Endgame in Afghanistan?
By Dr. Abdul Ruff
Japan, a NATO ally of USA and a prospective candidate for the notorious UNSC with endorsement from USA and European nations, has resolved to renew the contracts with US-led terror forces to contribute to Afghan crisis by sending more troops as requested by US president GW Bush whom Iraqis have gifted an used footwear recently in recognition of his contribution to the Mideast crisis. So, soon Iraqis would find more Japanese terror troops on their soil, already occupied by the Western occupiers, killing Muslims there day and night.
Last week Japan’s parliament approved a one-year extension to a naval mission backing US-led operations in Afghanistan, offering a welcome success to beleaguered conservative Prime Minister Taro Aso. The lower house, where the ruling coalition holds a commanding majority, used its power to approve the bill by overriding the opposition-led upper house which voted down the bill earlier in the day.
The mission, which was due to expire in January, provides fuel and other logistical support on the Indian Ocean to the US-led coalition. “Japan must continue its part in the war on terror and continue the refueling mission so as to assume its responsibilities as a member of the international community,” Tsuyoshi Takagi, a lawmaker of Aso’s Liberal Democratic Party, said in parliament..
The opposition last year forced a temporary halt to the Indian Ocean mission by refusing to vote on it in the upper house. This year, the opposition offered to vote the bill down — effectively letting it pass — in return for Aso calling early elections or at least taking quick action on a new supplementary budget. However, Aso has indicated he is in no hurry to call elections or start debate on a new budget, which is separate from his emergency package.
Emerging Japan which has already made up with its neighbors like Russia, China and South Korea is keen to play an international role in the years to come by becoming a part of nefarious activities of the UNSC. Aso supports a more active security role for Japan, which has been officially pacifist since its defeat in World War II. The opposition, which is rising in the polls, says Japan should not be part of “American wars.” The sharp-tongued prime minister has also lost support by making a series of offensive remarks, including criticizing the elderly in the rapidly greying country for not staying physically fit.
Japan has the world’s second-biggest economy, achieving an economic miracle in the second half of the 20th century that was the envy of the rest of the world.
Its role in the international community is considerable. It is a major aid donor and a source of global capital and credit. Tokyo lavishly spends on US-led terror wars to enable secure a seat on discredited UNSC possibly with a veto chip.
Japan’s relations with its neighbours are still heavily influenced by the legacy of Japanese actions before and during World War II. Japan has found it difficult to accept and atone for its treatment of the citizens of countries it occupied.
A Japanese court caused outrage by overturning a compensation order for Korean women forced to work as sex slaves. South Korea and China have also protested that Japanese school history books gloss over atrocities committed by the Japanese military. Japan has said China promotes an anti-Japanese view of history.
Both Japan and USA state their ties are unshakable and the position will not change in the future. Although there have been misunderstanding between them on various regional issues, Japan said that its ties with Washington would not be shaken by a US Congressional move to seek an apology for forcing women to serve as sex slaves during World War Two. The then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe caused an uproar in March when he said there was no proof that the government or the military had forced thousands of women, mostly Asian, into sexual servitude. He has since apologised to the ”comfort women”, as the sex slaves are euphemistically known in Japan, and reiterated that he stood by a 1993 government statement acknowledging official involvement in the management of the brothels.
The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet said ahead of a milestone test, the US and Japanese navies have worked out common rules for their advanced warships designed to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. Underscoring growing missile-defense ties, Jon Yoshishige, a spokesman for the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii-based fleet, said areas of cooperation included “operational activities.” the Japanese destroyer JS Kongo is due to carry out next week what would be the first ballistic missile shootdown at sea by a nation other than the United States. The Kongo will fire a Standard Missile-3 interceptor to detect and track a medium-range ballistic missile target launched from a nearby US range. The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency MDA, in a statement, described the test as a “major milestone” in bilateral missile-defense cooperation, spurred after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile in August 1998. The missile’s third stage flew over Japan before landing in the Pacific and highlighted Japan’s vulnerability to missiles that could be tipped with chemical, nuclear or germ warheads. The cooperation described in the statement fell short of missile-defense integration, a thorny issue for Japanese concerned about their post-World War Two constitution’s ban on collective defense.
Japan’s “Peace” Constitution is widely interpreted to ban “collective self-defense,” including combat cooperation with the United States against a third country. It was imposed by the United States during its occupation of Japan following World War Two but now stands as an obstacle to US efforts to deepen military cooperation with Japan. Washington has pushed missile defense “as an alliance-building program designed to integrate military capabilities,” said Paul Giarra, a former Pentagon senior country director for Japan who inaugurated a US-Japan missile-defense working group in the early 1990s.
After the fall of Shinzo Abe following setback in for the US-led terror war in Islamic world, Aso took office in late September in hopes of improving Japan’s global image and his party’s own image in the country, leading the long-dominant ruling party into elections, but his approval rating has rapidly fallen as the world’s second largest economy falters. Recently Aso unveiled a bigger package to help Japan weather the global financial crisis. In a North Asian summit in Japan held recently Japan has offered economic incentives to China and seeks in return the lingering border dispute settled in Tokyo’s favor.
The deployment of Japanese troops in Iraq following the US-led invasion in 2003 divided public opinion and sparked claims that the move was unconstitutional. Twenty percent of the world’s earthquakes take place in Japan, which sits on the boundaries of at least three tectonic plates.. The government has set targets for reducing the number of deaths and the economic damage after any future, powerful quake. Do you say, for the atrocities the US-led terorr forces in Islamic world, there could be, before the ICJ in The Hague steps in, natural justice too!