Japanese Army Suffers Terrible Tragedy

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The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force has suffered a tragedy when an 18 year old cadet turned his firearm on instructors, the Sunday Times reports. Two Japanese soldiers were killed and a third one injured, leaving the rest of the unit in shock.

While the motive is uncertain for now, two broad categories can be suspected – a mental health crisis or domestic terrorism. Japan is facing particularly high rates of suicide and depression, which had already impacted the Army in 1984 when a similar incident occurred. What makes this killing shocking for Japan is its very low murder rate, with gun crimes being even rarer.

Political violence is not unknown to Japan since the end of World War II. Yukio Mishima, a right-wing author, committed suicide after a failed coup in 1970 and another ultranationalist murdered the leading Socialist candidate in 1960. Aum Shinrikyo, a doomsday cult, released sarin gas in the Tokyo subway killing 14 and injuring thousands 1995. In 2022, the former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe was murdered with a homemade firearm.

Japan’s Armed Forces are already struggling to reach its recruitment goals. Its population is rapidly aging and young people have many economic opportunities which make military life unappealing for many. Patriotism and national service have also been deliberately been suppressed.

The Japanese Army has made clear that this incident is rare, and has apologized to the public for causing panic in neighboring communities. Its mandate has also been enlarged to be able to operate overseas in defense of an ally, most likely South Korea in this instance.


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