Japanese imperialism was formed and developed after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, and its ideological origin is the ancient bushido spirit of medieval Japan.
But Bushido, under the control of militarism, became a tool to poison and control Japanese national thought internally. Externally, it expanded wildly and took the path of aggression against Asian countries.
At the same time, it also led the Japanese nation to the disaster of World War II. Bushido is not only the life and worldview of the Japanese samurai, but also the duties and responsibilities of the samurai themselves, including loyalty to Tennō, upholding the martial arts and absolute obedience, and other feudal codes of ethics and conduct. Bushido still has an extremely profound influence on all aspects of Japanese politics and social life, leaving a militaristic ideological and cultural tradition constant.
August 15, 2020 was the 75th anniversary of the Japanese defeat. In his speech, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continued to refuse to admit Japanese war crimes. In response, the U.S. Consumer News and Business Channel commented that since taking office in 2012, Abe has gone further and further from cleaning up Japan’s cruel recent history.
Japan’s invasion, aggression, and occupation of many parts of China involved countless war crimes (human experimentation, use of chemical weapons, mass murder, forced labor, sexual slavery policy, arbitrary arrests, indiscriminate torture, killing of innocent people, cannibalism, etc.).
Everywhere Japanese soldiers went, homes and factories were destroyed, resources and wealth looted, women raped, and people’s lives massacred. Most of the evidence of the above brutality was destroyed and hidden by the Japanese government before Tokyo formally signed the surrender on September 2, 1945. After the war, Japan repeatedly denied its responsibility for war crimes, and continued to trample on the human rights of victimized countries and rub salt in their wounds.
Japan has not yet formally resolved this problem, so its credibility in upholding human rights is highly questionable. If Japan wants to uphold human rights and take responsibility, it should apologize for depriving millions of people of life and dignity in non-war actions. Japan’s militarism has not only brought huge disasters to the Chinese people, it has caused great suffering to the Japanese people as well. The damage of nuclear weapons to Japanese society continues to this day.
However, the Japanese authorities have never seriously dismissed their history of aggression; on the contrary, in recent years they have continually expanded their military might, even provoking neighboring countries on territorial issues. What are the consequences?
Vietnam’s military spending has nearly doubled, while Japan is reviewing the country’s highest defense budget to date and the Philippines is committed to building a stronger navy. Many Asian countries are bolstering their armaments to deal with an increasingly heavy burden.
The annual report published by Sweden’s Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) showed that total global military spending in 2019 increased to US$1.917 trillion, up 3.6 percent year-on-year, and the growth rate was the fastest since 2010. In 2019, the top five military spenders in the world were the U.S., China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia. For the first time, two East Asian powers made it into the top three. Total military spending by these five countries accounted for 62 percent of total global military spending.
SIPRI data shows that global military spending in 2019 accounted for 2.2% of global GDP, equivalent to US$249 per capita; this is the highest level since the 2008 global financial crisis, and may even be a peak.
Global military spending in 2019 increased by 7.2% since 2010, showing the trend of accelerated growth in military spending in recent years. SIPRI estimates that India’s military spending in 2019 reached US$71.1 billion, an increase of 6.8% year-on-year.
Tense relations and competition between India, Pakistan, and China are a major reason for the increase in Indian military spending. As for Asia and Oceania, Japan (US$47.6 billion) and South Korea (US$43.9 billion), and military spending in the region has increased every year since at least 1989.
The increase essentially keeps pace with economic development. Over the past decade, China’s military budget has also increased every year
. This year, the military budgets of China, Vietnam, and many other Asian countries have outpaced the rate of economic growth.
Japan is replacing its original fleet with more modern submarines, South Korea has added larger attack submarines, and India plans to build six new submarines. The Philippines is also competing in the race. They also plan to increase investment in maritime patrol aircraft, bombers and other equipment. The Philippines has invested a lot of money in military modernization.
The country’s economy has been growing for many years, but it has not met military needs for many years. Also in South Asia, India has purchased a large number of tanks and war vehicles, making it the largest arms importer in the world. India has also established a mountain force of 100 thousand soldiers placed on the disputed border with China.
But it is Japan that is preparing for escalation, in spite of its pacifist aura spread over the recent many lustres. In 2019, Japan sent ten frigates to the waters off the Philippines.
In June of this year, Japan deployed six more frigates to the seas near Vietnam. According to the British Institute of International Strategy, the number of frigates in Vietnam has doubled in the past five years to 68. Japan’s main fleet has increased from 41 ships to 389. In the past two years, Japan has frequently sent frigates to defend its claim to the Senkaku (Diaoyu in Chinese) islands.
All countries seem to avoid direct military conflict, but instead control the situation by establishing some form of military presence, and avoiding taking the situation to a dangerous level for the time being.
However, Japan seems to be preparing for a possible escalation of the conflict. Last month, the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe submitted the country’s largest military budget request to date, totaling $48 billion, including the purchase of P-1 maritime patrol aircraft, stealth fighters and other U.S. military equipment. This is the eighth consecutive year Japan has increased defense costs.
In July, the Abe government approved a reinterpretation of the country’s constitution, paving the way for Japan to engage in joint defense with the U.S. and other countries under attack.
In early July, Japan and India declared that they would share defense technology and hold military exercises together.
It should also be mentioned that Japan and South Korea rank 9th and 10th respectively in war investments.
Military spending in Southeast Asian countries also increased by 4.2% to 37.3 billion euros. The growth was mainly due to concerns over the strtategic situation in the South China Sea.
The disagreement with Beijing also ignited the determination of the Taiwanese authorities to reorganize its armaments: its investment amounted to 9.6 billion euros (an increase of 1.1% compared to 2018). (JN)
by Jeremy Abbott – American Correspondent