Recent political and domestic developments have encouraged speculation that Japan is using the military to assume a higher international profile. The dispatch of Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force fueling ships and this week’s decision to send an Aegis-class destroyer to assist the U.S. in the Persian Gulf along with the recent Japanese Cabinet decision to extend logistic support for the U.S. war on Afghanistan until May 19, 2003, seems to suggest that Japan is becoming a more "normal" country through the use of its military. If Japan is indeed becoming more willing to speak out and act on behalf of its national interest, then it is becoming a normal nation. This reasoning is further supported by the Japanese public’s call for the country to more clearly articulate its national interest: Japan’s new tough line against North Korea is one piece of "evidence" for this claim. However, these steps toward normalcy are impeded by a fundamental obstacle – naiveté. The Japanese people are not ready to pursue the national interest if it will result in bloodshed.
PacNet #51 – Cost of Blood
December 5, 2002