Just days after North Korea has accused Washington of planning a preemptive nuclear strike - following the US announcement that it would deploy its B-1 bomber in the Pacific for the first time in a decade - Japan's increasingly militarist tone just ratcheted up to '11' as defense ministry officials have ordered its military to be ready at any time to shoot down any North Korean missiles that threaten to strike Japan, putting its forces on a state of alert for at least three months.
Tensions have been running high since North Korea - officially named the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK) -carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a barrage of missile launches that this month reached Japanese waters directly for the first time (via Military.com)...
Pyongyang accused Washington of "becoming all the more pronounced in their moves to topple down the DPRK by mobilizing all nuclear war hardware," using North Korea's official title.
"The enemies are bluffing that they can mount a preemptive nuclear strike on the DPRK by letting fly B-1B over the Korean peninsula within two-three hours in contingency," said an English-language statement on state media.
"Such moves for bolstering nuclear force exposes again that the US imperialists are making a preemptive nuclear strike on the DPRK a fait accompli."
On July 29, the U.S. Air Force said it would upgrade its hardware on Guam by sending the B-1 for the first time since April 2006.
"The B-1 will provide U.S. Pacific Command and its regional allies and partners with a credible, strategic power projection platform," it said in a statement.
Pyongyang has repeatedly warned it may carry out preemptive nuclear strikes against South Korean and U.S. targets.
The secretive state, led by supreme leader Kim Jong-un, warned Saturday it would respond to any aggression by reducing the U.S. to a "sea of flames".
"The ever-mounting moves of the U.S. imperialists to ignite a nuclear war are pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula into the uncontrollable and catastrophic phase," said the North Korean statement.
And so, following this outburst, as Reuters reports, Abe has stepped up his military's preparedness to respond...
Japan ordered its military on Monday to be ready at any time to shoot down any North Korean missiles that threaten to strike Japan, putting its forces on a state of alert for at least three months, a defense ministry official and media said.
Up to now, Japan has issued temporary orders when it had indications of an imminent North Korean missile launch that it has canceled after a projectile had been launched.
However, because some test firings are hard to detect, it has decided to put its military on standby for a longer period. The order will be reviewed after three months, state broadcaster NHK said.
In other words, the next time Kim Jong-un launches, it may start the next war.
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An increasingly militaristic Japan is something we’ve been warning about for a while. As Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger previously detailed...
In case you aren’t up to speed on your Japanese history, the nation’s post WWII Constitution prohibits military action unless it’s in self-defense. Clearly a sensible approach, which is why the current Japanese government, led by the demonstrably insane and incompetent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, wants to get rid of it.
This story is very important. Not only will this action increase the likelihood of World War III in the Far East, but it’s another important example of a government acting against the will of the people.
Polling has indicated the Japanese public is against a pivot toward militarization and war, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing forward nonetheless. In fact, the current legislation to allow overseas military intervention has already passed the lower house of government. This prompted many Japanese to emerge from their decades long political apathy and get out into the streets. It’s estimated these protests were the largest in recent memory.
Fast forward a year, and here’s what Abe is up to now.
From the AP article, Japan Picks Defense Chief Who Downplays Wartime Past:
TOKYO (AP) — A woman who has downplayed Japan’s wartime actions and is known to have far-right views was named defense minister in a Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, a move that could unsettle relations with Asian neighbors with bitter memories of World War II-era atrocities.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe changed more than half of the 19-member Cabinet in a bid to support his economic and security policies, as well as push for revising Japan’s postwar constitution.
While keeping the economy as the top priority, Abe said he would do his “utmost to achieve a (constitutional) revision during my term,” which ends in September 2018.
A lawyer-turned-lawmaker with little experience in defense, Inada is one of Abe’s favorites. She regularly visits the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors war dead including convicted war criminals, a gesture seen as an endorsement of Japan’s militaristic past.
She also has defended Japan’s wartime atrocities, including forcing many Asian women into sexual servitude in military-run brothels, and has led a party committee to re-evaluate the judgment of war tribunals by the Allies.
Her link to a notorious anti-Korea group was acknowledged by a court this year in a defamation case she lost. Inada also was seen posing with the leader of a neo-Nazi group in a 2011 photo that surfaced in the media in 2014.
Finance Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga were among key Cabinet members who retained their portfolios, while 10 ministers were replaced in the reshuffle. Many are not necessarily experts in their assigned portfolio, prompting opposition lawmakers to criticize Abe for dominating the Cabinet with like-minded supporters of his political views.
While campaigning for last month’s upper house elections, Abe promised to focus on economic revitalization in the short term, and to later seek to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution.
Since he took office in late 2012, Abe has sought to boost growth by pumping massive amounts of money into the world’s third-biggest economy. But lavish monetary easing and public works spending so far have failed to reignite growth as much as hoped.
As is typically the case, when all else fails on the domestic front, politicians look to get a war started.
The question is, Krieger asks ominously, what sort of war will this be? If it happens, it’ll be the first fourth turning level war since the nuclear age began. In a best case scenario, world leaders would be at least sane enough not to deploy nuclear weapons. If that’s the case, the conflict would likely focus on financial and cyber warfare. Things that can be extraordinarily destructive in their own right, but would at least avoid a destruction of the human race. Such topics will be explored further in the years ahead.