Japan’s move away from pacifism closely watched by region

shinzo abe japan

Sept 28, 2015 (LBO) – Japan’s move away from pacifism under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have regional repercussions, as the country looks towards an expanded military role, analysts say.

Thousands of people protested in Tokyo as controversial bills that relaxed a ban on arms exports, aimed to develop weapons and increase the defense budget passed on September 19.

Although Japanese defence stocks such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. have fallen so far this year, a Goldman Sachs analyst said she was bullish on the shares over the long term — this is given regional tensions especially with China over the South China Sea and East China Sea.

Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, introduced after the Second World War, states that: “Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.”

“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized,” article 9 also states.

The new laws introduced by conservative Abe will allow a broader interpretation of what the constitution means, and does not permit so-called “proactive pacifism,” according to media reports.

On September 24, the prime minister’s ‘Abenomics’ kicked in with a pledge of monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reform to stimulate the steady state economy.