In August, we mark the seventieth anniversary of the events that ended the Second World War in the Pacific... The atomic bomb strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan's surrender a few days later.
Japan is now a close ally of the United States, and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, military ties are getting even closer.
Last year, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a reinterpretation of Japan's constitution that allows the self Defense forces to fight alongside Japan's allies, even if Japan itself is not under attack. Effectively, that means the United States which has maintained air, ground and naval forces in Japan ever since the end of the war in 1945.
Over the past couple of months, Japan announced plans to buy the latest version of the U.S. navy's airborne radar plane, the E-2D Hawkeye, and to upgrade the Aegis radar systems aboard two of its destroyers. According to a story in U.S. Naval institute news, that would allow Japanese forces to receive or transmit targeting information from American planes and ships linked up to what called NIFC‐CA the Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air Concept. The Japanese ships and planes would be able to network seamlessly with U.S. Forces.
But there could be a political hitch...earlier this month a legal, expert chosen by the Prime Minister's own party declared that laws to enact the new collective self-defense concept violate Japan's constitution. The government had hoped to get those laws passed by the end of this month, even though public opinion remains strongly opposed.