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Despite lingering tensions, relations between Japan and China have stabilized in recent years. While the base provides some economic benefits, such as jobs, residents have repeatedly voiced concerns about accidents and violent crime. Abe, however, has insisted that the relocation happen soon, and some Marines could be transferred in the next few years.In late 2018, Abe traveled to Beijing for a state visit with President Xi Jinping, the first of its kind since 2011. Marines have been stationed in Okinawa Prefecture, which hosts a majority of the approximately fifty-four thousand U. The gang rape of a twelve-year-old girl in 1995 by U. service members galvanized eighty-five thousand residents to protest. Trump has called for allies around the world to shoulder more of the costs of partnerships with the United States, and Japan is no exception. In recent months, he has renewed calls for changes to the alliance, which he described as “unfair.” Determining how much Japan and the United States spend on the alliance is complicated, and there is no widely accepted balance sheet.Against this security backdrop, Yoshida’s government created the Self-Defense Force (SDF) in 1954, despite strong domestic objections based on Article Nine of the postwar constitution, which eschews the maintenance of military forces or the use of those forces to settle international disputes. In 1967, Prime Minister Eisaku Sato established the Three Non-Nuclear Principles—no possession, production, or introduction—in part to allay concerns that the nuclear arms on U. bases in Japan would expose the country to attacks. S.-led coalition to expel Iraq from Kuwait, a force that had been authorized by the UN Security Council.(For more, this CFR interactive traces the history of Japan’s constitution). S.-Japan agreement was revised, granting the United States the right to establish bases on the archipelago in exchange for a commitment to defend Japan in the event of an attack. Ultimately, Japan contributed funds but did not send troops.Washington has maintained a neutral stance on the islands’ sovereignty, but recent administrations have considered them to be administered by Japan and thus covered by the security treaty. military facilities in Japan are on Okinawa, despite it being the poorest and among the smallest of Japan’s prefectures. An estimated 40,000 to 150,000 Okinawan citizens were killed.Intermittent diplomatic flare-ups, including in 2013 when China announced the creation of an air defense identification zone [PDF] over the contested islands, have led many observers to fear a military clash, especially one that could draw in the United States. Many Okinawans resent military activity in the prefecture, which was the site of one of the bloodiest battles between Japanese and U. Today, one of the biggest magnets for local criticism is the U. Marine Corps Futenma air base, which is located near schools and hospitals. In a bid to ease tensions, the United States and Japan agreed in 2006 to relocate Futenma to a less populated area on Okinawa and transfer eight thousand Marines to Guam. Many residents and local officials oppose keeping the base on Okinawa, voting in early 2019 against the relocation plan.Japanese military officers and government officials later said they were humiliated by their lack of participation in the war and resolved to change the country’s pacifist constitution.In 1992, a new law stipulated the conditions for SDF deployment in UN peacekeeping operations, and the following year, the first SDF unit was sent abroad to Cambodia.
Japan claims that North Korea abducted seventeen Japanese citizens in the 1970s, five of whom were eventually returned to Japan, while the others are still missing. Some worry that Washington could accept a deal that protects the U. mainland but stops short of removing North Korea’s capacity to strike Japan.In November 2001, the government of Junichiro Koizumi dispatched the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the Indian Ocean to provide logistical support for U. military operations in Afghanistan, marking Japan’s first overseas military action during a combat operation.