Michael Ubaldi, May 5, 2004.
If Japan's renunciation of Article 9's non-offensive dictates is uncertain, its intent to expand its work towards democratization is not:
Japan is considering sending ground troops on a non-combat, humanitarian mission to Afghanistan where a US-led force continues operations to stamp out extremist militants, according to a newspaper report. The daily Yomiuri Shimbun reports Japan wants to contribute to the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan ahead of the country's general elections, which are scheduled for September.
"To support President (Hamid) Karzai who is trying to promote the democracy in Afghanistan, further assistance for the nation's recovery is needed", a government source is quoted by the newspaper as saying. Senior Japanese foreign and defence officials have been unofficially requested by the US Government to dispatch Japanese ground troops. Yomiuri quotes Government sources saying that Japanese troops could provide medical support for Afghan residents and help transport daily necessities such as food, clothes and pharmaceutical supplies.
Where Old Europe has buckled, run and hid, Japan has stepped forward with its prestige and domestic tranquility on the line. Since the advent of the island's economic miracle, the determination and ability of the Japanese people has never been in doubt; it is only now, finally, that their leaders might direct the country's energy towards international security and peace through strength. This progression of policy and philosophy is welcome news from Tokyo, a long time in coming, with hopes that more is to follow.