Tokyo, Japan. Japan has had a constitution that forbids them from making war since WWII. That is about to change as Japan confronts its past and runs into an unpleasant violent world in its future. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he plans to have his country’s pacifist constitution revised and a new version in effect by 2020.

This is the first time Abe has put a clear time frame on revising the constitution, which contains language that bans Japan from maintaining armed forces or engaging in acts of war.

The Japanese current constitution came into effect in 1947 after its defeat by allied forces in World War II. Article 9 of the document says that “land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential will never be maintained.” Abe said in a video message to a Tokyo forum marking the 70th anniversary of the constitution. “I strongly wish to make 2020 the year that the reborn Japan will make a new start.”

Changing the constitution could symbolically represent a Japan that is willing to adapt to developments around it and not burdened by the past. Despite its non violent constitution, Japan maintains one of the world’s strongest militaries, analysts say, pilot for pilot, ship for ship, Japan can stand toe to toe with anybody.

The pacifist constitution has helped make its military as formidable as it is because to this point it has only had to concentrate on defensive operations, Japanese officials say

The current situation in north Asia has exposed a weakness — Japan lacks some of the hardware necessary for it to counterattack alone if North Korean missiles were to strike.

North Korean missile tests have landed in the waters off Japan, and in March state-run Korean Central News Agency said units conducting the drills were “tasked to strike the bases of the US imperialist aggressor forces in Japan.”

Since then, Japanese destroyers have joined exercises with the American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its strike group, which North Korea vowed to sink. This week, Japan’s largest warship, the helicopter carrier Izumo, escorted a US naval supply ship that could be used to refuel US Navy warships operating with the Vinson, all baby steps on the way to the infant Japanese military someday soon, becomming a full size Samurai Japan, ready for any potential enemy according to Abe.

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