[EDITORIALS]Formula for a new JapanThe ruling coalition of Japan in a plenary session of the Diet Friday passed a bill allowing the nation’s Self Defense Forces to be dispatched to Iraq to assist in post-war reconstruction efforts. If the bill passes the upper house, Japan would be able to dispatch its forces to Iraq before October. This would be another overseas mission for Japan’s military, following their participation in UN peacekeeping operations and in Afghanistan.
The dispatch of the Self Defense Forces to Iraq, however, raises worries among neighboring countries since a big number of troops are being dispatched and they will play a more extensive role.
First of all, this mission is not a request by the United Nations or other international organizations for peacekeeping. It was decided by bilateral consultations under the U.S.-Japan military alliance. It took less than a month for Japan to pass the bill, although its troops are being dispatched to a combat area for the first time. Depending on the development of the situation in Iraq, Japan’s Peace Constitution, which rejects war, could be undermined.
The decision, which follows the introduction of acts for emergency situations and the adoption of a defense principle that Japan will respond to military threats, shows Japan leaning to the right. We do not object to Japan becoming an ordinary member of the international community. We do not object to its strengthening of its self-defense capability and participating in peacekeeping operations at the request of international community.
As a country that provoked World War II, however, Japan caused psychological and material damage to its neighbors and the rest of the world. Many of its neighbors suffered from Japanese imperialism and remember its atrocities. For them, Japan is a dangerous neighbor who indulges in excuses while evading responsibility and tries to strengthen its military power when there is a chance.
Japan can be born again with sincere reflection on its past and renewed efforts to promote international peace. Then Japan can become an ordinary member of the international community.