Japan's Bid to Dispatch Soldiers Abroad Falters to Improve Its Image, Tokyo Is Considering a Law to Allow Troops to Join UN Peacekeeping Forces

By Clayton Jones, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, October 8, 1991 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Japan's Bid to Dispatch Soldiers Abroad Falters to Improve Its Image, Tokyo Is Considering a Law to Allow Troops to Join UN Peacekeeping Forces


Clayton Jones, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


A YEAR after first debating whether to send troops to the Gulf effort, Japan has once again hesitated to decide if it should ever dispatch its combat forces overseas.

Parliament adjourned last week without passing a bill to allow Japanese soldiers to serve in United Nations (UN) peace-keeping forces. The measure to permit Japanese troops to serve outside the country was strongly promoted by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has been trying to expand the military role of a nation that thinks of itself as pacifist.

But support for the bill faltered when LDP leaders made an awkward interpretation of Japan's "peace" Constitution, which bans force in solving global conflicts. The LDP claimed the use of guns by Japanese soldiers in a UN force would not be the same as the use of force.

An outcry by the political opposition and the news media against this attempt at a legal distinction delayed a final vote. Passage is not expected until at least late November, when parliament is expected to reconvene.

The Asahi newspaper referred to the LDP's explanation as "opportunistic" and an attempt to "call a spade a diamond." The Japan Times said, "This kind of spurious argument has been effective to a certain extent toward the domestic audience, but will only be accepted as illogical petti-fogging by other nations."

The delay in passing the bill has caused some anxiety among the LDP and government officials for three reasons.

One is that they are eager for Japanese troops to join a UN peace-keeping force expected to enter Cambodia in early November, when a settlement of that conflict is likely to take effect. Such a step would mark a new era for Japan in Asia.

"Japan intends to make personnel and financial contributions ... to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Cambodia which has been ravaged by years of war," said a Foreign Ministry statement.

Another reason is that Japanese leaders want to dampen criticism in the United States over the nation's refusal to send rear-line personnel to the multinational forces during the Gulf war. The criticism has worsened US-Japan economic friction.

"Whatever impression people had of Japan before, it should not be taken for granted," says Foreign Ministry spokesman Taizo Watanabe. "We are changing in a better direction."

And a third reason for the bill is to prepare the Japanese for another type of military dispatch, slated for next fall.

The government plans to send naval ships and helicopters to guard a freighter carrying a shipment of plutonium back from Europe, where it has been recycled from spent nuclear fuel. The military escort is needed to prevent possible terrorist hijacking of the freighter, which must travel for five or six weeks over some 18,000 miles of ocean.

Officials have tried to lay the groundwork, both at home and abroad, for acceptance of a Japanese move to send combat soldiers overseas for the first time since the end of World War II.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Japan's Bid to Dispatch Soldiers Abroad Falters to Improve Its Image, Tokyo Is Considering a Law to Allow Troops to Join UN Peacekeeping Forces
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?