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PacNet #16 – Can Koizumi Stand the Test?

Announcing the decision to dispatch Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) troops to Iraq in December, Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro stated, “Japan’s will as a nation, as well as its people’s spirit are being tested.” The kidnapping of three Japanese civilians, which remains unresolved as I write, now represents a “test” that even the prime minister could not have foreseen four months ago. The Japanese government’s response to this crisis will be critical, as it will not only set the tone for a response to similar incidents in the future, but will also determine whether Japan can live up to its renewed commitments to international security operations.