the fact that despite being a US ally, the ROK holds views similar to China on Japan's past.

Abe's Aug 14 statement means the three countries in Northeast Asia - China, the ROK and Japan - have missed another opportunity to build mutual trust - in fact, it shows the trust deficit between the two sides has widened.

The three countries should have used the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII to make Northeast Asia a model of cooperation and development. But Abe's refusal to accept the truth and abandon his dream of turning Japan into a big military power again have allowed the occasion to go to waste. Abe should know, however, that with two hassled neighbors, Japan's road toward becoming a "normal" country is full of thorns and thistles.

The author is a researcher in international relations at Charhar Institute.

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