Never mind amending Article 9 of the constitution, what Japanese people need are private military & security companies.
The murder of two Japanese men by Jihadi John and the Islamic State highlights the inability of the Japanese government to protect their citizens that go abroad. This is a natural outcome and one that a change in the Japanese constitution will not alter. While Article 9 rejects the use of war as a policy tool, changing this will not help Japanese people that find themselves in harm’s way while traveling to foreign lands.
ISIL announced the executions as a response to Prime Minister Abe’s announcement of $200 million worth of aid to country’s fighting against the jihadist group. However, ISIL’s abduction of the two Japanese men occurred months before the announcement and their government did little to end their captivity. While Japan’s self-defense forces, and particularly its navy and coast guard are capable, competent, and highly equipped, as far as such forces go, a national effort to defeat ISIL or even mount a rescue operation would require committing to the coalition forces currently battling the group through NATO equipped proxy forces and air strikes. Aside from political support, the addition of JSDF brings little to the coalition and nothing unique in terms of capability.
Not since Helen of Troy has the abduction of one citizen launched a full scale invasion of a foreign territory, and even in that case there were larger motivations at play. The supposed kidnapping was only a pretext to launch the war. Japanese citizens should not expect the Japanese government to invade the Levant or any other country should they find themselves jammed up beyond their shores.
For all of the rhetoric about nation-states not negotiating with terrorists, rational actors parley with their opponents all the time. While ISIL is ideologically motivated to carve out a swath of territory where they can practice their own form of Islam and strict observance of their interpretation of sharia law, governing a area and upholding legitimacy requires bargaining and concessions, particularly with the local inhabitants. Ruling through repression and brutality can only go so far. It is only through the intolerance of state policies, such as non-negotiation or unconditional surrender, that people are trampled in the wake of nationalism.
People everywhere, informed particularly through the recent Japanese experience, should cease relying upon such absurdity for their protective needs while abroad. A kidnap and ransom insurance policy puts the resources of a well-capitalized firm in their corner, rather than leaving their lives flailing in the winds of political-bureaucratic machinations. Every day while nation-states are wrangling amongst each other in the UN Security Council, making feckless policy statements, and enjoying high-dollar meetings in Davos, insurance companies are conducting rescues in the remotest areas of Africa, Central Asia, and South America. Whether for medical emergencies or as a result of criminal activity, there is a market for security that actually works, and it works despite the roadblocks established by self-aggrandizing political hacks.
Reclaiming the money wasted on ineffectual bureaucratic security institutions, as well as the destruction and animosity they spread, will free up resources so people can choose private security providers that actually deliver. Japanese people should consider this as an alternative to a return to nationalistic militarism.