Japan just approved a record 5 trillion yen defense budget: one which while paling by comparison to America's gargantuan defense spending, prompted Bloomberg to observe that "Japan gets ready to fight."
For decades, Japan was bound by its 1947 constitution to mobilize troops solely for self-defense. The country didn’t have the legal right to send armed troops abroad to protect its own people or back up allies who come under attack.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is determined to change this Cold War arrangement, which was imposed by the U.S. during its postwar occupation of Japan. Today the country faces a far more complex set of threats than the Soviet invasion that it feared 70 years ago. Islamic State has pledged more attacks to punish Japan’s decision to extend $200 million in humanitarian aid to countries battling the extremists who hold sway over large sections of Syria and Iraq.
Abe, a defense hawk and the scion of a prominent political family, has embarked on an overhaul of national security strategy.
In an historic step, his cabinet last year approved the exports of military equipment and conducted a legal review that concluded Japan had the right to deploy its military power abroad to protect its citizens and back up allies under attack.
In addition, the cabinet favored loosening limits on when Japan’s Self-Defense Forces could use deadly force during United Nations peacekeeping operations and international incidents near Japan that fall short of full-scale war.
Bloomberg's conclusion: "If Abe’s national security makeover succeeds, Japan’s evolution into a “normal state,” as LDP strategists say, will get a big boost."
Of course, "normal" is being generous: as those who follow Japan's economic collapse are well-aware, between Abenomics and its demographic implosion, Japan is now the first officially failed "Keynesian" state. And sadly, it is the fact that Japan's economic situation is now as bad if not worse compared to where it was in 1940 that makes it the biggest threat: because as Greece is demonstrating currently, it is not until "you have lost everything, that you are free to do anything."
Japan has almost lost everything. It still has its precious Nikkei but that is one major central bank debacle away from total implosion. And then what?
Which brings us to our original question: is Japan actively preparing for war... or, just like in 1940s, is the stage being set by "someone" to "force" Japan to declare war on "someone", once the next and final pillar from underneath its economic house of cards - a house of cards that has only gotten worse when Japan followed the US fed into terminal currency devaluation courtesy of the BOJ's money printer - is finally pulled?