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Japan’s Return to “Normalcy” amid SARS COV-2 Pandemic

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03.06.2020

In Japan, the process of returning to “normalcy” is often tied with the desire of the nation’s leadership to remove limitations imposed on the country by Article 9 of its pacifist constitution adopted in 1947 under (to put it mildly) “pressure” from the US-led occupation administration. And according to a more radical viewpoint, the draft of this document for post-war Japan was in fact written at the headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur, the head of the occupation administration.

It is important to point out that Japan used the limitations, imposed on it by its recent enemy, to its benefit in a brilliant manner. By using them as an excuse, Tokyo has managed to avoid becoming involved in numerous US “escapades” since World War II. And such a stance has often openly angered the United States (as for example during the Gulf War (1990-1991)).

During the post-war era, Japan almost completely focused on rebuilding its war-torn self and on the rapid economic development that followed, the nation also took advantage of a role as a logistics and manufacturing center which it quite often played in the aforementioned escapades. And today, Japan has de facto already become one of the leading nations of the world on account of the size of its economy (the third largest on the planet), which has essentially been playing a key role at the current stage of the global geopolitical game.

In the past decades, whenever a suitable opportunity arose, the National Diet of Japan passed a number of bills, which unbeknownst to others have essentially begun to erode the constitutional limits, as they apply within the nation and in the rest of the world.

The author thinks that completely repealing Article 9 (or amending it in a way that invalidates its current provisions) is inevitable, and that such an act may simply serve to officially confirm the changes to the constitution already in place. After all, for Japan, the process of returning to “normalcy” does not only entail gradually transforming its defense sector into a format “common to” other nations.

Japan (as the rest of the world) did not miss out on an opportunity presented by the SARS COV-2 pandemic, which serves as an unequivocal message and warning to humanity. And on April 7, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe used it for political “gain” (on the domestic front) by declaring a state of emergency in response to the Coronavirus outbreak for the first time since the Second World War.

It initially applied to Tokyo and six other prefectures (e.g. Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, “which border the capital, Osaka and neighboring........

© New Eastern Outlook