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Japan's War on Terror comes to a halt
The Times ^ | 10/31/07 | Leo Lewis

Posted on 10/31/2007 12:53:16 AM PDT by bruinbirdman

An unprecedented political impasse has all but ended Japan’s active part in the War on Terror and may have triggered the countdown to an early general election next spring.

Tokyo will be forced tomorrow to suspend indefinitely its controversial military presence in the Indian Ocean after months of bitter feuding and the surprise resignation of a prime minister.

After pumping nearly half a million kilolitres of oil to a variety of allied vessels over the past six years, the supply ship Tokiwa has performed what was probably its last task of the mission: filling the fuel tanks of a Pakistani naval destroyer.

Racing vainly against a deadline that expires tomorrow at midnight, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda yesterday failed to win parliamentary approval for a law that would have extended Japan’s practical support for the coalition efforts in Afghanistan.

Although the Government said that the setback was unlikely to cause permanent harm to Japan-US relations, it underlines the continuing chaos left by the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month and is expected to sour badly Mr Fukuda’s planned visit to Washington next month.

At home, Japan’s uncomfortable role in the War on Terror could be the country’s make-or-break political issue in early elections. Senior insiders within both the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition ally New Komeito told The Times that with parliamentary deadlock crippling Japanese politics, there was now a “working assumption” among MPs that Mr Fukuda would go to the country within six months.

Invigorated by newly won parliamentary strength, the opposition leader, Ichiro Ozawa, made it clear that he would use the debate to hammer the Government. He vowed to keep Japan out of “American wars”.

But looming over the Government is the even more contentious task of passing next year’s budget, which will probably arise in March. With the opposition Democratic Party of Japan expected to stop the Government in its tracks once again, say LDP sources, Mr Fukuda is likely to use a general election to re-start Japanese politics.

In line with the so-called “peace clause” of its Constitution, Japan’s Marine Self Defence Force vessels play no combat role in their mission, but perform what the LDP claims is the critical job of refueling American and British ships involved in fighting Taleban insurgents in Afghanistan. Mr Fukuda has argued that as the world’s second biggest economy, Japan should punch its weight on global security matters.

The LDP needed to pass special laws before sending ships to the Indian Ocean, and more than 40 per cent of Japanese disapproved strongly. But while former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had the charisma and popularity to push the contentious law through parliament, his two successors have struggled to convince a nation that the exercise has anything more than symbolic value.

Mr Fukuda’s failure highlights his government’s extreme vulnerability and represents what political analysts called a “groundbreaking” victory for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

In a catastrophic election defeat for the Government earlier in the summer, the main opposition party broke the ruling LDP’s near 50-year stranglehold on power to became the predominant party in the Upper House. Although the DPJ controls what is technically the weaker chamber, the resurgent party has shown that it is able to block the Government on the biggest issues.

Despite yesterday’s massive setback for the Government, sources at the top of the LDP believe that the anti-terrorism law debacle may have created an unexpected electoral opportunity. The LDP is likely to use Mr Ozawa’s triumphalism on the Indian Ocean mission to paint him as a single-issue opposition leader.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: japan; nowot; surrendermonkeys; tofueating; waronterror; wot

1 posted on 10/31/2007 12:53:18 AM PDT by bruinbirdman
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To: bruinbirdman

And who provided Japan’s security for the last 50 years at great expense?

2 posted on 10/31/2007 1:51:11 AM PDT by DB
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To: DB

Don’t blame the government, it’s the leftist media that uleased dozens of scandals of pro-US Abe administration just before elections defeating the administration. Who was in the back of this? The labor union of government workers linked with China that leaked scandals to the anti-US pro-China leftist media. STOP looking at the surface of the problem, or you are going to be misleaded.

3 posted on 10/31/2007 2:28:38 AM PDT by Wiz
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To: DB

Pro-US former PM Abe proposed an US-Japan-India-Australia alliance, but our government kicked it. What a dork Rice is. We lost a great chance forming an Aisan version of NATO to surround China from West and East. CIA should have supported former PM Abe in the back to kick the leftists’ but in the dark staging the election to defeat the pro-US administration. Now both Chicken liberals are the major players of both Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party.

4 posted on 10/31/2007 2:34:06 AM PDT by Wiz
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To: DB

“And who provided Japan’s security for the last 50 years at great expense?”

If you treat people like children, they will behave like children. The US government treats everyone like children, even it’s own citizens.

5 posted on 10/31/2007 7:30:50 AM PDT by monday
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To: Wiz

You got it completely wrong. You can’t qualify the Japanese media as leftist. The Japanese media is extremely anti-China. The J-Media might not agree with Iraq, but they mistrust China more. Don’t make crap up.

6 posted on 11/01/2007 9:14:47 AM PDT by charles m
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