Following a three-month interruption, Japanese ships of the MSDF are sailing back to the Indian Ocean, for refueling and providing water to warships fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, and... supplying Iraq war's effort some say thanks to Japan's anti-terror law voted by the Diet to provide logistical support for coalition forces operating in Afghanistan. Not so simple it was. The parliamentary opposition had the curious idea to do its work that is to oppose the government (in normal democratic nations) but was slapped on the face when "the United States rejected a request by Japan that it verify Tokyo's contribution to the US-led "war on terror" in Afghanistan is not used for military operations in Iraq".
JMSDF destroyer Murasame
Japan had refueled warships since November 2001. (it had to order the JMSDF to sail back home after failing to gain the majority in both chambers of the parliament to extend the mission.) Not so costly and not so dangerous and welcomed move as seen abroad.
Washington gave security policy "encouragement", (you know about this little kick on the shoulders not to fall asleep in the Zen temple) and the United States and its "allies" have regularly pushed up Japan's foreign and security policymaking. How? Thanks to pressures from politicians, astrologers, free riders regarding international contribution and foreign policy by (not so) free of charge advisers of American and European military industrial complex, and thanks also and eventually to the intelligence community and why not some say... thanks to some US media in Japan whose fingers are tightly held by governmental agencies. Something the French, Belgium and Brits are too very well aware of in Africa for instance.
Japan's resumed mission is squared to refueling ships not directly involved in conflicts in Afghanistan, not to violate (what a subtile nuance) the spirit of Japan's pacifist constitution. Its unique Article 9 prohibits the country to engage, support in warfare and maintain armed forces. Article constantly violated and fueled by the neo conservatives and military geeks. Well everyone has to pretend more or less, right? Prime minister Fukuda did not attend and preferred to leave for... Davos.
Let's go harsher, "remember the glorious past" the conservatives and its press claim: "Returning to the fight against terrorism is only a passing point. Now we have to begin considering moves for continuously undertaking overseas missions."..." If vessel inspections are included in the SDF's overseas missions, the MSDF could participate not only in refueling activities but also maritime interdiction activities." (Click the title to access this comment from the Yomiuri shimbun).
Until that day of glorious past which is deeply rooted in the heart of the Murasame ship captain Saeki ***, the ferocious activities and engagement with enemies such as North Korean navy cruisers are attributed to the credit of the Japan Coast Guards ships and machine-guns. Why more and why defenestrating the uniqueness of Japanese so called peaceful constitution?
*** JMSDF Escort Division 1 (Murasame and support ship Oumi of Sasebo) Captain Seiji Saeki's speech on January 24th at Yokosuka naval basis, morning time: "Some have said we are violating the Constitution but we have pride and dignity. We'll do our utmost to restore confidence in our country" Captain Saeki is quoted as saying. Clearly violating the spirit of past missions' speeches and entering into troubled waters of political involvement by the Japan militaries. Remember?