Japan is in the midst of a gradual but significant shift to the right, acting more confrontationally in the region than at any time since World War II.
The shift applies strictly to Japan's foreign policy and military strategy, not social issues, and has been driven both by China's rapid maritime expansion - particularly its emphatic claims on contested territory - and by a growing sense here that Japan should recover the clout squandered amid two lost decades of economic stagnation.
Japan's shift can be seen in an increasingly muscular role for the nation's Self-Defense Forces (SDF), in a push among mainstream politicians to revise key portions of the pacifist constitution and in a new willingness to clash with China, particularly in the East China Sea, where U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said this week he was "concerned about conflict."
But analysts stress that Japan, even with its rightward shift, still remains ambivalent about its military; Japan is merely moving toward the center, they say, after decades of being perhaps the world's most pacifist advanced nation.
"The post-World War II Japan policy was to be low-key
and cooperation-oriented," said Narushige Michishita, a self-
described moderate and a security expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. "We tried to avoid any confrontation or friction with surrounding countries. . . . But there's a widespread feeling in the minds of Japanese people that being nice didn't work out."
Polls suggest Japanese are increasingly concerned about security and feel their country faces an outside threat. According to government data collected earlier this year, 25 percent think Japan should increase its military strength, compared with 14 percent three years ago and 8 percent in 1991.
China's television regulator has ordered a crackdown on dramas about the country's battles with Japan during and before World War Two and demanded they be more serious, state media said on Friday, following viewer complaints about ludicrous storylines. (Reuters )
Shukan Post (May 24) conveys the difficulties experienced by other parts of the adult-entertainment biz in servicing customers from the communist nation.
A deri heru (“delivery health”) call-girl tells the tabloid that she is often requested to arrive at major hotels in the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro entertainment areas of Tokyo by Chinese visitors. (Tokyo Reporter)