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May 23rd, 2008
Japan's About-Face
Japan Lifts Ban on Military in Outer Space

Japan’s 1969 ban on the military use of space ended on Wednesday. The lifting of the ban is one of several moves in recent years that signal a shift from Japan’s post-war pacifism.

After World War II, Japan enacted a new American-authored constitution that states that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

But concerned about North Korea’s nuclear ballistic missiles, China’s growing military strength, and their own role in international security operations, Japan may be doing an about-face.

The US government is supportive of this change. Thomas Schieffer, the American ambassador to Japan, encouraged the Japanese government to end its self-imposed limit of 1percent of the GDP for military spending, saying Tuesday “Japan needs to spend more on defense.”

WIDE ANGLE will be exploring the evolution of Japan’s military this summer with an unexpected portrait of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Our cameras were given unprecedented access to the National Defense Academy as well as operations of the SDF around the country. Japan’s About-Face premieres on July 8th. Check your local listings for the exact time, and check back here for regular updates about our upcoming season and all of WIDE ANGLE’S programs.

  • Rob Edmondson

    An excellent review of the conflicted situation in Japan over the felt need for more security and the desire to retain the “peace constitution” limits on use of military forces abroad. It skillfully shows the young military academy recruits and lets them explain their conflicting views. Then lets teachers, demonstraters, politicians and average people discuss their views. The humanity and thoughtfulness of them all demonstrates the quality of their democracy.

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