Thursday, March 22, 2018

Peaceful Heisei

Japan's present "Heisei Era" (平成時代) will not last past April next year. This era of "peace everywhere" is due to end 30 April 2019, at Heisei 31. The yet-unnamed next era will begin 1st May 2019 (or before) -- we can only hope it will be peaceful & offer new opportunities.

Since the end of WWII in 1945, Japan has enjoyed many benefits from relatively low defense spending and de-emphasized militarism. Change is coming.

The present government of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is eager to alter Japan's international profile, and promises to develop the military. The public until now has been largely apathetic, and high-profile activism is rare. Some 75 years after the end of WWII, Japanese militarism may soon make a combative comeback.

Will Japan be better if tougher and more belligerent?

The view from Sweden is not encouraging. We see Japan as unlikely to militarily outperform major potential opponents: China, Russia, the USA.

Japan's other political and commercial alliances, such as with ASEAN or the EU, are unlikely to markedly improve if Japan becomes heavily armed. Considering also assorted reactions by Korea (North & South), we wonder who in fact would surely benefit from remilitarized Japan? The beneficiary list is short: arms dealers; perhaps distant strategists in Washington DC or Israel; corrupt Japanese politicos bribed in advance; etc.?

Emphasizing neutrality, or science & technology, Japan might better emulate Switzerland or Sweden. Creatively developing a distinct transnational leadership platform for Japan is greatly superior to simply becoming one more militarist nation. Will we look back in longing to the relative well-being of these past decades, as Japan slips into martial reorganization and aggressive ultra-nationalism? I hope not... but the Japanese people are deciding, with the luxurious choice of apathy a dwindling option.

(1939) What future five years hence: Year of Rabbit, 2023