Trump Wants Japan to Pay More for Its Own Defense. Japan’s Elections May Make It Happen.

By NTK Staff | 10.23.2017 @3:00pm
Trump Wants Japan to Pay More for Its Own Defense. Japan’s Elections May Make It Happen.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, an early ally of President Donald Trump on the world stage, was “buoyed by a huge electin win” this weekend that may lead to a revision of Japan’s “post-war, pacifist constitution,” according to reports. Reuters reported on Monday morning: Parties in favor of amending the U.S.-drafted charter won nearly 80 […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, an early ally of President Donald Trump on the world stage, was “buoyed by a huge electin win” this weekend that may lead to a revision of Japan’s “post-war, pacifist constitution,” according to reports.

Reuters reported on Monday morning:

Parties in favor of amending the U.S.-drafted charter won nearly 80 percent of the seats in Sunday’s lower house election, media counts showed.

…Abe proposed last May adding a clause to Article 9 to legitimize Japan’s Self-Defence Force. Read literally, Article 9 bans a standing military but has been interpreted to allow armed forces exclusively for self defense.

Parliament enacted laws in 2015 allowing Japan to exercise collective self-defense, or aid allies under attack, based on a reinterpretation of the constitution rather than a formal revision.

Japan’s pacifist constitution is part of why the U.S. pays so much for defense there, according to The Japan Times:

After Japan’s surrender in World War II in 1945, the U.S. occupied Japan until April 1952.

During the Occupation, the U.S. demilitarized Japan and drafted the postwar war-renouncing Constitution, which prohibited Japan from possessing a military.

The Japan Times also reported, in May 2016, that the U.S. spent $5.47 billion on defense in Japan in fiscal year (FY) 2016. Japan’s “direct” and “indirect” support of U.S. military efforts, meanwhile, is worth about 80 percent of that ($4.38 billion).

Since taking office, President Trump has had a good relationship with Abe and Japan, citing “productive talks” during Abe’s first visit in February:

Trump tweeted in September that he would allow Japan “to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States,” a possible hint at how the military relationship between the two countries may shift.

Japan is at least years away from formally revising its constitution, according to Reuters.

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