Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said Japan must “do more” to convince its neighbor countries of its peaceful intentions amidst its position to strengthen its military. Speaking to officials and analysts at the ISS Fullerton Forum, Ng said that he believes Japanese leaders will maintain the policy to reinforce military equipment in light of concerns on its security.
Tensions have been increasing between Japan and China for the past several weeks due to an ongoing territorial dispute over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Following an implementation of an Air Defense Identification Zone by China in the East China Sea region, Japan and South Korea blasted the Asian giant’s move. With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors wartime dead, bilateral relations have rapidly worsened for both countries.
Ng further stated that the U.S. and China must work hard to build mutual trust in a region mired with tension and opposing beliefs. He said that while China continues to “set precedents and terms of reference which other nations perceive as new rules governing international norms,” the U.S. must recover economic strength to continue its “crucial role as a stabilizing force for the Asia-Pacific region.” Ng sees Japan’s move to revise the pacifist constitution written after World War II as a political ace for any Japanese leader, as anyone “perceived to be weak” is an electoral disaster. The stand to reinterpret the constitution will allow Japan to come in aid of its allies and join international peacekeeping missions. He noted that even a change in government may not sway Japan away from it’s desire to veer away from pacifism and “Japan will have to assure its neighbors, especially as it sees a strong Japan with greater military capabilities.”
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan