Alarming signs of Japan's rearmament

2013-08-07 04:06:22 GMT2013-08-07 12:06:22(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Yuan Zhenyu

BEIJING, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Japan held a peace memorial Tuesdayin Hiroshima to mark the 68th anniversary of a U.S. atomic bombing,which caused massive casualties and severe property damage.

On the same day, in a not-so-peaceful ceremony, Japan unveiledat a port near Tokyo the largest warship of its MaritimeSelf-Defense Force.

The giant vessel was named Izumo, namesake of a Japanese cruiseronce used during the invasion of China in the early 20thcentury.

Although it's called a "helicopter-equipped destroyer," the newvessel, with a length of 248 meters and a weight of 19,500 tons, ismuch more like an aircraft carrier.

Being able to accommodate 14 helicopters, the ship is alsoavailable for the U.S. Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. With minormodifications, it can be remodeled to a fully-functioning aircraftcarrier, which is generally considered as offensive weapons andtherefore prohibited by the Japanese constitution.

The Article 9 of Japan's current constitution reads that "land,sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never bemaintained."

So launching such a de facto aircraft carrier is in flagrantviolation of the pacifist clause, and another alarming sign as theJapanese government is mulling to ditch the pacifist constitutionand bolster the country's military forces.

In an earlier provocation which incurred strong protest fromboth inside Japan and neighboring countries, Japanese Deputy PrimeMinister Taro Aso said last week that Japan could "learn from thetechnique" that Nazi Germany used to alter the Weimarconstitution.

The gaffe-prone Japanese politician seemed to suggest that, justas the Nazi regime clandestinely rebuilt a formidable army, Japancould quietly bolster its military without drawing public attentionor criticism.

In the eyes of many in the region, the launch of Izumo, namesakeof a sunken WWII Japanese warship, and Aso's proposal on picking upNazi tactics, indicate an attempt to resurrect the skeletons ofJapan's inglorious militaristic past.

Thus, there are enough reasons for the international communityto be wary of a potential revival of Japan's militarism.

Japan's covert rearmament cause under the disguise of"self-defense" would drag Asian countries into an arms race,threatening the region's stability.

During the Hiroshima peace ceremony, Japanese Prime Minister AbeShinzo vowed to ensure that "the horror and devastation caused bynuclear weapons are not repeated."

To do so, Japan must reflect upon its history of aggression,stop rearmament, and return to the path of peace. Enditem

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