Debaters and Their Positions
Congressman — In favor of greater Japanese spending.
"Japan has been
getting a "free ride" all these years — while
the Japanese government has been helping Japanese businesses become
competitive in the American market, Japan has let the American
taxpayer pick up the tab for its defense. Although per capita income
in Japan is now comparable to per capita income in America, American
taxpayers spend three to four times more per person on defense
and foreign aid annually than Japanese taxpayers. With one of the
healthiest economies in the world, Japan spends only about 1.5
percent of GNP on defense and foreign aid, while Britain spends
almost 5 percent. This is not fair. Japan depends even more than
most countries on peace and stability in the world, but it is letting
other countries solve the problems while it reaps the benefits.
Japanese exports are putting Americans out of work; if Japan were
to buy more advanced weapons from the United States, this would
increase Japan's security and help reduce trade friction. If Japan
could take greater responsibility for its own defense, the United
States could better meet its responsibility in other parts of the
Pentagon Official — In favor of a greater
Japanese military role, but not necessarily greater spending.
"The U.S. military
is stretched thin today. Most recently, political unrest in the
Middle East has forced us to split the U.S. Pacific Fleet and send
part of it to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. We are more interested
in how the Japanese can help than in what they can spend. We want
the Japanese to expand their military so that they are able to
maintain air superiority in Japanese air space, defend sea lanes
within 1,000 miles of Japan, and control the three strategic straits
that allow the Russian fleet to leave the Sea of Japan. If the
Japanese military could carry out these tasks, the U.S. military
could more easily maintain the security of Southeast Asia and the
Persian Gulf countries — areas which are also of great importance
We feel that emphasizing the tasks Japan agrees to perform rather
than the size of Japan's military commitment will be less threatening
also to other countries in Asia — many of which were occupied
by Japanese forces in World War Two and fear a resurgence of militarism
Nationalist — In favor of increase in Japan's role and spending.
Japan's economic growth has increased its power and created important
economic interests — in particular, an interest in maintaining
stable imports of oil, food, and raw materials. Yet Japan has little
say in the important decisions made in the world and cannot independently
protect its lifeline of imports against any threat. Moreover, the
U.S. failure to defend South Vietnam and the withdrawal of American
forces from East Asia show that Japan cannot really depend on the
United States for defense. Japan should increase military spending
to gain the respect of other nations and ensure Japanese security.
Japan's economic power would be matched by the political power
necessary to maintain stability in the Far East and elsewhere.
Average Conservative — Favors the status quo.
Good relations with the United States are very important to Japan,
and we should do our best to explain our position and reduce friction.
However, the U.S. request to greatly expand Japanese military spending
is very difficult to agree to at the moment. The government has
tried to meet the increased demands of the people for welfare and
other services as well as those of the United States for greater
defense spending, but this has led to massive government debt:
Japan's budget deficits are proportionately greater than those
of the United States. Massive defense spending at a time of cutbacks
in every other part of the budget would further weaken the ruling
party's popularity. Moreover, public opinion surveys show that
the vast majority of the people want defense spending to remain
about where it is at present. We must explain that the U.S. requests
are politically and economically impossible at the moment and that
a strong Japan led by a conservative, pro-American party is more
conducive to American interests than a larger Japanese military.
Leader of Japanese Socialist Party — Favors the status
quo or a decrease in Japan's military role and spending.
The Japanese Socialist party has always supported the "peace
constitution" and argued that Japan can only be truly safe
through a policy of unarmed neutrality. Japan has good relations
with its neighbors, and any friction or threat posed by Japan is
mostly due to its alliance with the United States. War between
the superpowers could begin anywhere, but it is not going to be
limited to ships and planes unless there is complete nuclear disarmament.
Nuclear weapons in Russia and China render Japan's conventional
weapons meaningless. Japan should either maintain its conventional
weapons at the same level, or else actually reduce its weapons
in order to further world disarmament and peace.
SOUTHEAST ASIAN POSITION:
Leader of a Southeast Asian Country — Against any expansion
of Japan's military role.
Many nations in Southeast Asia are very sensitive to Japanese actions.
During World War II most of the area was occupied by the Japanese
military, and the experience left many bitter memories. Postwar Japan
is peaceful, but it is still an economic superpower that dominates
trade and economic affairs throughout the region. Because of this
great economic influence, many nations in this area fear any sign
of possibly resurgent Japanese nationalism and militarism. Japan's
military cooperation with the United States can be a useful counter
to Russian and Chinese forces, but only as long as the United States
controls any Japanese tendency to use its influence on Southeast
Asian nations. Japan already has one of the ten largest military
budgets in the world. Greater military spending could make Japan
a threat to other countries in the region. Any expansion of Japan's
military role outside of Japanese territory should be avoided.
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