Prime Minister Shinto Abe’s right-wing government in Tokyo has announced military spending of $270 billion on drones, submarines, fighter jets and armed patrol boats.
It is a military provocation against China at the instigation of militarists in the US State Department and the Pentagon. It forms part of their policy of “encirclement” and “containment” of China.
(Notably, Japan’s arms dash was announced simultaneously with an upgrade of US arms to the Philippines, currently devastated by the worst tornado in its history).
At the end of World War Two, the Allies imposed a “peace constitution” on Japan. It expressly forbids Japanese rearmament.
That constitution has been violated incrementally by successive conservative governments which have argued that Tokyo is engaged in “self-defence”. Because Washington has encouraged this development, Canberra has gone along with this duplicitous fiction.
When Beijing last month announced its air defence zone over island territories in the South China Sea, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop summoned China’s ambassador to Australia and gave him a dressing down in her Canberra office.
Will she call in the Japanese ambassador to protest about Japanese re-armament? No. That’s because the Abbott Government had already taken sides in the Sino-Japanese stand-off: we’re with Tokyo and Washington.
Only weeks after gaining office, Abbott declared that he wanted to secure a free trade agreement with China in 2014. On the face of it, he and Ms Bishop are going about it in a very eccentric and provocative way.
In marketing its arms build-up, the Abe Government and its US backers cite the instability in North Korea and the totalitarian regime’s nuclear testing programme. This is a furphy. South Korea and the US forces stationed there have more than enough capacity to deal with any defence emergency in the North.
Prior to World War Two, Attorney-General Robert (“Pig Iron Bob”) Menzies, Australian ambassador to Washington Percy Spender, the prosperous members of Sydney’s Union Club and the Melbourne Club were pro-Japanese and ardent appeasers.
At the centre of this pro-Liberal Party fifth column was the Japan-Australia Society formed in Sydney in 1929 whose membership was restricted “to those of substance and social prominence”. It disbanded in 1941, the year of Pearl Harbour, and its existence has been airbrushed from official history.
Menzies’ heirs, aka Abbott’s mad dogs, appear to be on heat again.