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    The LDP’s constitutional revision committee confirmed today that its proposals will, in fact, include an item that redesignates the Self-Defense Force (自衛隊) as the Self-Defense Army (自衛軍). Of course, the English there doesn’t match up exactly, but the new title makes the SDF sound more like a substantial standing army and less like a modest squad that can be called in if there happens to be a need:

    When the committee leaders met with the Prime Minister and former Prime Minister [Yoshiro] Mori on 14 October, they concurred on guidelines: (1) the philosophical underpinnings of Article 9, which decrees that Japan “renounces war,” would be strictly maintained, (2) it would be stipulated in Article 9 Item ii that Japan maintains a self-defense army with the goals of defense of the homeland and of international cooperative efforts, and (3) in the revised text of Article 9, laws for “basic security,” “international cooperation,” and “emergency circumstances” would be established without explicit mention of a right to participate in collective self-defense operations.

    It will be interesting to see what Japan’s neighbors make of that, though the Bush administration will doubtless be happy.

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