Japan's Afghan Expedition
Gavan McCORMACK, Professor, Australian National University.
Uploaded on 5 November 2001.



1. Introduction
2. The Japanese Response
3. Legality
4. War Participation and The Peace Constitution
5. Alternatives
6. Conclusion


1. Introduction

On 11 September New York and Washington were attacked. Three weeks later, on 7 October, after weeks of intense diplomatic efforts, the 'Global Coalition against Terror' began retaliatory operations against Afghanistan. Though supported in various ways by many governments, the initial force was Anglo-American, with units from Canada, Italy, France, Australia and Germany, together with Japanese logistic, intelligence and humanitarian support, to follow. The world's rich and powerful countries, under unquestioned US leadership and without Asian or African representation save for the units from Japan, began bombing the world's poorest country, Afghanistan. The Coalition struggled to represent itself as the conscience of the 21st century.

By the end of October the war had wrought heavy casualties of civilians and destruction of social infrastructure, and it had driven thousands of people from their homes without dislodging its supposed targets, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leadership. As fresh recruits gathered in neighbouring countries to support the anti-American cause, Washington  talked of a war that might continue for years.

In November, as winter grips Afghanistan and the Islamic holy season of Ramadhan begins, Japanese, Australian, and other forces will set off to join this war, directly in combat in the Australian case and indirectly in a support role in the Japanese case. The legislation that underpins the Japanese Self Defense Force dispatch stipulates various conditions and limitations, but the leaders of both countries, backed by substantial parliamentary majorities, pledge their unqualified support to the American cause and American leadership, so that the Australian and Japanese flags may be seen flying alongside the Stars and Stripes.

In the Gulf War, conducted by President Bush's father, hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed and the country laid waste. The suffering of civilians, especially women and children, continues to this day because of the sanctions, but Saddam Hussein and his regime remain. The UN's Human Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food to the UNHCR, Jean Ziegler, Oxfam spokespersons and representatives of other aid agencies, all stress that the situation in Afghanistan is extremely dire. They warn of a vast tragedy that will unfold if the bombing continues to block relief and food supply operations for a population that, in the mountain parts of the country especially, will be cut off and face starvation as the winter deepens. For Australia, Japan, and other countries to pledge their support for the bombing and the war under these circumstances, where the lowest estimates of the likely casualties are about half a million, and the highest 7.5 million, is to embrace potential genocide in the name of security and justice. The prospect grows that fighting terror with terror will spawn terrorists rather than contain or eradicate them, and that it will diminish the security it is supposed to enhance and raise the likelihood of the conflict spilling over to engulf the region.


2. The Japanese Response

For several days after 11 September, the Japanese government did not respond other than by expressions of shock and sympathy. It was suddenly galvanized, however, by the blunt advice from US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on 15 September that it make sure that the Rising Sun flag be visible in the coming war, followed a little later by the advice that it was time for Japan to pull its head out of the sand [1].  In the space of a few days, while the US-planned operations were being described in Washington as a clash of good against evil, a 'crusade', under the name 'Infinite Justice' [2] and with the old Western slogan of 'Wanted - Dead or Alive' applied to Osama bin Laden, the Japanese response was prepared. The '7 Point Plan' for Japanese cooperation was drawn up, apparently under close direction by the Prime Minister, and published on 19 September. A few days later the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces were mobilized to escort a US aircraft-carrier departing from Yokosuka en route for the war zone. In due course the legislation to incorporate the Prime Minister's design was drafted and passed both houses of the Diet on 29 October. Under the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, the Self Defense Forces were authorized to provide 'non-combat and humanitarian' support, including the transport of weapons and ammunition, to the US-led Coalition in the Indian Ocean, and to carry and if necessary use weapons. By separate legislation the Japanese coast guard was authorized to fire on suspicious vessels in Japanese waters [3].

The legislation was subjected to a debate that was almost perfunctory, amounting in total to 62 hours, as compared to 179 hours for the Peacekeeping Organization Cooperation Law of 1992 and 154 hours for the Guidelines legislation of 1999. The novelist NOSAKA Akiyuki observed acidly that never before had any Japanese Prime Minister acted so swiftly and decisively to commit the nation on issues of such magnitude [4].  While scorning Prime Minister Koizumi's combination of deviousness, inferiority and cravenness towards US President Bush, he pointed to the disaster to which Japan plunged with its last experience of 'holy war'.

Though occasioned by the events of 11 September, the Japanese participation represents a further step in a slow process of 'coming out' by the Japanese military (the Self Defense Forces, or SDF). 11 September was providential in the sense that Japanese governments have long been seeking to advance their quest for 'normalcy' -- 'normalcy' meaning the normalcy of a great power, able to possess and project military force on a global scale and therefore entitled to a seat on the United Nations Security Council. 

Furthermore, apart from the military and humanitarian cooperation a large financial contribution was clearly expected of Japan. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, while Wall Street was closed and the dollar threatened, the Japanese government committed a staggering 3 trillion yen to foreign exchange markets to support it. That sum alone was more than double the $13 billion contribution to the Gulf War, an it was mere down payment. Still to come would be the contribution to the actual war budget, plus as President Bush kept repeating, a major contribution to the postwar reconstruction of Afghanistan and its surrounding region.  Koizumi's stress on the dispatch of the SDF contrasted with Bush's stress on the need for Japan to clear up its banking sector problems and set its economy in order. At the crucial White House meeting on 25 September Koizumi committed the SDF without Bush even asking for them. Afterwards, at the press conference on the White House lawns, Koizumi made a remarkable speech, in English:

I'm very pleased to say, we are friends. Had a great talk, friendly. And I convey what I am thinking. We Japanese are ready to stand by the United States Government to combat terrorism. We could make sure of this global objective. We must fight terrorism with a determination and a patience. Very good meeting. Fantastic meeting.' [5] 

His excitement over the 'great talk', the 'fantastic meeting', and his friendship with the US president, were oddly out of keeping with the gravity of the occasion and the immensity of the commitment he was making. Furthermore, when pressed by US journalists as to the extent of the Japanese financial commitment to the war, Koizumi replied with one word, 'Everything'[6]. With little thought of the implications, he was offering unlimited financial support. The huge sum Japan expended for the Gulf War in 1991 was already a burden, requiring special taxes to pay it. But then Japan's coffers were flush with money, now they are empty.  

 As the special legislation passed the Japanese Diet on 29 October, it could be seen as an outcome long sought by the US, and to a lesser extent Australia. Japan is seen at last to be overcoming its war and defeat syndrome, moving from 'pacifism in one country' to assume a diplomatic and military role in the region commensurate with its status as the world's Number 2 economy. Three sets of questions are raised by this process: the legal basis for the war to which Japan commits its support, the constitutional implications, and the question of the wisdom of this, as distinct from other possible ways Japan might have chosen to intervene.


3. Legality

The attacks on New York and Washington were immediately described, by the president and others, as acts of war. The term stuck, and led to the retaliatory actions in Afghanistan. The alternative term 'crime against humanity' might equally have been adopted. The consequences in that case would have been very different - police and judicial action to seek out and punish those responsible for planning and executing the deeds, following the precedent of the tribunals specially set up by the UN to try crimes committed in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, some of which are of similar magnitude in terms of victims as those in New York and Washington. The US had been engaged in talks with the Taliban designed to secure the handover of Osama bin Laden for trial even before 11 September, and after the attacks the Taliban actually offered to hand him over for trial, an offer which may or may not have been serious but which in the event the US ignored [7]. It preferred, or believed there was no alternative to, war.

Whatever justification there is for the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan rests on Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, the 'self defense' clause [8]. The position taken by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is that the two Security Council resolutions, of 12 and 28 September, which affirm the right under Article 51 to 'individual and collective self-defense' and the need to combat threats 'by all means', are sufficient authorization for the war. Since Annan and the UN did not demur from the view expressed by US ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, that the US entitlement was without defined limits and extended to the right to 'further actions with regard to other organizations and other states' [9], or to President Bush's statements that the war may continue for two years, it seems the US is being issued a blank cheque. Furthermore, the limits of the Article 51 right as it had hitherto been understood are plain. The legal right to 'self defense' is confined to cases that are 'instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation [10].' Revenge is forbidden. For the UN to authorize the launch of the war on Afghanistan one month after the attacks on New York and Washington, with possible broad regional expansion and expectation for continuing for years, is to part with established understandings of the law and to abdicate its own responsibility for matters of peace and international order. The process, however dubious, seems nevertheless to have been given a seal of approval with the subsequent award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Annan and the UN.

The most influential defence of the war as legitimate, the 'first truly just war since World War 11', necessary to defeat 'genocidal' and 'apocalyptic terrorism', was advanced by Richard Falk, well-known and respected as a scholar and advocate of international peace and justice. While declaring the war legitimate, however, Falk insisted that that the legitimacy depended on several conditions: the means must be appropriate to the end of 'the destruction of both the Taliban regime and the El Qaeda network'; 'the justice of the cause and of the limited ends' might be negated by the employment of 'improper means and excessive ends'; and it was essential that the 'relevant frameworks of moral, legal and religious restraint are scrupulously respected.' As the weeks of war lengthen and the casualties among civilian Afghan people mount, with millions of people fleeing, it is clear that those frameworks are not being respected; the principles of necessity, proportionality, discrimination and humanity are being violated [11]. Falk's theoretical justification fails in practice when his own conditions are applied. The bottom line is that the terror bombing of New York and Washington cannot justify the terror bombing of Afghanistan. The Secretary-General's support for the US complicates the matter but it cannot serve to change the law.

The most severe legal assessment is that given by the Canadian specialist in international criminal law, Michael Mandel: 'The bombing of Afghanistan is the legal and moral equivalent of what was done to the Americans on September 11. We may come to remember this day, not for its human tragedy, but for the beginning of a headlong plunge into a violent, lawless world [12].'  

Although most Japanese almost certainly support the principle of close cooperation with both the UN and the US, few have grasped the fact that the US sees itself as above the law and has long worked to ensure that the UN function only as its instrument, endorsing, but not interfering in, its policy aims and actions. The attempts within the UN to set up a special jurisdiction, known as the International Criminal Court, to try major crimes such as genocide, war crimes and major crimes against humanity has been resisted by the US (although President Clinton did attach his signature in one of the last acts of his presidency) [13]. The court has still not been established because the Treaty of Rome requires ratification by 60 countries and it has so far been ratified by only 43. The Bush administration fiercely opposes it. As for the existing World Court, whose jurisdiction covers disputes between states, the US withdrew from it in 1986 when it was itself found guilty of 'unlawful use of force' (the mining of harbours and funding of the Contras, in effect terrorism) against Nicaragua [14]. The decade-long bombing of Iraq and the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, among many other similar acts, were almost certainly illegal [15]. In these matters, as in its rejection of the Kyoto Agreement on Climate Change and its recent decision to secede from the ABM (Anti Ballistic Missile) Treaty, the US insists it is a country above the law. Indeed, Richard Perle, a key figure in the Reagan administration and an adviser to the Bush administration, told a conference in Toronto in May 2001 (as noted by a senior Canadian government official, Gordon Smith) that the United States 'should not be bound by any international agreements that would restrict its unilateral capacity to ensure American security. The friends of the United States should have no worries about a "Pax Americana" - he used the term - since America's intentions are benign [16].' However, as Smith observes, 'If the United States is not to be constrained or accountable to anyone outside its sovereign borders, why should anybody else? Why should anybody accept international norms and rules? [17]' 

The implications for countries heavily dependent on the US of being forced to endorse these attitudes are profound, but a true debate on such questions would be difficult and painful for Japan because it would raise unpalatable questions about the entire US-Japan relationship. As one prominent Japanese scholar wrote: 'The United States, which claims to be the world's policeman, has been acting on its own values, logic and interests since the end of the Cold War, ignoring the United Nations and other international circles. It is the United States that is becoming a rogue state [18].'

4. War Participation and the Peace Constitution

Ever since the US imposed on Japan in 1946 its 'peace constitution', Japan's leaders have been seeking ways to circumvent or revise it, to delete or neutralize Article 9 [19]. The initial rationale for this clause was to reassure Japan's neighbours, including Australia, that there was nothing to fear from a Japan which, at American insistence, would retain at its masthead the same emperor who had just led it through fascism and war. When a post-war Japanese military was established (in 1950), it was called first a 'National Police Reserve' (1950) and then the 'Self-Defense Forces' (1954). Throughout the Cold War the SDF played a passive and subsidiary role to the US, which prosecuted wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf from its chain of bases scattered the length of the Japanese archipelago. As the SDF grew in size and sophistication of equipment, however, the US became increasingly dissatisfied with passive support limited to hosting, and paying for the bases, and pressed Japan to do more.

In 1991, even though it bankrolled the Gulf War to the tune of $US13 billion, Japan was roundly criticized for having done 'too little, too late' because it declined on constitutional grounds to participate in the Multinational Force. Tokyo was shocked, even traumatized in the view of some commentators, by the criticism, and has ever since been struggling to overcome the 'handicap' of its constitution. In 1992 a Peace-Keeping Law was passed, under which Japanese SDF units were dispatched overseas, first to Cambodia, then to Mozambique, the Golan Heights, Rwanda and Honduras, but always in non-combat (post-conflict) roles, constructing roads, helping run refugee camps and hospitals. In the East Timor crisis of 1999-2000, where there was a perceived risk of being embroiled in conflict, Japanese forces were withheld, but it seems clear that as the situation stabilizes they will be dispatched early in 2002 [20].

But these slow shifts by Japan have fed the  US desire to turn it into an full and active alliance partner. Most recently the 'Armitage report' of October 2000 [21], the Rand Corporation report of June 2001 [22], and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's September 2001 advice to Japan were signs of the growing pressure. The goal seems to be to have Japan become a 'partner', rendering full military, political and diplomatic support on a global scale, as the 'Britain' of East Asia [23], The persistence on the need for Japan to revise its constitution is implicit in the Armitage Report, and explicit in the Rand Report, whose Recommendation 3 (Executive Summary) reads: 'Support efforts in Japan to revise its constitution, to expand its horizon beyond territorial defense, and to acquire capabilities for supporting coalition operations.' The Americans insist that the SDF should be able to engage not only in peace-keeping operations where some enforcement might be expected, but in collective self-defense, i.e. full military operations. 

The constitutional problem with this is two-fold. Firstly, the legitimacy of the SDF, despite Article 9 ('land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained') rests exclusively on the inherent right of all states to self-defense. Already tenuous because of the contradiction with the words of Article 9, recognition of the 'collective self-defense' principle would open the way to joint participation in military operations up to and including war, thus emptying the clause of virtually all content. Legislation in 1999 authorized participation by the SDF in 'rear support' in the case of 'situations' in areas surrounding Japan, but participation in the international force for Afghanistan, by any reasonable definition, goes beyond even this deliberately vague formulation; hence the special enabling legislation. The Australian bureaucracy, media, and political leadership, too, is also 'realist', urging Japan to become a dismal state', i.e. to overcome its inhibitions about the possession or exercise of military force [24]. Neither the US nor the Australian government feels any sympathy today for the pacifist aspiration they once cultivated in Japan.

Throughout the Cold War conservative Japanese governments were committed to revision, but they could never muster the political forces to accomplish it. After the Cold War, too, despite a concerted campaign by conservative political parties, media groups and bureaucrats, revision remained politically impossible. Popular Japanese commitment to the peace clause held firm, even though, under a policy of 'revision by interpretation', the words were simply emptied of much of their meaning. Nevertheless, although the most recent opinion surveys show a majority in favour of constitutional revision (47 to 36), the revision that they want is one that would allow direct election of the Prime Minister, greater devolution of powers from Tokyo to the regions, or better provision for privacy or environmental rights [25]. Revision of Article 9, the cause promoted by Washington (and Canberra) and endorsed by conservative Japanese politicians, is supported by only between 3 and 5 per cent of the Japanese people [26]. If those who favour clarification of the self-defense power (i.e. by changing the interpretation but not the words) are added to the literal revisionists, the total comes to 41 per cent, as against 46 per cent in favour of either retaining or even reinforcing the peace commitment of Article 9 (by moving to unarmed neutrality) [27]. This means that, while Japan's governments - and their powerful foreign friends - in recent decades have fought to impose their vision of Japan as a great power seated in the Security Council, armed and deploying its forces globally like other great powers, the Japanese people have retained a commitment to the constitutional ideal of a distinctive 'peace power' identity. 

It is of course clear that opinion shifted somewhat after 11 September. Those who believe the constitution should be 're-interpreted' to allow participation in collective security jumped suddenly from 25 per cent in August to 52 per cent by mid-September after the attacks in New York and Washington [28]. Cooperation with the US in anti-terrorism measures is very strongly supported (62 per cent in September rising to 71 per cent in October) [29], but still, reflecting the confusion in the public mind as to what 'collective security' means, more than half the people believe such support should be confined to medical and refugee aid. A Mainichi survey found that only 6 per cent believed the SDF should be able to offer logistic support to the American forces [30]. Most, by 46 to 42, opposed the dispatch of the SDF that the Prime Minister promised[31], even though by 16 October a majority was apparently prepared to support the special legislation which would authorize the dispatch (51:29 according to Asahi, 57:37 according to Mainichi and 57:38.9 according to Kyodo). By a small majority (46 per cent in Asahi, 63 per cent in Kyodo) even the bombing was supported. The confusion in all this is palpable.  

Whatever the legislation, however, the engagement in joint military operations in the  Indian Ocean, Pakistan and Afghanistan of forces whose only justification is 'self-defense' surely stretches the self defense principle to the limit. Secondly, whatever else they are doing, as Japan rushes to dispatch forces, including (if Prime Minister Koizumi has his way) its Maritime Self Defense Force missile and torpedo-equipped, state-of-the-art, Aegis frigate, to the Indian Ocean, it is plainly engaged in the 'threat or use of force as a means of settling disputes', which is proscribed by its constitution.

Within Japan, doubts about the constitutionality of the SDF were only worn down slowly during the Cold War decades as the SDF was deployed exclusively in disaster and rescue work. The same tactic now is used to move them one step closer to full 'national Army' status (as favoured by Koizumi) by committing them internationally in the same way. While the humanitarian role is not to be belittled, critics insist it could be better performed by a disaster response unit trained in the necessary skills, rather than a force of professional soldiers whose only raison d'etre is the defense of the Japanese islands from attack [32].

Although the Japanese forces are not being sent to fight, the careful distinctions being advanced in Tokyo as to the definition of 'combat zone' and belligerent activities', and between rear and front lines will be difficult to maintain in and around the war zone. One SDF major was quoted as saying: 'Our government's interpretation of logistical support is that we are not participating in the war. This is wrong. Any forces that engage in logistic support wil be identified as the enemy and it will beome the target of enemy attack. This is common sense [33].' If the conflict widens and begins to embroil states in the region Japan's protestations of non-belligerent intent will be worth even less. 


5. Alternatives

Characteristic of the political, legal, constitutional, and moral confusion that swirls around these issues in Japan is the statement by Prime Minister Koizumi on the adoption of the special legislation on 29 October. 'What was being questioned,' he said, 'was our basic stance - whether or not we can share the sorrow and anger of the American people [34].' In his mind it was clear that the only way he could think to 'share the sorrow and anger' was by sending Japan's forces. Such impoverished imagination is characteristic of Koizumi and his party.

The Japanese case for being a 'peace power' rather than a 'great power' is never advanced from within the LDP and is seldom heard outside of Japan at all. Essentially, the argument goes that there are many steps that could and should be taken that would constitute a greater contribution than the dispatch of armed forces. In the present critical situation, with the moral authority of its constitutional pacifism, with no enemies in the Islamic world and no involvement in the historic disputes and wars of the Middle East, Japan should play a mediating, conciliating role. As a neutral, peace nation, Japan might have played a significant and constructive role. As a rich industrial power it should also be in a position to play a leading role in formulating the sort of regional 'Marshall Plan' for development, education, and welfare that is plainly necessary for the region. The fact that collective madness and desperation are phenomena with which it is familiar from its own, relatively recent past. Although the Japanese media does not swell on the point, the suicide bomb being a Japanese invention and instrument of its World War 11 planning, should give strength to Japan's ability to understand the forces that have erupted in the Middle East. Japan's wartime 'Kamikaze' pilots have remained national heroes to many, including Prime Minister Koizumi, and, in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and other cities, Japan itself had experience of terror attacks, albeit in wartime, of even greater scale than New York. In other words, Japan could have served the same goals of human rights, democracy, and justice that US leaders invoke, but in a distinctive way as befitting its distinctive international position and its history, mobilizing doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, experts in locating and removing mines, and developing in the process an international understanding of the Japanese flag as a symbol of peace and cooperation. Actually, as the former UNHCR head OGATA Sadako bitterly recounts, Japan (and the world generally) paid no attention to Afghanistan before 1l September [35]. Afterwards it simply rushed to offer its armed forces.

The case for an independent Japanese role is not put in any way as a counter to the US insistence that the problem of terrorism demands global attention, but as its necessary complement. YAMAMOTO Yoshiyuki, head of the UN Commissioner for Refugees field office in Kabul, writes: 'The Taliban and the US resemble each other, both convinced that truth is on their side ... A terror attack such as this could hardly have taken place unless there was a deep accumulation of hatred in the group. Although the US should be taking a long hard look at the spring from which this hatred comes, instead it moves to deepen the confrontation [36].' In a similar vein, TERASHIMA Jitsuro, president of Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute, pleads: 'It is in the interest of the United States that it has Japan as a friend - a friend that keeps a certain distance from the Middle East and has a variety of connections'. 'It is better for the United States to have a variety of friends that provide directions, introductions and, at times, warnings [37]'. Countries such as Japan, which hosts large numbers of foreign troops on its soil and believes unquestioningly in the US-led cause of 'democracy and freedom', while lacking any sense of their own subjective national interest, cannot be recognized by the world as 'adult countries', says Terashima [38].  

What the people of Afghanistan would, if they were asked, seek of Japan is impossible to know. One Japanese correspondent did, however, seek opinions of refugees in a camp in Peshawar [39].  He was told: 

'We are fleeing because Afghanistan is like a house on fire. What we would like Japan to do is not rush to come to the fire but appeal to the world for help in putting an end to the war.'

'It would be really helpful if Japan were to admit refugees with some technical skills and give them further training.'

'You are sending your army to help us? If you are going to be coming to refugee camps, ordinary people would be fine. For us, armies are what fight wars.'

'What we seek from Japan is cooperation in peace and reconstruction, taking advantage of Japan's own experience of recovery from the war.'


6. Conclusion

Facing simultaneous economic, political, and diplomatic crises, and a darker, more complex outlook than at any time since the 1930s, Japan has now made huge commitments. What the LDP, supported by allies such as the US (and Australia) have long worked towards is now coming to pass: Japan is on the way to 'normalcy'. The SDF is becoming a DF, Article 9 a historical curiosity. While Japan normalizes, however, the world is rapidly becoming highly abnormal. 

It is a sad commentary on the triumph of 'realism' in world affairs that those who once united to impose a peace constitution on Japan now unite to demand it be scrapped. The one major 20th century state that, however feebly and ambiguously, was committed to oppose 'the threat and use of force' as a means of settling international disputes, is now swallowed in the ancient dynamic of vengeance and counter-vengeance. The decision to dispatch the SDF, while one step in a long series of moves taken towards neutralizing the peace constitution, is almost certainly un-constitutional, it is being taken in haste after heavy US pressure and is not the reflection of any Japanese consensus. Japan for the first time in half a century is actively involved, albeit initially nominally and in rear and logistic role, in a war. It is bound to complicate the sort of independent, humanitarian role that a Japan committed to the peace principle as an alternative way of contributing to the international community might have played.  

In 1918, a Japanese force was dispatched nominally to rescue Czech soldiers stranded in Russia by the Bolshevik revolution, actually to advance Japanese national and imperial interests by taking advantage of the confusion in Siberia and Northeast China. Eventually 70,000 men were sent. It was four years later and after huge expense before they returned, having attained nothing but to sow the seeds of distrust among their supposed allies. One can only wonder what will be the eventual cost of the present Afghan expedition, and when and how the SDF will return to Japan.

The Japanese antennae remain fixed firmly facing across the Pacific, striving to understand and accommodate Washington but insensitive to its continental neighbours in China, Korea and Southeast Asia, regions that once bore the brunt of Japan's aggression. Japan's pole-star from 1945 has always been the US, but the UN was also for long the focus of hopeful idealism. Now the US star alone lights Japan's path. The UN is sidelined even as the Japanese case for a Security Council seat is pressed. 

For Japan and Australia, the two most advanced and richest industrial societies of East Asia and the Western Pacific, both with complex civil societies, to opt for '200 per cent' support for Washington is to weaken the hold of international institutions and international law, and it is doubtful if it will do anything to improve regional security and stability. Australia's relations with its nearest neighbour, Indonesia, a largely Islamic country, have sunk to such a level that Indonesian president Megawati refuses even to answer Australian Prime Minister Howard's telephone calls [40], or to meet him in Shanghai during the APEC conference in October [41], while Japan's neighbours watch with scarcely concealed concern as the peace constitution is eviscerated and Japan's armed forces once again venture forth carrying the Hinomaru (the same flag as their predecessors) into Asia. Japan and Australia resemble each other in the way their leaders combine servility towards the US, especially its president, with coldness and insensitivity towards the victims of the Afghan tragedy: Japan refuses to admit any but the tiniest handful of refugees (22 in the year 2000, as compared to 10,000 by Canada, the US and Germany, while promptly incarcerating those without the proper papers) [42], and Australia mobilizes its military in greater numbers to prevent refuge seekers landing on its shores than it does to support the US war effort.

US policy seems designed to create new structures of global dependency based on its power and wealth, but neither can shield the fact that, in the strict sense of a state that places itself above and beyond the law, it is itself increasingly an outlaw state (on everything from climate to nuclear weapons). As multilateral and law-based institutions disappear or dissolve under a uni-polar Washington umbrella, so the Taliban (and its clones) are likely to grow. Neither Australia nor Japan has ever been sensitive to the cases of export of terrorism from the United States in the past (but without the support of all three it is certain that the Suharto dictatorship could not have been established, let alone hold sway so long,  in Indonesia) [43]. 

Many of those who observe events from outside the major Western metropolitan centres note that what is truly distinctive about 11 September is that terrorism came home to the heartland, the US getting 'the taste of what goes on around the world on a daily basis, from Sarajevo to Groznyy, from Rwanda to Sierra Leone' [44]. As the 'coalition', itself including countries whose policies toward minorities within their own borders might well be described as terroristic, was put together, Robert Fisk, the leading journalistic commentator on the war, observed, 'We are not fighting international terrorism, we are fighting America's enemies... This region of the Middle East is filled with terrorists, many of whom are our friends [45].

Many, if not all, of Japan's contemporary problems are rooted in the syndrome described by critical Japanese scholars as 'parasite nationalism', for which I have elsewhere coined the term 'comprador nationalism' [46]. The prospects for both global order and regional community in East Asia are diminished as multilateral and law-based institutions are superseded in the construction of a US-led coalition, and new structures of global dependency based on power and wealth are created under the US umbrella, outside of international law. Post-11 September 2001, a new order may be emerging, but much about it looks familiar and it is not at all clear that we will be better off under it. Japan commits much, and will be required to commit much more as the crisis evolves. 

By late October, as the scale of the bombing, its consequences in civilian casualties and the widespread terror and dislocation of people, became clear, whatever shreds of theoretical justification in international law had existed in September were vanishing in the smoke, debris and devastation of war. Arundhati Roy, the Indian novelist who combines rare passion, insight and imagination in addressing this war, wrote prophetically:

'Put your ear to the ground in this part of the world, and you can hear the thrumming, the deadly drumbeat of burgeoning anger ... The smart missiles are just not smart enough. They're blowing up whole warehouses of suppressed fury. [47]' 


NOTES
[1] Armitage to Japanese ambassador in Washington, YANAI Shunji, and ('head in sand') to Asahi shimbun on 5 October. ('Nihon no zenmen kanyo o motome, jirai tekkyo mo kitai Bei kokumu fukuchokan', (http://www.asahi.com, accessed 6 October), and in Toshiaki Miura, 'All or nothing, says U.S.', ibid, 9 October 2001.>>back
[2] The name was subsequently changed to 'Enduring Freedom' to mollify the anger of Moslims around the world for whom only God could administer 'infinite justice'.>>back
[3] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Japan's measures in response to the terrorist attacks in the United States', 29 October 2001.>>back
[4] 'Warawaba warae, aete "hikutsuron" o toku', Chuo Koron, November 2001, pp. 128-132, at p. 128.>>back
[5] Office of the Press Secretary, The Whithe House, 25 September 2001.>>back
[6] TSURUMI Yoshihiro, 'Beikoku kara mita "Taibei 7tsu no kyoryoku, Shukan Kinyobi, 5 October 2001, p.13.>>back
[7] 'Taliban, U.S. talked about seizure of bin Laden for years', The Japan Times, 30 October 2001.>>back
[8] On the legality, see Richard Falk, 'Defining just war', The Nation, 29 October 2001 (http://www.thenation.com, accessed 17 October 2001), Stephen R. Shalom, 'A "Just War"? A critique of Richard Falk', (http://www.zmag.org, accessed 22 October 2001), Geoffrey Robertson, 'Let The Hague decide', The Age, 29 September 2001; the editorials in The Japan Times for 23 September, 6 and 10 October by W. Bradnee Chambers, John Barry Kotch and Myint Zan; Michael Mandel, 'Say what you want, but this war is illegal', Toronto Globe and Mail, 9 October 2001 (reproduced in http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/mandelillegal.htm), and Kajimura Taiichiro, 'Hofuku senso de wa naku, nikushimi o koete', Shukan kiinyobi, 28 September 2001, pp. 16-17.>>back
[9] Julian Borger and Ian Black, 'US hints at Iraq attack after hitting Taliban', The Guardian Weekly, 11-16 October 2001.>>back
[10] Shalom.>>back
[11] Shalom.>>back
[12] Mandel, cit.>>back
[13] Sean Healy, 'The empire wants war, not justice', http://www.zmag.org, accessed 30 October 2001.>>back
[14] Mandel, cit. The US claim to be acting under Article 51, defending Nicaragua's neighbours, was rejected by the court.>>back
[15] Mandel, cit.>>back
[16] Gordon Smith (director for the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria and former Canadian deputy minister of foreign affairs and ambassador to NATO), 'We're buddies with a bully', Toronto Globe and Mail, 15 May 2001, (reproduced in Nautilus Nuclear Policy Project Special Report, 16 May 2001).>>back
[17] Smith, cit.>>back
[18] SHINOHARA Hajime, formerly of Tokyo University, quoted in Toshi Maeda, 'Diet enacts defense bills, but doubts on alliance linger', The Japan Times, 24 May 1999.>>back
[19] Article 9: (1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
(2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.'>>back
[20] 'PKO ni jieitai haken', Asahi Shimbun, 23 October 2001.>>back
[21] Institute for National Strategic Studies, 'The United States and Japan: Advancing toward a Mature Partnership', Washington, National Defense University, 11 October 2000, commonly known as the 'Armitage Report'. (http://www.ndu.edu/ndu/sr_japan.html/). >>back
[22] Zalmay Khalilzad et al, The United States and Asia: toward a New U.S. Strategy and Force Posture, June, 2001 (http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1315/)>>back
[23] The 'Armitage Report' offers 'the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain as a model for the alliance'.>>back
[24] Senate Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee 'Inquiry into Japan', Parliament House, Canberra, 1999.(http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard). Craig Skehan, 'Downer to tell Japan: get stronger and lead more', Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 2001.>>back
[25] Asahi shimbun, 3 May 2001. >>back
[26] 3% according to the Asahi poll, 5 % according to a September 2000 poll by Mainichi. >>back
[27] Mainichi shimbun, September 2000. >>back
[28] Mainichi shimbun, 27 September 2001. >>back
[29] Asahi shimbun, 16 October 2001.>>back  
[30] 'Jieitai haken, 63% shiji buki kyokyu wa 6% - Mainichi shimbun seron chosa', Mainichi shimbun, 27 September 2001. For the Kyodo survey: 'Majority support new legislation: poll', The Japan Times, 30 October 2001. >>back
[31] Asahi shimbun, 1 October 2001. >>back
[32] See, for example the proposals contained in Glenn Hook and Gavan McCormack, Japan's Contested Constitution, London, Routledge, 2001. >>back
[33] 'World gets in war against terrorism', The Weekly Post, 15-21 October 2001. (http://www.weeklypost.com, accessed 16 October 2001). >>back
[34] 'SDF antiterrorism bill wins quick Diet passage,' The Japan Times, 30 October 2001. >>back
[35] OGATA Sadako, 'Mukanshin ga unda Afugan no higeki - Ogata Sadako san kataru', Asahi.com, (http://www.asahi.com, 7 October 2001). >>back
[36] Mainichi Shimbun, 16 September 2001.>>back
[37] Asahi.com, http://www.asahi.com, 25 September 2001. >>back
[38] TERASHIMA Jitsuro, 'Sekaishi no shinso teiryu wa nanika', Chuo koron, November 2001, pp. 142-149, passim.>>back
[39] SHIKURA Mikio, 'Shien, nanmin no omoi wa', Asahi shimbun, 27 October 2001.>>back
[40] Paul Keating, 'Meet marginal man', The Age, 18 October 2001. >>back
[41] 'Failed Megawati meet puts Howard under fire', The Japan Times, 23 October 2001. >>back
[42] OKAMOTO Atsuhisa, 'Senjo ni "Hinomaru!" o takaku kakagero!', Shukan kinyobi, 12 October 2001, pp. 14-16; 'Kono shuyo wa okashii', Asahi shimbun, 27 October 2001. >>back
[43] For brief accounts of what I mean by 'terrorism' in this context, see Shalom, Roy, the various texts by Noam Chomsky, and Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, 'Who terrorizes whom?', (all now posted on 'Zmag': http://www.zmag.org, accessed 19 October). >>back
[44] Slavoj Zisek, 'Welcome to the desert of the real', Independent Media Center, Israel, 13 October 2001. (http://www.indymedia.org.il). >>back
[45] Speaking with Philip Adams on 'Late Night Live', ABC Radio National, 4 October 2001. >>back
[46] For discussion of this phenomenon, see my The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence, Second Revised edition, New York, 2001, p. xx. >>back
[47] Arundhati Roy, 'War is Peace', Outlook, 18 October 2001, reproduced in 'Zmag': http://www.zmag.org, accessed 22 October 2001. >>back

An abridged version of this article appears in Japanese in SEKAI, vol. 695 (December 2001).