Monday, July 10, 2006

Bad News

Japan said Monday it was considering whether a pre-emptive strike on North Korea's missile bases would violate its constitution, signaling a hardening stance ahead of a possible Security Council vote.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters his government wants a vote on the measure "as soon as possible."

"I think we must send a message that's as clear as possible" to North Korea, he said....

Japan's constitution bars the use of military force in settling international disputes and prohibits Japan from maintaining a military for warfare. Tokyo has interpreted that to mean it can have armed troops to protect itself.
Article 9 says pretty clearly that "Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes." Of course, it also says no military will be maintained, so the Japanese have already blown a pretty big hole in their own constitution. Ah well. What's truly funny is that the Japanese government seems to have taken a page out of the Bush Iran policy - threaten attacks that can't possibly work:
A Defense Agency spokeswoman, however, said Japan has no offensive weapons such as ballistic missiles that could reach North Korea.

Japanese fighter jets and pilots are not capable of carrying out such an attack, a military analyst said.

"Japan's air force is top class in defending the nation's airspace, but attacking another country is almost impossible," said analyst Kazuhisa Ogawa. "Japan has no capacity to wage war."
One thing's for sure: Japan was already pretty likely to remove Article 9 from the Constitution anyway. This whole pissing match with North Korea has made that a certainty.

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