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What Japan’s ‘collective self-defence’ can mean to Philippines?

Publication Date : 02-07-2014

 

The Japanese military may soon be able to protect the Philippines in case of an attack after the ruling coalition gave approval Tuesday to reinterpret their constitution and allow “collective self-defence.”

“What we are trying to do now is to play a more proactive role in cooperating with regional countries in setting up a framework to protect the peace and stability of the region,” Takeshi Iwaya, a lawmaker who chairs a ruling party research commission on security, was quoted as saying in an article by the Associated Press.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino, in a previous meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, had backed the move saying Japan should be allowed to assist other nations in need, especially with rising tensions brought by China’s aggressive territorial claims.

“We believe that nations of goodwill can benefit only if the Japanese government is empowered to assist others and is allowed to come to the aid of those in need, especially in the area of collective self-defence,” Aquino said in a statement released June 24 after his talks with Abe.

“We therefore do not view with alarm any proposal to revisit the Japanese constitution if the Japanese people so desire, especially if this enhances Japan’s ability to address its international obligations and brings us closer to … our shared goals of peace, stability and mutual prosperity,” Aquino said.

The Japanese constitution, which was written under the direction of the United States (US) after Japan’s defeat at the end of World War II, “renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation.”

Japan has maintained a “Self-Defence Force” since 1954 which focuses on the country’s national security concerns.

US has expressed the move towards “collective self-defence” as it continues its rebalance to Asia policy.

China however, harshly criticised Japan accusing it of military expansionism. Both countries are locked in a bitter territorial dispute over the Senkaku islands, which China claims as the Diaoyu Islands.

The Philippines is also in a maritime dispute with China over the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea and the Scarborough Shoal off the coast of Zambales province.

Japan and the US are the two allies of the Philippines and are also opposing China’s “ten-dash line” claim in the South China Sea.


 

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