Over 60% of Japanese support acquiring counterstrike capability
Japanese are in favor of their country bolstering its defenses and acquiring the ability to launch counterstrikes.
Around 60% of the Japanese back the government's bid to acquire counterstrike capabilities against enemy bases, which would mark a step back for Tokyo from its pacifist beliefs, a poll conducted by the Japanese Kyodo news agency said on Sunday.
The survey, conducted over the phone throughout the weekend, found that 60.8% of respondents supported the move, with only 35% opposing it.
The poll interviewed 420 randomly selected households with eligible voters, as well as 615 mobile phone users. However, the total number of respondents is unspecified.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said last month that Tokyo would consider every option to ensure the protection of its citizens, including the possibility of retaliatory strikes.
Japan's competent authorities must provide three updated security documents by the end of 2022: the country's National Security Strategy, the National Defense Program Guidelines, and the Medium Term Defense Program.
This comes amid a time when Japan is going through a rough patch with its neighbors, namely China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
There have been several missile launches from the DPRK over October and November amid heightened tensions between China and the United States, a major ally of Japan's.
The recent wave of launches, according to DPRK, is in retaliation for US efforts to strengthen its defense of regional security allies South Korea and Japan.
Meanwhile, Tokyo has been escalating on its end as well. Yamagami Shingo, Japan's ambassador to Australia, said that Tokyo may be hosting the Royal Australian Navy's nuclear-powered submarines which is currently being acquired under the trilateral AUKUS arrangement.
The AUKUS alliance, formed in September 2021, stipulates that the UK and the US supply Australia with advanced technology to develop nuclear-powered submarines. China is targeted by the pact and has accused the US of running a "nuclear arms race" in the region.
Under the 1951 mutual defense treaty, Japan already hosts US nuclear-powered submarines. In this context, Shingo has described their acquisition by Canberra as a "critically important point", which enhanced "regional deterrence."
Washington, according to Shingo, is the most core security partner for Japan, and there are over 50,000 US troops in the country: "All this emphasis on alliances, relationships, and agreements shows that any arrangement involving the defense ties between Australia, the US, and the UK is bound to influence Japan’s defense and security sectors – in other words, what matters to you, matters to us too," Shingo stated.
On September 1st, a Chinese official criticized Japan for hyping up the "Chinese threat" and continuously developing its missile programs. Tokyo intends to abolish its pacifist constitution and return to the policy of military expansion. These actions send a concerning signal to the international community that Japan wants to challenge the global order that was established after the end of World War II.
Prior to WWII, Japan had a long history of military interventions in the Pacific. The enormous crimes imperialist Japan committed against the people of China during the second Sino-Japanese war from 1937-1945 cost possibly between 10 and 25 million Chinese civilians' lives.
These crimes have not been forgotten by China, especially since Japan has continuously refused to give any real apology for the crimes, provide compensation to the victims, or take a clear stand against this part of its history.