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TOKYO Cheap Grady Jarrett Jersey , Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Japan's cabinet approving for the first time a new charter allowing funds from the nation's Official Development Assistance (ODA) program to be used to supply support to foreign military troops involved in exclusively non-combat operations, has drawn some concern and skepticism from notable political pundits and the public alike.
The charter's approval by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet Tuesday, marks Japan's first amendment to its foreign aid charter since 2003 and lifts previous restrictions that were put in place inhibiting Japan from granting foreign militaries financial assistance that could be used to help bankroll international conflicts.
The new charter, formerly known as the ODA Charter, has been renamed the "Development Cooperation Charter," and states that aid to foreign militaries will be considered on a case-by-case basis and evaluated on the merits of overseas militaries' involvement in improving the livelihoods of people Cheap Derrick Shelby Jersey , such as troops or personnel, conducting disaster relief operations and undertaking other non- combat-related humanitarian operations.
"If the military or military officers of recipient countries are involved in development cooperation for the purpose of improvement of the people's livelihood and nonmilitary activities such as disaster relief, Japan will consider individual programs case by case, while taking into account the significance of extending such aid," the charter states.
"Addressing development issues contributes to the enhancement of the global security environment, and it is necessary for Japan to strengthen its efforts as part of its 'proactive contribution to peace' based on the principle of international cooperation. Japan will utilize its ODA in a strategic and effective manner Cheap Wes Schweitzer Jersey ," reads the charter.
Senior government officials, like Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, have repeatedly maintained the cabinet's stance that the revised charter is in no way a stepping stone for Japan to expand its global military presence, despite the prime minister, somewhat to the contrary, stating that he plans to steer Japan towards being a more "active" international force Cheap Dontari Poe Jersey , with constitutional reinterpretations last year, in part, helping him pave the way to achieve this.
Abe has also more than intimated that he wants to comprehensively amend Japan's Pacifist Constitution, to the point that many pundits believe that this is one of Abe's primary objectives while in office, or, in other words Cheap Tevin Coleman Jersey , the leader's future political legacy.
"Kishida is trumpeting the virtues of the new charter as being able to provide more "strategic development assistance" to overseas militaries and being that Japan will limit itself exclusively to non-military-related operations, the move is simply seeking to contribute to international peace and stability, and could be seen as quite benign," Asian affairs analyst Kaoru Imori told Xinhua on Wednesday.
"But we have to look at the timing of the revision, the geopolitical situation right now and where Japan sits as regards current global conflicts, including those close to home Cheap Keanu Neal Jersey , and the nature of Abe's cabinet, which could legitimately be described as "assertive-bordering-on-aggressive," Imori said.
He added that, in theory, allocating a healthy amount of ODA to foreign militaries to assist in humanitarian operations such as disaster relief, is a noble gesture and one that falls in line with calls from the international community for Japan to provide more support to conflict-hit regions and the (U.S.-coalition-led) forces fighting there.
But on the other hand Cheap Sean Harlow Jersey , the move presents a number of conflicts, both in terms of the ambiguity of the new charter and the possibility that it could be interpreted and subsequently reinterpreted in different ways, something Abe's cabinet has proved it's quite adept at, and, beyond Japan's control, there are no absolute guarantees the funds will be used solely for non- combat purposes.
"The charter as it stands at the moment is rather vague and open to interpretation Cheap Duke Riley Jersey ," Imori said.
"Kishida is saying that Japan's position or policy on non- military cooperation is clear, but that is far from the case as Japan has slowly but surely been recasting its military with increased spending on next-generation hardware and the loosening of once rigid legislative policy that restricted the military's role, as per the nation's constitution," said Imori.
While Japan holds foreign development aid as a very important part of its foreign diplomacy, pundits are suggesting that Abe and his government are once again turning to "checkbook politics" to buy their way onto the international scene and establish Japan as an international player when it comes to global conflicts, particularly those that threaten Japan's national interests.
"The charter makes reference to Japan's national interests for the first time and comes on the heels of a very public hostage crisis involving two Japanese citizens who were brutally murdered. We have to look very skeptically at the timing of this new charter Cheap Takkarist McKinley Jersey , against the backdrop of Abe's pro-military moves made since he assumed office," political watcher Teruhisa Muramatsu told Xinhua.
"At the moment, we still have a public that stands firmly against Abe's moves to beef up Japan's military, as the majority of people respect the current constitution and don't want the nation to be drawn into conflicts overseas that could have repercussions overseas or on home soil," said Muramatsu.
"That said, following the recent hostage crisis Cheap Alex Mack Jersey , Abe could be using this opportunity to play on the public's inherent fear of terrorism and groups like the Islamic State, that regular Japanese people have little understanding of, as a means to bring about his military objectives, and writing checks could just be the latest avenue the prime minister is taking," Muramatsu said.