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Japan's attempt to revise constitution could start arms race: scholar
Central News Agency
2014-07-05 10:14 PM
Taipei, July 5 (CNA) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempts to reinterpret Japan's anti-war constitution and lift the ban on the right of collective self-defense could start an arms race, a Taiwanese scholar warned Saturday. Philip Yang, president of the Association of International Relations, said lifting the ban would be tantamount to forming a new Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, turning the unilateral military alliance into a bilateral one. Japan can now only provide limited logistics and base assistance, but it would be able to engage in military intervention under the name of collective self-defense, he said at a forum sponsored by his association. That means Japan could intercede if other countries come under attack, "very probably in the South China Sea" and its disputed waters if it considers the security of allied countries to have an effect on Japan, especially in terms of maritime safety. Chen Yung-feng, an assistant professor at Tunghai University, said at the forum that there is already a hint of violent conflict brewing in East Asia, comparing the current situation to the conditions before the First Sino-Japanese war of 1894-1895. Ho Szu-shen, director of Fu Jen Catholic University's Center for Japan Studies, said that Abe's attempts to change his nation's constitution have been given tacit approval by the United States. Yang cautioned that Abe's moves do not mean Taiwan will benefit from an armed Japan because the Japanese cabinet's resolution states that its armed forces can respond if Japan is under attack or "countries" with close relations to Japan are under attack. But he noted that Taiwan is not a country in Japan's eyes, meaning the revised constitution would not mean any obligation to help Taiwan. Ho, meanwhile, urged the public to support a powerful Navy for Taiwan to ensure its national defense. (By Claudia Liu and Lilian Wu)
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