For the last few years, members of the Japanese political sphere have been involved in a starkly divided debate over proposed amendments to Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which governs the role of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. On one side of the debate are those that say the current laws have kept Japan out of armed conflicts following the horrors of World War II, and on the other are those that argue the acting provisions are no longer suitable in light of terrorist activity and the growing military power of nearby China and North Korea.
Shigeaki Iijima, a professor of constitutional law and peace studies at Nagoya Gakuin University, seems to hold a dim view of amending Article 9. In talking to reporters with women’s news portal and magazine Shukan Josei Prime, Iijima offered his speculations on what changes might possibly accompany an expanded role for the JSDF. Increased government defense expenditures would accompany such a move, he believes, as would the need for a more thorough court of military justice.
While both of those ideas come from Iijima’s own mental simulation, he also spoke about a recent comment from Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada. At a press conference in April, Inada spoke about the possibility of female Ground Self-Defense Force personnel being assigned to combat roles in infantry and tank units, positions they haven’t been given in the past. So what’s Iijima’s take on such a possibility?
“In actual combat, if they are under attack from artillery shells or bombs, there is a chance their clothes could be blown off. In other words, they’d be naked. And if female SDF personnel were taken as prisoners of war, I think you can imagine what will be done to them.”
Iijima may indeed have a point about female POWs being at greater risk of sexual abuse by their captors. On the other hand, his description of female soldiers’ whose clothing has been blown away by explosive force as “naked,” as opposed to “injured,” struck many online commenters in Japan as extremely unusual. In particular, his choice of vocabulary conjures images not so much of death and carnage, but of ladies who newly tattered uniforms sexily reveal their feminine bounties, prompting many online to question Iijima’s grasp on how physics work…