January 7 is the first full working day for the Abe government in the year of 2013. On the morning of this particular day, Abe loudly sang "Kimigayo", the controversial national anthem of Japan, during the meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, claiming that it was the first step to "reclaim Japan". On the same day, the Abe cabinet decided as well to revise Japan's National Defense Program Outline (NDPO) in order to expand its military strength, arms and defense budget.
The "Kimigayo" used to be the theme and background music played while Japanese militarism was ravaging Asia. It is therefore regarded as a symbol of Japanese militarism. The Abe cabinet's move to actively associate its own image with the symbol of Japanese militarism and implement military expansion policy not only manifests its own image of right-wing party, but also serves as a dangerous signal to the international community.
In recent years, the functions of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) have kept expanding through the constant revising of its NDPO, with its functions being changed from "guarding against formal aggression" to "keeping a more stable security environment in the Asia-Pacific region" and "working with allies to actively promote the protection of maritime traffic safety and maintain the order of the sea". These changes have shown that military expansion is the consistent policy goal pursued by the Japanese government.
This tendency has seen sudden acceleration after the inauguration of the Abe government. According to Japanese media reports, after taking the office as the Japanese prime minister at the end of last year, Abe immediately issued instructions to Itsunori Onodera, the defense minister, and demanded the revision of the NDPO and the "Interim Defense Force Preparedness Plan" as well as the strengthening of the Self-Defense Force's functions and deterrent power. Abe intends to break through the Peace Constitution instituted after the World War II by modifying the NDPO so that the SDF can help the defense when its allies are suffering from attacks.
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