Me and my homegirl were watching a US TV documentary about Japan’s army. Apparently, without anyone noticing, they built an army of 180,000 soldiers, and the 5th biggest budget on the planet. This despite Article 9 of their constitution, which says they can’t have an army (the constitution was basically written by General MacArthur after he conquered Japan, so the emphasis was on disarmament). Turns out, upon reading the Article 9 fine print, they CAN have an army, but only for “self defense.” In practice, this means that
a) they can have like 1,000 battleships, but they can’t be nuclear powered.
b) They can get like 1,000 tanks, but the tanks have to cost less than the annual expense of Pachinko.
c) They can send their troops to like 15 countries across the globe, from Philipines to Iraq, but the troops can’t kill anyone, and
d) The civilian government, not army generals, is in charge of all command decisions, but the government is run by the same zaibatsu crooks that started WW2 in the first place.
Not exactly reassuring. But on the other hand, you can see why both left- and right-wing motherfuckers would want some clarification on that.
Anyway, the documentary, called JAPAN’S ABOUT FACE, is rad — informative, and presenting both sides to the story, the pro-9 side and the anti-9 side. Naturally I asked my friend if they had anything like that on Japanese TV, and without even hesitating, she said, “No. that would never be allowed! It’s scary!” “You mean, the Army is scary? Or the idea of discussing whether-or-not-to-have-an-army is scary?” “It’s all scary!” That pissed me off way more than the right-wing politics and militarism.
I mean,I totally understand why some Japanese want their own army –shit, everyone does — but come on. Japanese TV is so desperate for ways to kill time that half their shows are like: 12 b-list has-been comedians jabbering excitedly about a new flavor of salted peanuts. Like they all cluster around the dish of peanuts in a big scrum and crack wise about it, then it cuts to commercial, and when we get back from the break, all 12 of these little monkeys are still rapturizing about the peanuts. But they can’t find the time to cover a small inconsequential issue like “Should we have an army or not?” the fuck!! So every other country with public TV can know more about your foreign policy than Japanese people? Is that rad? That is SO not rad!!!
The idea of turning the SDF (Japan’s “self-defense forces”) into the SAMLWF (‘shoot-at-motherfuckers-like-whenever forces’) is a tough choice :On the one hand, if Japan had a real army then they would have to finally pay for it, and the USA could stop paying for defending Japan, which would be more fair to both countries. But on the other hand, if the USA keeps defending Japan, we can pretty much gaurantee that they won’t go nuts and start bayoneting Chinese babies again. So it’s a real moral grey area there.
Things that are NOT a grey area;
One — the USA demanding that they change their constitution to be nonviolent, and then 40 years later demanding that they send their army to help us in iraq. I think every time Bush asks Japan for a military favor, he should be forced to publicly get in front of TV cameras and knee a life-sized mannequin of MacArthur in the groin, in front of a crowd of 20 horrified, palsied WW2 vets.
Two –the bullshit way that rightist Diet members are trying exploit loopholes in the law to allow the army without actually changing article 9. (I’m tempted to add something about Asians trying to save face by being sneaky and non-confrontational, but the fact is that USA politicians are just as bad) Even if you are a patriotic Japanese and pro-military, you should be against the politicians wiping the ass with the constitution, and subverting democracy. People should have a constitution that means something.
Three – the lack of mass ? media debate on the issue at a time when politicians are trying to change the fuckin’ law. The Powers That Be down at TV-land have decided that “Talking about divisive issues like that would upset social harmony, and as broadcasters we have a responsibility to preserve that harmony.” And the common people seem content with this arrangement, as long as they can have new and better porn on their cellphones, and ever-bigger sculptures of rabbits that they can glue to their fingernails, they could give a fuck if they somehow acquired an army bigger than India without anyone knowing.
Four — the left-wingers who say that article 9 makes japan a peaceful country, unique in all the world. Bullshit. Japan DOES have an army, and it’s the USA army! For 60 years we’ve been paying OUR taxes so china, north korea, Russia, and Canada leave japan alone. On the other hand, article 9 ALSO states that the SDF is under the control of civilians, not the generals ? the generals have to ask for the whole parliament’s approval before even moving like 3 guys into a tent in Australia. So maybe there is some truth to the left’s claim.
Five –Regular, non-political Japanese who say, “Well, we have a right to defend ourselves so we should repeal Article 9 on that basis.” See, I thought like that too, but turns out we were both hoodwinked by simpleminded propaganda. The fact is, You ALREADY got defense. Article 9 just says you can’t CONQUER OTHER FUCKIN’ COUNTRIES AGAIN.
Anyway, in closing, fuck the Man. The main government dude trying to legalize an offensive, Military-led army has a crazy Walt Disney moustache and my Japanese friend freaked out when she saw him making a speech:” What the hell is he doing in our Diet? He doesn’t even look remotely Japanese!!!!! He looks Russian!”
So there’s that.3 comments