Japan holds military ceremony on Yonaguni island the day before Japan’s constitutional reforms take effect

Just in case observers missed the significance of March 29, 2016 it is the date that begins Japan’s decision to overrule its constitution on Japan’s military capabilities. So it was no coincidence that Japan held a ceremony on the island of Yonaguni on Monday, March 28, 2016, a day before the changes take effect to Japan’s constitution allowing Japan to deploy its military outside of Japan. The first deployment was to Yonaguni island to counter China’s growing military encroachment in the region.

Source: PressTV

Japan enfroces constitutional reforms, can now fight in overseas wars

Tuesday March 29, 2016

Japanese soldiers stand at attention during the opening ceremony of a military base on the island of Yonaguni, March 28, 2016. (Photos by Reuters)

Reforms to Japan’s formerly pacifist constitution have taken effect, allowing the country’s military to potentially engage in wars overseas.

The changes to the country’s defense policy took effect on Tuesday. The bill proposing them had been approved by the parliament last September.

The reforms fundamentally reshape the constitution, which stressed non-intervention in foreign military conflicts ever since the World War II.

The constitution now allows Japan’s military forces to participate in foreign operations in order to protect allies such as the United States even if there was no direct threat to Tokyo.

The law “is vital to prevent wars and protect the people’s lives and livelihoods amid an increasingly severe security environment surrounding our country,” claimed Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a news conference.

He added that the Japanese government will try to preserve the peace “through diplomacy and there is no change at all in our policy of proactive diplomacy for that purpose.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has claimed that the reforms are necessary to meet new challenges in the region.

Critics, however, believe that the modifications would damage 70 years of Japanese pacifism as the revisions alter the 1945 constitution, which bared Tokyo from combat except in self-defense.

Several demonstrations were held across the country against the reform legislation, with protesters calling on Abe, who had proposed the bill, to step down.