Still In Iraq


Japan was one of the 40 odd nations that joined the coalition in Iraq. This caused, then PM, Koizumi a lot of headaches. One, because Japan’s military is called a Self-Defense Force (自衛隊) and the constitution forbids military attacks. Two, because it was not a popular move, but rather a move based on his convictions.

Many opponents jumped on the constitutional violation bandwagon, but the SDF was only providing support, supply, and reconstruction services. Many also called him America’s lap dog and suggested political motivation for his commitment of forces; however, the more political move would be to follow the popular opinion.

When the original agreement was expiring, talking heads saw it as Koizumi’s chance to please both sides. Instead he extended the agreement and managed to gain in popularity. He has been quite the wizard at taking challenging positions and still gaining political strength. Too bad he stepped down based on self-imposed term limiting.

Anyhow, a reliable source (an SDF instructor) told me that the troops returned in July when the extension period expired. On the TV they had a quiz show reviewing top celebrities knowledge of last year’s big news stories. One question was: Are SDF forces still deployed in Iraq? I missed this question because ‘most’ of the forces returned in July. There is a small contingent handling some kind of delivery services still there.


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