Record-high defense budget looms large Shinzo Abe's militarism dream

Zhang Tao

BEIJING, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- With some Japanese media hyping an assertive China and missile threat from Pyongyang, the Japanese government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is maneuvering to pass a record-high defense budget in fiscal 2017 to prop up their patriarch's militarism dream.

However, the 5.1 trillion yen (44.64 billion U.S. dollar) defense budget runs counter to the Japanese people's desire for peace and security, as the fundamental and righteous path to tranquillity lies not in a lust for military force, but in a good-neighborly relationship built upon mutual trust and understanding.

Given the dark role Japan had played during the Second World War and beyond, Tokyo's fifth consecutive year increase of the military budget does nothing at all in trust-building with its neighbors. On the contrary, it serves as the cap lifter of a nightmare of Japanese militarism revival.

The envisaged increase of the defense budget, together with a planned establishment of a panel on installing a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Japan, is part of the efforts made by the Japanese government towards a "normal country."

However, such measures, along with the revision of Japan's pacifist Constitution, have further drifted Japan away from the path towards a normal country, making it a mission impossible.

Meanwhile, the upcoming increase of the military budget comes against Japan's efforts to cut back its spending on social welfare and education.

According to local media's estimation, to encounter a fast aging society, Japan needs to add 64 billion yen ( 560 million dollars) into its social welfare budget, but the Abe administration plans to condense the increase to 50 billion yen (440 million dollars).

In addition, were it settled, the deployment of THAAD system will cost hundreds of billions of yen (billions of dollars), adding a new burden on the already austere budget system.

Protests inside Japan and from its neighbors have raised red signals to Abe and his right-leaning government. If the prime minister and his colleagues really want to make contributions to world peace and stability, as they have pledged repeatedly, they need to walk their talk.

If history offers any guide, a militarized and belligerent Japan is detrimental to the peace and stability in East Asia and the whole world at large. It's high time for the Japanese government to heed those red signals, bid farewell to its history revisionism and stop muddying the waters in the region.


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