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Yearbook 2015

2015 JapanJapan. According to COUNTRYAAH, Japan completed during the year the foreign policy turnaround that began in 2014, which means that for the first time since World War II, Japanese troops can be deployed in combat abroad under certain circumstances. Legislative changes that make this possible were adopted by Parliament's lower house in July and by the upper house in September. This means a reinterpretation of a constitutional provision that prohibited the Japanese military from acting abroad. Over time, exceptions have been made for humanitarian efforts and participation in certain peacekeeping operations. What the government calls "collective self-defense" should be applicable, for example, in a situation when an American ship is attacked or if a North Korean nuclear missile is fired against the United States. Then Japanese forces should be deployed to protect Allied power.

The legislative changes have been driven by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, despite strong opposition among a large part of the public, who often harbor pacifist views. However, according to Abe, Japan should not go to war. The efforts, if implemented, should be kept to a minimum and only put in place if the resulting situation cannot be resolved otherwise.

This defense policy reorientation has been welcomed by the US but has received strong criticism from the Chinese side. However, in March, before the legislative amendments were approved in Parliament, Japan and China held a high-level meeting on security issues, the first of this kind since 2011. The agenda included, among other things, how communication between the countries should be improved regarding the disputed Senkaku Islands (in Chinese Diaoyu Islands) in the East China Sea. Incidents in the vicinity of the islands are constantly occurring and have, on some occasions, run the risk of armed intervention. In April, Japan and the United States came up with new guidelines for the countries' military cooperation that allows Japan to participate more actively, in line with Prime Minister Abe's attitude.

In January, elections were held for the party leader post in the Democratic Party (DPJ), the country's currently the second largest party. Former Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada was appointed to succeed Banri Kaieda, who resigned after the December 2014 elections.

2015 Japan

Japanese expansion...

Japan defeated China in the war of 1894-95 and regained Korea under its control. The Japanese victory in the Japanese-Russian War of 1904-05 enabled Tokyo to annex the southern part of the Sachalin Peninsula. Korea was annexed in 1910, and Japan has since entered World War I as Britain's allies, with whom in 1902 a treaty was signed. The war enabled Japan to acquire some of the German possessions in eastern Asia, including the Chinese area of ​​Kiaochow. In 1915, Japan forced China to accept its increasing influence, expanded with new concessions in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. In 1918, Hara Takashi was at the head of the first government, supported by a majority in parliament.

In 1921-22, Japan signed an agreement with the United States on the restriction of fleets. It replaced the agreement with England and established a form of power equilibrium in the Pacific. A new agreement was later signed at the Naval Conference in London, but the Japanese officers felt that the government was overthrowing national security.

The international economic crisis of the 1930s was used by militaristic Japanese to attack the civilian government and to suggest that the country's problems could only be solved through military conquest of new markets and raw material suppliers. It was against this background that in 1931 Japanese officers occupied Manchuria - without the permission of the Japanese government. Unable to bring the officers under control, in February 1932 the government reluctantly accepted the formation of the puppet state of Manchukuo. Three months later, political leaders had to hand over the government power to the militarists who retained it until 1945. In 1940, Japan invaded Indochina to make its way to Southeast Asia. The United States and England again responded with a total embargo of Japanese goods.

The first condition for Japan's incredible economic growth from the late 19th century until World War II was that the country avoided being colonized by the West. In this context, it was of great importance that the country was poor in commodities and a small market compared to China a little further to the west. The West, therefore, had no immediate interest in colonizing Japan. The second condition was that it colonized others. During this process, the country inevitably collided with other imperialist countries operating in the area: England, France, the Netherlands and the United States. These started an economic boycott of Japan, and that was the backdrop for the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent attacks on the Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The Japanese leadership hardly had any illusions about winning this war; It preferred being beaten to war rather than being strangled financially. There is little doubt that this attitude towards war is related to the ancient Samurai spirit (bushide). It goes against Western rationality, which states that one should not go to war unless the "balance of power" is in one's favor.

Japan capitulated on August 14, 1945 after the United States on August 6 and 9 had thrown nuclear bombs over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The country remained occupied by North American troops 1945-52, ruled by the Allied Command, SCAP under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. SCAP forced Japan to abandon the Meiji institution, abandon the claim of the emperor's divinity, transfer government power to parliament, which would also appoint a prime minister and establish an independent legal system.


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