Japanese Defense—Going Nuclear?

Japanese Defense—Going Nuclear?

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is Japan to become a nuclear-armed military power?

Recent reports about the imminence of the opening of a massive reprocessing facility in Rokkasho, northern Honshu, have analysts wondering about the Japanese government’s intent for its use. The real concern is that the plant could produce weapons-grade plutonium for manufacturing nuclear weapons.

Japanese officials and nuclear-industry experts claim that the Rokkasho reprocessing plant “is capable of producing nine tons of weapons-usable plutonium annually … enough to build as many as 2,000 bombs …” (Wall Street Journal, May 1). Global Research expresses the concern that “A nuclear-armed Japan would dramatically alter relations in Asia, as it would be less dependent on the U.S. militarily and more able to independently prosecute its economic and strategic interests” (May 7).

The oriental mind is known for being far-sighted in its vision. A nuclear-armed potential has been on the minds of Japanese defense strategists for quite some time. In fact, the Global Research claims that “Within Japanese ruling circles … there has been a barely concealed ambition to have a nuclear arsenal. Japan’s extensive nuclear industry was established in part to ensure that the country had the capacity to build such weapons” (ibid).

Costing over us$21 billion to build—making it “the world’s most expensive nuclear facility”—construction of the Rokkasho facility was started 20 years ago. So the imminence of its commissioning should be no real surprise to Washington. Yet the hue and cry over the prospect of a nuclear-armed Japan is only now rising in volume.

Any astute foreign-policy analyst familiar with history and the specifics that govern international relations ought to have predicted that Japan would ultimately have to consider cutting its dependence on America for its national security. Given that three of Japan’s neighboring nations—China, North Korea and Russia—are nuclear powers, it was only a matter of time before Japan proceeded to develop its own nuclear defensive capability.

In their book The Coming War With Japan, George Friedman and Meredith Lebard observe:

Japan is dependent on imports for almost all of its raw materials. The more it produces, the more raw materials it needs to import …. In order to import raw materials, Japan must have access to the country that supplies them, as well as secure sea-lanes for transporting the goods. Securing these resources and the sea-lanes is both a political and a military problem, one that Japan has depended on the U.S. to solve. The issue is whether Japan can continue to rely on the United States and if not, how it can go about securing these supplies itself.

This issue has become even more critical under the current U.S. administration which appears to be so adept at constructing foreign policies destined to abject failure.

Germany has obviously read this and is responding by cranking up its behind-the-scenes maneuvers on developing a more assertive military strategy.

Now, Japan’s conservative leader, Shinzo Abe, and his even more conservative supporters in the area of foreign policy and defense, is starting to react as well.

On the 60th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Christian Science Monitor observed that “Abe has often said he became a politician to help Japan ‘escape the postwar regime’ and throw off the shackles of wartime guilt. To him, that means revising the Constitution to remove restrictions on Japan’s military, specifically its right to collective self-defense—or coming to the defense of an ally under attack. … With the technical means to build advanced nuclear weapons within six months, what remains is the political judgement of the ruling elite of Japan first to assess its strategic imperatives and then the political consequences of going nuclear” (April 25, 2005).

Eight years following that assessment, “the political judgment of the ruling elite” in Japan appears to be wholeheartedly supporting the nation advancing toward possessing its own nuclear-armaments capability. The commissioning of the Rokkasho facility will send a powerfully dramatic signal to not only Japan’s neighbors, but to the whole world that Japan is returning to its old militaristic traditions.

In a quite prescient observation, the Monitor stated back in 2005, “The prospects of Japan moving further toward nationalism and militarism are made worse by the possible successor to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Shinzo Abe” (ibid).

That has become today’s reality.

Abe lost little time in elevating Japan’s postwar Japanese Defense Agency to full ministerial status during his first term as prime minister. Now, early in his second term in Japan’s chief office of government, he appears intent on pursuing a more aggressive, nationalistic—even militaristic—foreign policy than Japan has known since the close of World War ii.

Global Research reports that “Abe has already announced the first increase in Japan’s defense budget in a decade and has declared his determination to counter, including militarily, any Chinese move to claim disputed islands in the East China Sea” (op. cit.).

Perhaps none of this would be so unsettling if not for the imminent commissioning of the Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing plant giving the nation the capacity to begin producing up to 2,000 nuclear weapons per year within five months of start-up.

According to the Japan Atomic Energy Commission and the Rokkasho plant operator, Japan Nuclear Fuel, the reprocessing facility could be commissioned as early as October this year.

Should Japan then indicate it is intent on building its own nuclear arsenal, “it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. A nuclear-armed Japan would dramatically alter relations in Asia, as it would be less dependent on the U.S. militarily and more able to independently prosecute its economic and strategic interests” (ibid).

Shinzo Abe could just prove to be the wild card in Japanese politics who decides that it’s time for Japan to return to its pre-war imperialist foreign policy, just as certain German elites are seeking the same in the Western Hemisphere.

In their book, Friedman and LeBard observe that “Japan’s need for physical security requires that it take control of its regional environment, the Northwest Pacific …. Japan’s need for raw materials demands that it adopt a much broader policy, reaching far beyond the confines of the northwestern Pacific” (op. cit.).

This is the conundrum that led Japan to become an imperial power once it had industrialized pre-World War i.

Up to now, these authors comment, “the heart of Japan’s defense policy has been to allow the United States to take care of it.” They then observe that “Japan knows full well, counting on America’s good nature is precarious ….”

This is particularly the case with the current U.S. administration.

Given that, in the light of its foreign-policy imperatives mentioned above and the “precarious” nature of continuing to rely on the U.S. as its protector, Friedman and Lebard observe that “Japan must return to history and live the place assigned to it on Earth, living by its own wits and its own powers ….”

That is exactly what your Bible prophesies will happen to Japan.

The grand clash of powers that will consummate the present state of global disorder is prophesied to be between a European empire—in reality the seventh and final resurrection of the old Holy Roman Empire—and an alliance of three dominant Eastern powers (Revelation 16:12).

The Prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 38) identifies these powers as China (Gog) and Russia (Meshech and Tubal) in alliance, joined by Japan (the house of Togarmah of the north quarters) and its imperial possessions (Gomer and all his bands—Southeast Asia).

Together they are able to muster a military force 200 million strong (Revelation 9:16).

Should Japan become a nuclear-armed power, then one can only wonder at the extent of devastation that three nuclear powers in a defensive alliance could unleash on the world.

Friedman and Lebard have it right, consistent with Bible prophecy, when they claim that “the three-player game between the U.S., the Chinese and the Soviets [Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States] will be replaced by a three-player game between Japan, China, and the Soviets [Russia etc.] ….”

How does that three-player game end, and how does this all affect the United States, Britain, its dominions and the rest of the world?

Your Bible fills in the details. Our booklets Russia and China in Prophecy and Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany are great study guides which will aid you in understanding the outcome of these powerful end-time prophecies.

Suffice it to say that this Far East alliance meets its nemesis on the great plain of Megiddo (Revelation 16:16), overwhelmed by a far, far superior force. This is the final great battle that ushers in the peaceful rule of Jesus Christ and the saints for a whole millennium on Earth (Revelation 20:4).

And it doesn’t stop there.

At the end of that millennium we see the Eastern hordes on the rise again, militarily, only to—once again yet with finality—be defeated by the same mighty force that dispensed with them 1,000 years earlier (Revelation 20:7-9).

Then comes the greatest chapter of all in the history of man, when every man, woman and child who lived and died previous to the onset of the millennial rule of Jesus Christ and the saints are resurrected to learn how to live and truly fulfill their incredible, God-ordained, human potential!

The true, biblically revealed history from Eden to Armageddon is a stupendous story, gigantic in its true proportions. Yet its capstone will be that all that has gone before will be but a forerunner to the greatest era yet to come in the unfolding history of the family of man!

Mission to Mars Becomes Most Desired Job in History

Mission to Mars Becomes Most Desired Job in History

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

What’s behind mankind’s deep-rooted urge to explore and push beyond what is known?

Mars One—a project aiming to build a permanent human settlement on Mars—announced on May 7 that it had already received 78,000 applications from people seeking to participate in the milestone program. This staggering number of applicants, received in the space of just two weeks, makes it the most applied-for job in human history.

Mars One plans to land four people on the Red Planet in 2023 as the first phase of a permanent Martian colony, and to send more astronauts every two years thereafter. Although plans for the colony are still in preliminary phases, the designs show that it may look something like this.

But the catch is that participants would spend the rest of their lives in the tiny, tiny colony on Mars, with no chance of ever returning to Earth. It is largely this detail—the permanence of the position—that makes the high number of applicants so significant.

Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp said he was surprised by the number of hopefuls. “The fact that we are already at such a significant level in just two weeks time surprised us positively,” he said, explaining that they hope to attract a total of half a million applicants before the deadline.

The staggering number of hopefuls takes on even greater significance in light of the application fee, which ranges from $5 to $75 depending on the prosperity of the applicant’s home nation.

Why are so many people from so many nations eager to leave Earth forever behind and live out the rest of their lives in the most spartan of circumstances on Mars?

The earliest chapters of history show that mankind is imbued with a deep-rooted urge to thrust beyond what is known, and to discover new domains and opportunities. Man’s restless spirit has pushed us to the highest peaks and the deepest ocean depths; sailing to the planet’s every corner and then soaring off Earth altogether. Fame, adventure, escape and myriad other considerations factor into the allure of Mars One and other exploration opportunities. But there is another key aspect of man’s drive to discover.

King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that God “has put eternity into man’s heart” (English Standard Version). About this verse, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says, “God has placed in the inborn constitution of man the capability of conceiving of eternity, the struggle to apprehend the everlasting ….” Our Creator planted within us a longing for something beyond ourselves, something transcendent. It is actually a longing for God, and a desire to realize our potential with Him (though very few presently know anything about the incredible potential mankind has).

Isaiah 45:18 shows that God’s desire is for mankind to move out onto Mars and beyond. “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.”

This jaw-dropping verse, alongside Hebrews 1 and Romans 8, reveals that God designed the whole universe—not just Earth—to be inhabited. He did not create it in vain, just to be an ornament.

Of the half a million people expected to apply for Mars One, only four will ultimately be accepted. But each one of those people—and the vast majority of all men who have ever lived—have the potential to go far beyond Mars, and to inhabit the whole universe!

Mankind’s ultimate destiny lies out among the stars.

To understand more details about this life-changing truth, read Our Awesome Universe Potential. This video offers a glimpse into the awe-inspiring booklet.

Beijing Says Okinawa May Belong to China

Will the claim persuade Japan to cede less important territory to China?

China’s main newspaper said on Wednesday that Beijing is unsure of Japan’s sovereignty over the island of Okinawa—the home of key U.S. military bases.

A long-winded article in the People’s Daily—the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party—said that Beijing may rightfully own the Ryukyu island chain, which includes Okinawa. The island is home to 1.3 million people, who are much more closely related to Japan than to China in terms of both ethnicity and linguistics. The Ryukyus chain was a sort of vassal state of China before Japan annexed it in 1879, and now the Chinese say it should return to them based on post-World War ii measures requiring Japan to return territories that it took from Beijing.

“Hanging in the balance of history, the unresolved problem of the Ryukyus has finally arrived at the time for reconsideration,” the article said.

The article also reiterated China’s historical claims over a group of small, uninhabited islets in the East China Sea called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. In recent months, Beijing has moved beyond the long simmering war of words over these islets by regularly sending ships into the waters around the Japan-controlled territory. This escalation has spawned fears throughout the region of armed conflict.

China’s question about the sovereignty of Okinawa is likely aimed at raising the stakes in the Senkaku/Diaoyu argument. It could pressure Japan to make concessions over the small islands, in hopes that Beijing will not try to wrest the much more vital Ryukyu Islands from Tokyo’s control. If Japan gives the Senkakus to Beijing, it could accelerate the shift in the global balance of power by showing the world that the U.S. is an unreliable and war-weary ally, and that China is a power to fear.

To understand the significance of this shift, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

The Whirlwind

We have taught for about twenty years that Germany was going to conquer Iran and radical Islam. But we’ve never taught you how it was going to happen. There’s just one little word in a prophecy of Daniel that shows us how Germany will conquer Iran and its allies.

Federal Europe Coming ‘Sooner Than We Might Think’

Federal Europe Coming ‘Sooner Than We Might Think’

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

European Commission president pushes for ‘intensified political union.’

At a conference on Tuesday on the “Blueprint for a Deep and Genuine Economic and Monetary Union,” European Commission President José Manuel Barroso rallied Europe to form a stronger fiscal, banking and political union, which he sees as becoming a reality soon.

In his keynote opening speech at the convention, Barroso encouraged a debate on the future of a united Europe and said, “We want to put all the elements on the table, in a clear and consistent way, even if some of them may sound like political science fiction today. They will be reality in a few years’ time, sooner than we might think.”

Barroso’s speech acknowledged the challenges that have come with uniting Europe—the “unfinished business of Maastricht,” as he called it.

While noting the stability and strength of the euro currency itself, Barroso acknowledged the euro crisis, which devastated Greece and Cyprus most of all. He discussed the lessons Europe has been learning, the changes it has already made, and the changes it must implement, via treaty. The European Commission, said Barroso, will “set out its views and explicit ideas for treaty change in order for them to be debated before the European elections [in May 2014].”

Barroso’s address at the conference revealed Europe’s great need for political union and how Europe’s economic crisis is encouraging that political unity. He said that “intensified political union” in Europe is a “key complement to fiscal and economic integration. … Europe’s economic interdependence—so strikingly highlighted by the financial crisis—calls for increased political integration.”

“[M]ainstream forces in European politics,” Barroso exhorted, “must seize the initiative, [and] should leave their comfort zone to welcome and embrace this debate, rather than relinquish the momentum to Euroskeptic or Europhobic forces.”

He concluded:

We will not get away with halfhearted solutions anymore, and half-integrated institutions will no longer do. We will not regain the trust of investors if we allow the momentum for reform to slip once again. We will not serve our citizens unless we do what we have to do—all of it—and do it well.That is the challenge we are now facing. And though it is a serious challenge, in a troublesome context and with a heated democratic debate about the decisions we need to take, I am absolutely convinced that we will succeed in transforming the European Union so that it is fit to face the demands of this 21st century.

Since the 1993 Maastricht Treaty that established the EU in its current form, the Trumpet has consistently been writing about an intensified union of Europe. But even before that, the Trumpet’s predecessor, the Plain Truth, under Herbert W. Armstrong, wrote about European political unity when the European Coal and Steel Community was formed in 1951. In fact, Mr. Armstrong spoke and wrote about European union back in the 1930s and 1940s when the Continent was divided in war.

In 1983, Mr. Armstrong summarized: “For 50 years I have been crying out to the world the Bible prophecies of this coming ‘United States of Europe’—a new united superpower perhaps more powerful than either the Soviet Union or the United States!”

These biblical predictions seemed like political science fiction to many people, but today they are reality that we can read about in the news.

For more on the unity of Europe, how it was planned and what it means for the future, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Did the Holy Roman Empire Plan the Greek Crisis?” and request a free copy of a digest of Herbert Armstrong’s Bible-based predictions, He Was Right.

Iran Continues Push Into Jerusalem

A prominent Islamic extremist declared on Thursday that Israel has no right to exist. Egyptian-born Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi made his remarks during a landmark visit to the Gaza Strip. The popular Sunni, who hosts an Al Jazeera television show called Sharia and Life, led a group of clerics that crossed the Rafah border from Egypt.

“[W]e will never recognize Israel,” al-Qaradawi said during a speech at the Islamic University of Gaza. “We are the owners of that right to own that land, and we will continue our work to restore our rights in this holy land.”

Al-Qaradawi arrived in Gaza on Wednesday for a visit that is considered a boost of legitimacy for Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls the territory. He also met with Hamas’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh. While at the university, they signed a document protesting Israel’s control of Jerusalem.

In February 2011, Stephen Flurry wrote this about the sheikh: “Egypt welcomed home Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who had been living in exile for decades. For 30 years, Hosni Mubarak had banned the ‘father figure’ of the Muslim Brotherhood from preaching in Egypt. But just seven days after Mubarak’s resignation, Egypt rolled out the red carpet for this wildly popular sheikh, whose extremist views call for the extermination of Jews. Qaradawi also supports suicide bombings aimed at civilians.”

Al-Qaradawi’s visit to Gaza is another rotten fruit produced by the so-called “Arab Spring.” This revolution, pushed by Iran and supported by the U.S., has radicalized Egypt and now seeks to further overrun Gaza, with the ultimate goal of taking Jerusalem. Bible prophecy indicates that half of Jerusalem will fall under Islamic control in the near future, but for only a short time. To understand this prophecy, read our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.