In 1946, following the end of World War II and the defeat of the Axis countries, Japan was being occupied by the Americans. During this time, the Allied Powers—the United States, Great Britain, and China—drew up what became called the Potsdam Declaration, which held the terms for Japan's unconditional surrender. This declaration included, among other things, a complete disarming of the Japanese army, so that the country could begin to work toward a “peacefully inclined and responsible government” (Wikipedia).
[...] In addition, should Japan begin to arm itself, especially in the area of nuclear weapons—which, although it is not being brought up as a major reason for amending the constitution, is inevitable—the effect would likely be an increase in military activity in both China and North Korea. The current situation with North Korea's nuclear capabilities makes clear the fact that this would be undesirable. If the United States put their nuclear assets in Japan, and if Japan began building nuclear capabilities of its own, it is almost inevitable that China and North Korea would continue to do the same—creating the potential for an arms race reminiscent of the Cold War. [...]
[...] In the years after the U.S. occupation of Japan, however, Japan's economy began to boom. Within the time period of one generation, Japan regained status as a great power—not through rebuilding its military, but by rebuilding its industries and reestablishing foreign trade (Calvocoressi, 2001). With no military to support and no foreign conquests to fund, Japan was able to focus on rebuilding its economy, causing their GNP to multiply twelve times. This is obviously one argument against rearming—the last decade has seen an economic slump for Japan, and spending billions of dollars to build up and aggressive military at this point would not likely be a boost to this situation. [...]
[...] Its lack of standing aggressive military forces has allowed it to remain relatively free from the struggles and devastations of international conflict; it has allowed the nation to rebuild its economy and become a world player again with great economical status. The constitution drafted by General Douglas MacArthur has provided safety and comfort for the Japanese people, who were devastated by the effects of World War II and nuclear attacks. The pressures from the United States, other world powers, and its own politicians have caused the nation to consider rewriting the constitution and rearming—but this would be a mistake. [...]
[...] In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized. Since 1947, when this constitution was put into action, Japan has had no standing military forces. The constitution provides for defense forces which allow Japan to protect itself against attacks from other nations, but aggressive military capabilities such as aircraft carriers, strategic bombers, and long-range missiles are strictly forbidden (Deming, 2004). [...]
[...] Japan has been relying on the United States for defense for years, and while the U.S. has had a strong influence in Japan, it has never attempted to control it or take away any of its democratic freedoms or nationality. Were Japan to undertake the amendment of this article in its constitution, it's very likely that the process would be expanded to include other parts of the document. The new generation of politicians doesn't remember the devastation of nuclear attack and the losses sustained in World War II; it would be much too quick to engage Japan in world affairs and re-enter into a war situation. [...]
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