The word “Japan” means “the origin of the sun” or where the sun rises. “Nippon” also means the same thing, and is the official name of Japan. Japan (or Nippon) is often called “The land of the rising sun.” The Chinese people see Japan in the direction where the sun rises, to the east.
The Japanese Empire was a formidable enemy of the U.S and Britain and the Allied Powers in World War II, and they were fiercely brutal. Enemy soldiers suffered greatly in the hands of their Japanese counterparts in war. Though there has been an attempt to reconcile, even today, China holds a grudge against Japan because of their brutality in Nanjing. The Nanjing Massacre or the “Rape of Nanjing” was the mass murder of Chinese civilians in Nanjing, the capital of the Republic of China. It occurred immediately after the Battle of Nanking (Romanized name) in the Second Sino-Japanese War by the Imperial Japanese Army. Beginning on December 13, 1937, the massacre lasted six weeks.
It was a vicious attack long remembered. The perpetrators also committed other war crimes, such as mass rape, looting and arson. The massacre was one of the worst atrocities committed during World War II.
Over the years, though most have died, I have known at least four within our church who, as American soldiers, suffered at the hands of the Japanese in the Bataan Death March on April 9, 1942, in the Philippines. Those in the march were placed in Japanese war camps. Between 60,000 to 80,000 prisoners of war were forced to march by the Japanese Imperial Army despite many dying on the journey.
Dr. Lynn Torrance, who served as the Registrar of Ambassador College and was an elder many years in the Church back in the 1970s, told me he was placed in a war camp and they practically starved to death.
Since the Japanese were defeated in WWII, Japan has been a strong ally of the United States and Britain and the Western powers. After the war, in Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, they forever renounced war as a sovereign right of the nation to settle international disputes. They instead became an economic power in the world with the third largest economy of $4.30 trillion, which is over twice the GDP of Russia.
Out of necessity, due to the climate created by North Korea and the aggressiveness of China, Japan is rethinking its military posture. An article in the New Delhi Times dated December 28, 2022, stated, “Japan this month took a major step toward loosening its postwar military restraints, unveiling new policies that will allow the Asian giant to play a much bigger role in regional and global security affairs. Under a new National Security Strategy (NSS) and two other documents released in mid-December, Japan will roughly double defense spending over the next five years and for the first time deploy missiles that can hit military targets in other countries.”
According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), who supply military statistics, the Japanese military budget for the year 2020 was $49.1 billion. In 2020 Japan ranked ninth in global military spending, but relative to other countries, it spends a paltry sum of 1 percent of its wealth on its military.
All of this could change rapidly since Japan would increase military defense spending to 2% of their GDP, up from the traditional 1%, over the next five years. Japan would then only trail the United States and China in overall defense spending.
What is the significance of this? Even though we don’t know how the eastern powers will unite to form some kind of eastern superpower in the end time, prophecy strongly indicates that it will occur. It would most assuredly include Japan in some way. China’s power in the Pacific Rim is climbing, and it has a strong alliance with Russia. Only South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan are hold outs, but events of the future could change that quickly, and these nations could combine to force the U.S. out of the region altogether.
There is a prophecy in Revelation that says a great 200-million-man army from the east will march down to Palestine on a dried-out Euphrates River. This is prophesied in Revelation 9:15-16: “So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.”
These events will indicate the return of Christ is much nearer. When this great tumultuous time comes, what will have been important is our relationship with God. As we turn the page to another new year, God’s people are reminded of what Jesus said: “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36, emphasis added).
This is my Perspective and the current edition of the Prophetic Times follows:
December 29, 2022 france24.com reported:
The defence ministers of Russia, Turkey and Syria met in Moscow on Wednesday, the first such talks since a war broke out in Syria, the Russian defence ministry said. It was also the first meeting between the defence ministers of Turkey and Syria since the start of the war in 2011.
Russia and Turkey are both involved in Syria, with Moscow supporting the Damascus regime against its opponents, and Ankara backing rebels. The meeting came as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to launch a military offensive in northern Syria against Kurdish groups.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Turkish and Syrian counterparts, Hulusi Akar and Ali Mahmoud Abbas, discussed "ways to resolve the Syrian crisis, the problem of refugees, and joint efforts to combat extremist groups in Syria", said the Russian defence ministry.
It added that the meeting had been "constructive" with a need to "continue it in the interests of further stabilising the situation" in Syria and the region.
The Turkish defence ministry struck a similar note, saying the meeting was held in a "constructive atmosphere".
"At the meeting, the Syrian crisis, the refugee problem and joint efforts to combat all terrorist organisations in Syria were discussed," the ministry said.
Syria's state news agency SANA, quoting the defence ministry, said that the Syrian spy chief was also present and the meeting was "positive."
December 28, 2022 newdelhitimes.com reported:
Japan this month took a major step toward loosening its postwar military restraints, unveiling new policies that will allow the Asian giant to play a much bigger role in regional and global security affairs.
Under a new National Security Strategy (NSS) and two other documents released in mid-December, Japan will roughly double defense spending over the next five years and for the first time deploy missiles that can hit military targets in other countries.
The policies smash through decades-old taboos in Japan, which has embraced a relatively restrained defense posture under its technically pacifist constitution drafted by the United States following Tokyo’s defeat in World War II.
“By realizing the vision articulated in the three documents, Japan might finally become a ‘normal nation’ in terms of its ability to defend itself,” said Tobias Harris, a Japan politics specialist and deputy director at the German Marshall Fund.
“But these documents are the result of a long-term process of thinking about Japan’s changing threat environment,” Harris said in a blog post.
Japan has steadily boosted its de facto military, called the Japan Self-Defense Forces, especially as China has become more powerful and assertive with its neighbors over the last decade or so. But Japan’s self-imposed constitutional restraints mean its military power does not measure up to its economic prowess. Though Japan has the world’s third-largest economy, it ranks only ninth in global defense spending.
That could soon change. The new plan would boost defense spending to 2% of Japan’s GDP, up from the traditional 1%, over the next five years. Japan would then only trail the United States and China in overall defense spending, barring any other changes in the global rankings.
December 27, 2022 Arutz Sheva 7 reported
Israeli forces struck a ‘powerful’ blow against the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations in Gaza over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday morning, as he spoke out on the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement with Hamas.
“Over the past two days, we struck a powerful blow against Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” said Netanyahu. “We hit more than 350 targets, we hit terrorist leaders and officials and destroyed ‘terrorist towers.’”
Netanyahu added that despite the ceasefire, the battle against Hamas was not over.
“The campaign isn’t finished, and it will require patience and careful judgment. We’re prepared for its continuation.”
“The goal was and remains to secure quiet and bring security to the residents of the south. I send my condolences to the bereaved families and I wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
December 27, 2022 timesofisrael.com reported:
Iran will show “no mercy” toward “hostile” opponents of the Islamic Republic, President Ebrahim Raisi said Tuesday, after more than 100 days of protests sparked by death of Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.
The “riots,” as Tehran generally refers to them, were triggered by the September 16 death in custody of Amini, 22, after her arrest for an alleged breach of the strict dress code for women. Addressing a crowd in Tehran, Raisi accused “hypocrites, monarchists and all anti-revolutionary currents” for the widespread demonstrations.
“The embrace of the nation is open to all those who were lured,” said the ultraconservative president at a funeral procession for unidentified soldiers who perished during its eight-year war in the 1980s with neighboring Iraq.
“The embrace of the nation is open to everyone, but we will show no mercy to those who are hostile,” he added.
Iranian officials say hundreds of people have been killed, including members of the security forces, and thousands have been arrested nationwide.
December 27, 2022 jpost.com reported
Russian politician and businessman Pavel Antov was found lying in a pool of blood outside a hotel in eastern India on Monday, just days after his friend, Vladimir Bidenov, died at the same hotel.
Antov was a member of the legislative assembly of the Vladimir Region and founded the Vladimir Standard meat processing plant. He was ranked as the richest civil servant in Russia in 2019, with an income of 9.97 billion rubles.
"Our colleague, a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist Pavel Antov passed away. On behalf of the deputies of the United Russia faction, I express my deep condolences to relatives and friends," said Vice Speaker of the Regional Parliament Vyacheslav Kartukhin.
The fact that Antov fell out of a hotel window sparked concerns of foul play, as opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin have been killed in similar ways. An unnamed police source told NDTV that Antov's death appeared to be a suicide as Antov was depressed after his friend's death.
On Thursday, Bidenov was found lying unconscious in his room at the hotel, with a few empty wine bottles around him. He was rushed to a local hospital where doctors declared him dead. Odisha Police announced on Tuesday that the inquiry into the two deaths was being taken over by the Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department of India.
December 26, 2022 reuters.com reported:
Seventy-one Chinese air force aircraft including fighter jets and drones entered Taiwan's air defence identification zone in the past 24 hours, the island's government said on Monday, the largest reported incursion to date. Of the aircraft, 43 also crossed the Taiwan Strait's median line, an unofficial buffer between the two sides that lies within the defence zone, Taiwan's Defence Ministry said in a report, as Beijing continues military activities close to the Chinese-claimed island.
The White House said the United States was concerned by China's military activity near Taiwan, which it called "provocative" and "destabilizing," adding that it risked miscalculations and undermined regional stability.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, said it had conducted "strike drills" in the sea and airspace around Taiwan on Sunday in response to what it said was provocation from the democratically governed island and the United States. Taiwan, which strongly rejects China's sovereignty claims, said the drills showed Beijing was destroying regional peace and trying to intimidate Taiwan's people.