Japan’s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukada issued a strong statement indicating he will urge parliament to authorize Japanese military forces to aid efforts in Afghanistan by US and NATO troops who are fighting terrorism. His insistence on resuming refueling operations in the Indian Ocean is opposed by the Democratic Party which now controls Japan’s upper house in the legislature. But, Fukuda went even further in asserting his views that his nation must become more active in fighting terrorism. He wants authorization to allow Japanese troops to be sent to fight in other areas of the world– this is currently forbidden due to the constitution.
Fukuda is raising issues which are controversial, given the past history of his nation. After losing World War II, the new constitution made clear that Japan would never again become involved in aggressive war. The war on terrorism is now opening the door to change that historic decision. Perhaps, this is just one more example in which those who believe terrorism can only be defeated by military action will triumph. Japan could use its resources in other ways such as assisting the farmers and ordinary people of Afghanistan to develop their economy and raise standards of living. The world needs nations which use economic and social assistance to fight terrorism. Perhaps, that would have been a wiser route for Japan to follow.