Wie militärisch sollte Japan sein?

Ist es für Japan an der Zeit, seine Waffen scharf zu machen und im Namen der Verteidigung des Friedens in die Welt zu ziehen? Schon allein die Vorstellung verursacht in Asien noch immer Protestgeschrei - nicht zuletzt auch in Japan, wo man der „Friedensverfassung" aus der Nachkriegszeit noch immer sehr verhaftet ist. Doch die bescheiden als Selbstverteidigungskräfte bezeichneten japanischen Streitkräfte engagieren sich in zahlreichen regionalen Krisenherden (natürlich ohne Kampfverpflichtung) und versuchen eine aktivere Rolle in friedenserhaltenden Operationen der UNO zu spielen. Wenn es in Asien zu kriegerischen Auseinandersetzungen kommen sollte, ist Japan heute bereit, viel mehr zu tun, als für den Treibstoffnachschub zu sorgen.

Es ist höchste Zeit für moderate Veränderungen, denn die zahlreichen Bruchlinien in Asien und dem pazifischen Raum beeinflussen die Interessen der großen und aufstrebenden Länder in grundlegender Weise. In Nordostasien befinden sich die letzten Relikte des Kalten Krieges: die geteilte koreanische Halbinsel und die feindselige Stimmung auf beiden Seiten der Taiwan-Straße. Südostasien bildet ein eigenes, einzigartiges geopolitisches Umfeld mit seiner Vielfalt an ethnischen Gruppen, Kulturen und Religionen, deren Beziehungen sehr spannungsgeladen sind, wie die jüngsten Unruhen in Thailand bestätigen.

Neben diesen konventionellen strategischen Fragen haben auch der weltweite Terrorismus und der Irak-Krieg Japans Gefühl dafür verstärkt, dass sich das strategische Umfeld tief greifend verändert hat. Die Aufgaben und Verpflichtungen der Selbstverteidigungskräfte müssen schrittweise verlagert und diversifiziert und ihr Einsatzbereich erweitert werden.

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