It's likely that Japan will send troops to Iraq. 60% of the people are against it, yet 60% of the people support Koizumi who has vowed to send the troops. It's likely that some of the soldiers will die. The question that is on everyone's mind is how many dead Japanese soldiers will it take before Koizumi's cabinet unwinds.

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The recent suicide bombing attack on Italian military police in Iraq seemed to have freaked out decision makers a little bit. My finger is far from the pulse of Japanese politics, but from the news I was reading a few weeks ago the attitude seemed to be pretty gung-ho to send the SDF out, but then the date was pushed back. So it seems even the idea of Japanese SDF troops actually becoming casualties is a source of aprehension.

So to answer your question how many dead soliders will it take, my guess is "not many."

As a US citizen, I would like to see every other country abandon the US with the bag of dog crap we created.

I do not see why anyone against our warmongering leadearship should lose anything over its stupidity.

Hopefully few die, hopefully we learn enough no to elect someone like bush for the remainder of my life.

Japan certainly needs to start thinking about building up a military: there is friction about the U.S. bases in Japan; the U.S. is not going to foot the bill for Japan's defense forever; and things are obviously heating up in Korea and China that are of more immediate concern and importance to Japan than to the U.S.

However I wonder if the Self Defense Forces can be a basis for a new military? They seem to be a complete joke. Those guys are a bunch of salarymen. Their main concern seems to be that they don't want to do anything where they might get hurt or killed. D'oh! How can you have a military with this attitude. The police in Japan assume more risk than the SDF. For that matter, security guards at pachinko parlors are at more risk than the SDF milquetoasts. I can't wait to watch the inevitable interviews with the wives when the SDF is shipped off, whiniing about how unacceptable it is to put their husbands in any danger.

Yeah. The issue of whether the SDF could really fight came into question. The problem is, most of the people are only children and Japan is aging. Most young men who are willing to die at war are usually from families with at least a few brothers and sisters. An interesting point was made that many of the British officers who were sent to America to assume posts were second and third sons who the nobility in England didn't have any positions left for. North Korea, if overflowing with people.

The Japanese SDF, I think, get access to Internet at least once every 24 hours to email home, a $1M insurance for their families, yada yada... and Koizumi says they will have generally "safe" posts... then why do they need to send soldiers?

>the U.S. is not going to foot the bill for Japan's defense forever

Japan picks up the entire tab for the US forces here.

In http://www.cato.org/dailys/2-09-98.html the cost to the U.S. is put at US$20 billion annually. It also says that Japan is able to only spend 1% of its GNP on security/defense due to the U.S. presense.

Democracy and freedom in Iraq are not worth the life a a Japenese soldier?

Ahh, Nick Chalko, there is not the issue...

What IS democracy? What IS freedom? Do the United States truly represent the penultimate of either concept? Many people are starting to doubt this... Quietly and subtly.. for now...

"Do the United States truly represent the penultimate of either concept? "
No it does not.
But that is not the question of the moment.
The question is should Japan support Democracy and Freedom in Iraq?
I assert the President Bush's actions are moving Iraq towards Freedom and Democracy. The attacks in Iraq against the US are moving Iraq away from those lofty goals.

So back to the question.
Is the struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Iraq, worth Japanese blood and treasure?

Yes Japan, and all should. But, again, this is not at issue. What is at issue is should Japan, and all, support the U.S.'s actions / intentions, which to many people seem to not so much have anything to do with either freedom or democracy. In which case, no.

The problem here is your assertion. Bush's action are moving, and have done nothing but since the start, Iraq deeper into chaos and destruction.. and subjugation.. and colonisation... Not quite freedom and democracy, unless that is Bush's definition of those terms, which at this point, seems to be the case.

The original statement was in part "The question that is on everyone's mind is how many dead Japanese soldiers will it take before Koizumi's cabinet unwinds."

So is the problem with Koizumi cabinet is "supporting Bush" or is it the risk to Japenses lives?

You see the US actions in Iraq as "chaos and destruction.. and subjugation.. and colonisation", I do not. Until we agree on what the U. S. presence is doing, all other arguments are moot.

Are you really sure that you want to assert that Iraqi's are worse off today than they were 12 months ago, That the future of Iraq looks darker now, than it did 12 months ago under Sadam?

Sir, we won't agree.
And I need not assert anything for I, as you, am far away from what his going on.

Unlike these folks:
http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/
http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/
http://dear_raed.blogspot.com/
http://www.google.com/search?num=30&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=baghdad+blog

So again, the fundamental question is: should ANYBODY risk their lives for an action that, in the eyes of many (enough for reasonable doubt), has painfully little to do with human freedom and the right to govern oneself according to one's own needs.

Lay out clearly what American democracy and freedom really means today and I doubt anybody would buy it wholesale. Least of all a nation that has just been decimated for the second time by the seller.

I will point to Japan and Germany, both beaten and then ruled by the U.S. and now both prosperous, Free and Democratic.

Joi: My aplogoes for continuing this here.

Sir, first of all, in both cases these nations have profound cultural scarification and transformation (my cousins in Stuttgart play "American Football" complete with cheerleaders.. this to me is horrifying).

Germany WAS "prosperous, Free and Democratic"! It had other (major!) problems of course. ;)

However, ultimately, pointing at Japan and Germany is pointless: that was over 50 years ago... a VERY different time, a VERY different world and a VERY different U.S. administration.

And again, you squirm away from the fundamental issue: should anybody support a murderous bully, even if one of the few benefits of doing so is ousting another murderous bully? This job is for all intents and purposes already done. Now the U.S. wants help to mop up their mess? Pfffahahaa... Nobody stomps on a burning bag of sh1t anymore... ;)

Sometimes you have to think about the effect rather than the rationale for something, to see its usefulness.

Think about it. Japan is perceived as weak. Any move to build up strength evokes (probably not so rational) memories of WWII. While sending troops to Iraq won't really accomplish anything substantive, it will do other things. It will instantly change the entire image and self-image of Japan. Think about the people at home in Japan watching *Japanese Troops* with weapons on TV. Wow. It will have an impact. And it won't necessarily scare China or Korea, since they know it's really just a token gesture. But it's a token gesture that will really change things, IMHO.

according to a recent report, japan could militarize and rearm itself on par with most first world countries (ie britian, france, russia, etc) within a few years time. development of nuclear capability would take less than a year and pose no problems for the japanese. these points are all meaningless unless japan decides to revise the constitution and bring back the military. (which it probably should) sadly, i suspect that it will be only a matter of a few years before that happens. for better or worse, the japan that i have come to know will change forever.

according to a recent report, japan could militarize and rearm itself on par with most first world countries (ie britian, france, russia, etc) within a few years time. development of nuclear capability would take less than a year and pose no problems for the japanese. these points are all meaningless unless japan decides to revise the constitution and bring back the military. (which it probably should) sadly, i suspect that it will be only a matter of a few years before that happens. for better or worse, the japan that i have come to know will change forever.

according to a recent report, japan could militarize and rearm itself on par with most first world countries (ie britian, france, russia, etc) within a few years time. development of nuclear capability would take less than a year and pose no problems for the japanese. these points are all meaningless unless japan decides to revise the constitution and bring back the military. (which it probably should) sadly, i suspect that it will be only a matter of a few years before that happens. for better or worse, the japan that i have come to know will change forever.

The specifics of Iraq aside for the moment, I for one am pleased to see Japan taking on martial responsibilities on the world stage. Shame and a pacifism was an understandable response for Japan after the war. However she can only keep her head down in penance for so long. A populous, wealthy, outward looking, trading nation such as Japan, whose stance is now oriented by democratic principals, must at some point stand up again and fully assume her place (and her responsibilities) in the world along side like minded nations (including South Korea). I am pleased to see her beginning to do so. My compliments. I would inject the debate about the participation in Iraq in particular only at this point. (I regret that I must offer the compliment as my own nation shrinks from the world stage. A shadow of what we were.)

The specifics of Iraq aside for the moment, I for one am pleased to see Japan taking on martial responsibilities on the world stage. Shame and a pacifism were an understandable response for Japan after the war. However she can only keep her head down in penance for so long. A populous, wealthy, outward looking, trading nation such as Japan, whose stance is now oriented by democratic principals, must at some point stand up again and fully assume her place (and her responsibilities) in the world along side like minded nations (including South Korea). I am pleased to see her beginning to do so. My compliments. I would inject the debate about the participation in Iraq in particular only at this point. (I regret that I must offer the compliment as my own nation shrinks from the world stage. A shadow of what we were.)

(Sorry for the double post.)

"...she can only keep her head down in penance for so long..."

Very thoughtful and persuasive comment. I've felt the same way for awhile, but was unable to articulate my ideas as well. I would also add, however, that I think many Japanese prefer to keep their heads down not because of shame, but for fear of what they'll see once their heads are raised. (i.e. nuclear armament)

The idea of equiping with weapons in preparation for war is becoming more and more prevalent in Japan. Whether or not that's good or bad, it is also an unmistakable sign that the peace in Asia is becoming fragile.

We need LESS militarized nations in the world, not more.

I for one am damn proud of Canada, being canadian myself, for telling Bush to take a hike.

"A shadow of what we were."
What were we exactly? A nation of dumbasses who happily took the frontlines and suffered the most casualties for other nation's wars?? Gimme a break!

You know "Cdn Guy"... You CAN enroll in the U.S. military...

Boris -

Actually, Cdn Guy did try to enlist, but he scored too high on the ASVAB so we couldn't take him.

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