The People vs. Koizumi? Japan-U.S. Relations and Japan's Struggle for National Identity
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has pleased Washington by deploying Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in Iraq. But half the public remains opposed. How serious is the gap between Koizumi and the Japanese people on security affairs? This Special Report includes three very different perspectives, and extends beyond the immediate question of SDF deployment to such issues as Japan’s role in the world, the lingering legacy of World War II, and how Japan can best contribute to stability in Asia as well as the Middle East. Naoyuki Agawa of the Japanese embassy argues that the Japanese people will continue to support expansion of the SDF under the U.S. wing. According to Masaru Tamamoto, the prime minister has pushed the public farther than it wants to go in the direction of militarization—casualties in Iraq could bring down the Koizumi government. Toshio Nishi argues that increased national pride will prompt Japan toward a more independent and assertive foreign policy.