I saw a blog post that said the out-of-favor Liberal Democratic Party was considering issuing a bill to create military conscription for 18-20 year olds along the lines of European countries or South Korea. It’s a total fantasy, of course — Japan’s pacifist constitution (which America wrote) wouldn’t allow it, and no one here would support such a suggestion — but it was interesting to hear the idea being discussed. I’ve often thought that Japanese young people could do with two years of mandatory public service of some kind, for a couple of reasons. First, the country has an extreme lack of basic, reasonable patriotism that other countries take for granted, and even something as simple as singing the National Anthem becomes a major issue, with some teachers refusing to sing it at official events. Also, Japan suffers from what’s known as heiwa-boke (hei-WA boh-keh), literally meaning “stupid from too much peace,” which is what happens when you live in an extremely safe island country. Performing some kind of required public service — perhaps a Peace Corps-like organization where individuals went overseas to help poorer countries — would teach Japan’s spoiled young people about the rest of the world, and they’d probably realize what a great country they live in.
Artist’s impression of a Japanese person in a military uniform.