Libmonster ID: JP-1297
Author(s) of the publication: I. LATYSHEV

The first reaction of the Japanese government and public to reports of an unprecedented terrorist attack carried out in New York and Washington by Islamist kamikazes was quick and unambiguous. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in an emergency ten-minute phone call with U.S. President John Kerry. Bush expressed his condolences for the loss of thousands of victims of this heinous crime and assured the President of " Japan's strong support for the US administration and the entire American people as they resolutely fight terrorism."

In press statements made in the first days after the events that took place in the United States on September 11, 2001, the Japanese Prime Minister repeatedly repeated that " Japan firmly supports the determination of the United States not to bow its head to terrorism." In one of the conversations with journalists held at his official residence, Koizumi said:: "I think it is only natural for President Bush to identify the perpetrators and take decisive action to combat such serious crimes." In a public statement, he described what had happened in the United States as "a challenge not only to the United States, but to the entire democratic community." At the same time, the Prime Minister stressed the readiness of the Japanese government to "join forces with the international community in preventing such criminal terrorist acts" and provide the United States with "any possible assistance for Japan."

On the same days, influential members of the Government and leaders of the three parliamentary parties of the government coalition (Liberal Democratic, Komeito and New Conservative) announced their intention to immediately start drafting and submitting to Parliament for approval new laws providing for the introduction of a number of emergency measures designed to prevent terrorist acts similar to those that occurred in the country. US$. In principle, the parties of the parliamentary opposition, including the Democratic, Liberal, Social-Democratic, and Communist Parties, immediately expressed their agreement with this intention. The latter proposed to start discussing this issue in the respective standing committees of both Parliamentary Chambers before the day of the extraordinary parliamentary session (September 27, 2001).

In this regard, a number of leaders of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party called for the revision of the "Law on Self-Defense Forces" by Parliament in order to allow the Japanese armed forces to more effectively counter possible terrorist actions on the territory of Japan itself. As the discussions unfolded, public attention was drawn, among other things, to the following alarming statement by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Takeo Hiranuma: "Japan needs to strengthen the safety of its nuclear reactors in case of possible terrorist attacks... The design of Japanese nuclear reactors provides for their absolute safety in the event of horizontal tremors during earthquakes, but they are not able to withstand the blows rained down on them vertically by missiles and aircraft."

At the same time, the controversy about the permissibility of expeditions of the Japanese "self-defense forces" outside the country, which had stalled in recent years, broke out with renewed vigor in the political world of Japan. Just two days after the terrorist attacks in the United States, the Tokyo press reported on statements by Cabinet Secretary General Yasuo Fukuda hinting at the government's intention to change the interpretation of article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which imposes a ban (as the government itself still believed) on the use of Japanese "self-defense forces" in military operations outside the country. However, for some time, Prime Minister Koizumi preferred to refrain from confirming the authenticity of such reports, stating that "under the current constitution, Japan cannot join the joint military operations of other developed countries." In other words, at first "all-round assistance" did not involve the participation of the Japanese armed forces in American military expeditions.

But soon, under pressure from Washington, the position of the Japanese government began to change in favor of involving the Japanese armed forces in facilitating foreign US military operations. On September 17, Koizumi gave instructions to urgently start drafting such amendments to the "law on self-defense forces", which would allow the Japanese army to provide more active" rear support "to the US armed forces than before - both in the" areas surrounding Japan " and beyond, including the Indian Ocean zone.

New guidelines for engaging "self-defense forces" in "rear support" of US military operations in the AF-

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The Ghanistans were, of course, contrary not only to the Constitution, but also to the "Agreement on new Areas of Japanese - American Defense Cooperation in the surrounding areas of Japan." It was ratified by the Japanese Parliament in May 1999 after a long and persistent dispute between the government and members of the opposition-opponents of subordinating the country's armed forces to the dictates of the Pentagon. At any other time, such an explicit move by the Tokyo government to support Japan's rejection of legal restrictions on the revival of its military power - restrictions that are still formally in force since the end of World War II-would have provoked mass protests by the Japanese peace-loving public. However, in an atmosphere of understandable support by the majority of Japanese people for the idea of an uncompromising war against international terrorism, proclaimed by US President John Kerry. According to George W. Bush, supporters of Japan's military buildup were able to launch - and not without success - a propaganda campaign with unprecedented force in favor of the indefinite preservation of US military bases on its territory, and at the same time for recognition of its right to wage wars and send Japanese armed forces not only to neighboring but also very remote areas of the world. Under the influence of this campaign, the US military circles found in the fall of 2001 in the person of Japan an obedient assistant, ready to go even further than before on the path of military cooperation with the Pentagon. Tokyo, on its own initiative, suddenly showed a desire to shift to Japan the responsibility for protecting American military bases and facilities located on its territory. In November, for the first time in the entire post-war history, it was decided to use the Japanese "self-defense forces" with the consent of the Pentagon to participate along with the Americans in the protection of such US military bases as Yokote (near Tokyo), Yokosuka (near Yokohama) and others.

Published on September 20, the consolidated program of activities of the Government of Japan to actively promote the US fight against global terrorism has become a part of political life under the title "Seven Points of Koizumi", which are summarized as follows::

1. Adopt legislative measures to allow the "self-defense forces" to provide "rear support" to the US armed forces engaged in combat operations anywhere;

2. Strengthen the protection of important facilities in Japan, including US military bases-3. Send "self-defense forces" abroad to collect information;

4. Strengthen control over immigrants;

5. Provide humanitarian and economic assistance to countries such as Pakistan and India;

6. With the help of the "self-defense forces", provide assistance to refugees in areas where military operations of the US armed forces are conducted;

7. Cooperate with other States to prevent possible disturbances in the economic systems of Japan and other countries.

Referring to the need to create appropriate conditions for the implementation of the "Seven Points", Prime Minister Koizumi, in a speech on national television, announced the government's intention to prepare bills for urgent approval by parliament, allowing the "self-defense forces" to provide "logistical support", as well as medical and other non-military assistance to the US armed forces in their areas of operations.

At a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush on September 25 in Washington, Koizumi assured him of Japan's" firm determination "to support the United States in the fight against"global terrorism." But at the same time, he cautiously but clearly made it clear that this support will not include "the use of armed force." The head of the White House said that even in the absence of armed assistance, Japan's role in a "new type of war" can be "as important as aerial bombing" if the terrorists are cut off from financial support from outside.

While publishing generally positive reports about Koizumi's Washington meeting with Bush, the Japanese media did not keep silent, however, about some of the differences that emerged between the two sides.

Washington's dissatisfaction was caused by Tokyo's intention to limit tasks directed to Diego Garcia Island (a 25-square-kilometer atoll in the central Indian Ocean, where the US naval base is located - a link between American bases in Western Europe and the Middle East with bases in Asia and the Pacific. - Ed. ) groups of ships of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces are engaged in " intelligence gathering and surveillance." According to the American side, it would be more valuable to help ensure the security of American sea communications in the South China Sea, where attacks by Islamic terrorists are possible, as well as to transport ammunition from Australia to Diego Garcia.

Japan's reticence in facilitating US military operations in Afghanistan is not so much due to the restrictions imposed by the constitution (which Tokyo statesmen have repeatedly violated in the past), but rather to the opposition of domestic political forces. If in the first days after the tragedy in the United States, the Japanese almost unanimously supported Washington's desire to punish the criminals, then pretty soon many of them began to think about the possible consequences of the Pentagon's retaliatory actions.

Thus, even before the US air raids on Afghanistan began, the editors of the Japan Times newspaper wrote in an editorial of September 19, 2001: "The danger of military operations, even when they are necessary, is that they can lead to the senseless killing and injury of many innocent people. Such collateral damage will have the opposite effect, causing widespread anger at the actions of America and its allies and giving terrorists new reasons and excuses to continue their terrorist campaigns.

page 14

That is why military operations must be planned and conducted with the utmost care."

Raising the issue of the undesirability of drawing Japan into American military operations in the following days, the same newspaper's editorial board wrote in its September 25 issue: "The escalating talk of war - and some even talk of' World War III ' - leaves a depressing impression... In fact, the war will have to pay a high price, including both human lives and material damage, and excessive military measures will only inflame mass emotions in the Islamic world. If America and its allies continue to brand other nations as their enemies, the war will expand and possibly lead to a confrontation similar to the"war of civilizations.".. In the global battle against terrorism, Japan can contribute mainly in the form of non-military assistance..."

In the second half of September, voices against unconditional support for US military operations in Afghanistan were also heard quite loudly in the Japanese parliament - from the benches of opposition deputies. So, for example, the leader of the Social Democratic Party Takako Doi said that condemning terrorism is one thing, but supporting military strikes on Afghanistan is another. "Such retaliatory strikes," she said, " will lead to retaliatory strikes, which will lead to even more innocent victims... The use of weapons will not lead to a proper solution to the conflict."

Democratic Party lawmaker Nobuhiko Suto suggested that the government, citing article 9 of the Constitution, refrain from sending Japanese "self-defense forces" to war zones and limit itself only to the supply of medicines and household items for refugees. But there was no unity of opinion in the ranks of this party: some of its deputies spoke out unequivocally in favor of revising Article 9 in order to join Japan in US military operations.

The Japanese government did not miss the opportunity to introduce amendments to the laws defining the status of "self-defense forces" for discussion in Parliament in order to eliminate some of the legislative restrictions imposed on foreign expeditions of these forces.

At the end of October, the majority of deputies of the three parties of the government coalition approved a number of amendments to the"Law on Self-Defense Forces". These legislative acts legalized and for the first time in post-war years "granted" the right of Tokyo to send its armed forces to foreign theaters of operations as a military ally of the United States, provided that Japanese military personnel would refrain from participating in combat operations, limited only to "rear support" of the US armed forces, including medical care and supplies of non-military equipment. However, another clause was included in the decisions of the parliament, designed to reassure local pacifists: sending the Japanese army to other countries must be preceded by the prior consent of the host government. In addition, it is stipulated that the order of the head of the Defense Department to send the Japanese armed forces outside the country must be approved by the Japanese Parliament for a period of no more than 20 days.

The amendments and additions made by the Parliament to the" Law on Self-Defense Forces " also allow the participation of Japanese military personnel in search and rescue operations in foreign territories and the supply of humanitarian supplies to participants in military operations. The use of small arms or other weapons by the Japanese "self-defense forces" during their foreign expeditions is allowed, by analogy with the procedures adopted for UN peacekeeping forces, only for the purpose of "self-defense", as well as the protection of refugees and wounded soldiers under their protection.

On November 2, 2001, a closed meeting of the Japanese - American coordination committee was held, at which a principled decision was made to immediately join the Japanese "self-defense forces" to participate in the US anti-terrorist mission in Afghanistan. To this end, the so-called "basic plan" was developed (formally approved at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan on November 16, 2001. - I. L. ).Just two weeks after the new legislation came into force, the two self-defense forces destroyers Kurama and Kirisame, as well as the military transport Hamana, left the port of Sasebo (Kyushu Island) and immediately set off for the Indian Ocean. The forward detachment of Japanese ships was assigned the task of" gathering information "and providing" logistical support " for US military operations in Afghanistan.

However, the solemn appearance of Japanese destroyers on a long voyage to support the American anti-terrorist operation was somewhat overshadowed by protest demonstrations by representatives of local trade union organizations at the port pier. Anti-American speeches in Sasebo were one of the signs that the US military actions in Afghanistan received a far from unequivocal response among the Japanese public.

The Japanese Prime Minister's attempt to persuade the heads of government of the ASEAN countries to support the US anti-terrorist action at the conference of this organization, held in early November 2001 with the participation of Japan, China and South Korea, also ended in failure. Koizumi's proposed draft declaration in support of military action in Afghanistan was not supported. On this occasion, a Chinese journalist told the Yomiuri newspaper:

"The Japanese government is trying to strengthen its influence in the countries of Southeast Asia, using for this purpose the draft anti-terrorist declaration reflecting the American political line. However, China and some Southeast Asian countries refuse to endorse Japan's policy of supporting military operations conducted in Afghanistan by the United States and Britain."

Japan's decision to support US military operations in Afghanistan is also not welcomed in the countries of East and South - East Asia. This decision is seen as a secret intention of Tokyo to legalize military expeditions of the Japanese army outside the country under the flag of the fight against terrorism, the unkind memories of which are still fresh in the historical memory of the peoples of neighboring states. Hence the wariness with which China, the two Korean states and some other Asian countries have reacted to the resumption of Japanese warships ' voyages to the waters of the South Seas and the Indian Ocean. They fear that this innovation may be fraught with far-reaching and not always positive international consequences.


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