Japan’s Hidden Agenda in Iraq

Since the end of WWII, Japan has largely been a pacifist nation,
stereotypically busying itself with the production of quality
electronics. War was only as close as the virtual would offer,
manifest in the Nintendo revolution. But set aside those
preconceptions, for Japan may soon join the United States in
Iraq-with some very real consequences.

As William O. Beeman reports in Pacific News Service,
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, with Bush administration
support, recently fought to pass a bill that would ‘allow the
dispatch of troops from the Japanese Self Defense Forces
(defense here meaning a force that must seek a threat
to defend against
)?’ The language of the bill seems to violate
the language of the constitution the United States forced Japan to
adopt after WWII.

Article Nine of the Japanese constitution states: ‘The Japanese
people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and
the threat or use of force as means of settling international
disputes. . . . Land, sea and air forces, as well as other war
potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of
the state will not be recognized.’ Did we write that?

It may seem ironic that the United States should back a proposal
to negate a constitution it helped design; but it’s less so when
you consider the two countries’ mutual interests. Japan’s economy,
like ours, is struggling. And, as Beeman notes, ‘nothing is more
important for resource-starved Japan than a reliable source of
energy.’ Japan has been a big buyer of Iraqi oil in the past,
receiving about half of its energy resources from the larger Gulf
region. But Japanese companies have also invested heavily in the
region’s oil facilities. The United States, in turn, would benefit
by welcoming Japan to its emaciated ‘coalition.’

Yet, whatever the motivations, the bill sets a new precedent
with serious implications. Should tensions increase between the
United States and North Korea, for example, Japan is now nicely
situated to intervene. Perhaps video games do incite
Adam Overland

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Hidden Agenda in Iraq

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