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Tue. October 23, 2018
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Japan’s Strain Over Island Dispute
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By Marian Fakhry

The Senkaku Islands, located west of Okinawa, Japan; have prompted a wave of disputes between China and Japan due to its potential natural reserves. As tensions rise, Japan faces a sizable dilemma of honoring its pacifist stance in the global arena. Meanwhile, China continues to drive expansion into territorial claims filled with fossil fuels such as oil and gas supply. Japan faces a re-occurring challenge of tackling political and strategic stability while maintaining the “peace clause” outlined in article 9 of its constitution. As neighboring China rapidly develops their military capital over territorial claims in the East China Sea; a clash will ultimately drive a shift in the balance of power in East Asia.

The Potsdam Declaration, defining terms for Japanese surrender in World War Two, outlined the fundamentals of Japan having self-defense forces for international peacekeeping operations. However, diplomatic attention has been called into question as Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe looks to reform legislation geared towards a more deliberate military strategy. This is nothing new for Japan.  Back in the late 1990s a more active approach in revising its Constitution was taken without much traction. Currently, the rise of China has helped ignite public opinion to revise Japan’s constitution.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has been slowly deterring any efforts of conflict directed from China. Such a tall order for Mr. Shizo Abe to undertake in amending the existing constitution, nevertheless it is critical for Japan to revisit the “peace clause” in order to have a prevailing military response force.

The East China Sea dispute arguably sets the stage for the next regional war as it provides a critical shift in military and economic strength. One can argue that China’s territorial dispute threatens not only Japan’s sovereignty for a peaceful existence but the relationship it holds with the United States.  With the projected power dynamics, the United States plays an integral part in the strategic rebalancing of Asia.

Marian Fakhry holds a Master of Arts degree in Central and Eastern European Studies with a specialty in Intelligence and Security Policy from LaSalle University. She is a member of Women in Homeland Security, the Critical Thinking Association, and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.

 

 

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