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Colum. J. Asian L.


On December 20, 2018, a P-1 patrol aircraft of Japan’s Maritime Defense Force was flying within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Sea of Japan as part of ordinary intelligence collection and warning and surveillance activities, when it observed a destroyer, and a patrol and rescue vessel of the Republic of Korea (South Korea). While photographing the Korean vessels, the Japanese P-1 patrol aircraft was suddenly irradiated by a fire-control radar from the Korean destroyer. A crew member of the P-1 aircraft tried to communicate with the Korean ship in English, saying, “This is Japan Navy. This is Japan Navy. FC antenna is directed to us. What is the purpose of this act?

There is nothing wrong for the crew to identify themselves as “Japan Navy” in this kind of communication. But this incident reminded the Japanese public witnessing the video, released by the Ministry of Defense at the end of 2018, that there existed a gap between the reality and the constitutional requirement. Japan has its armed forces while Article 9 of the Constitution prohibits “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potentials.”

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.