Outside Looking In

The following was written by Kayoko Hara, a former El Vaquero staff writer now living in her native Japan.

It may be useless to talk now, but I didn’t want the U.S. to declare the war.

I surely did feel indignation against the terrorists at the time I saw on TV the hijacked planes lunge into the WTC and the Pentagon, and as the towers collapsed and thousands of people died. But I didn’t believe revenge was a solution for the people of the U.S. Revenge would only lead to more revenge. I felt that the emotions of outrage and sorrow overwhelmed the importance of rooting out the core causes of the attacks, and might lead to world war.

In Japan, there was a drastic change in politics after the events of Sept.11. It awoke the Japanese government to think of new ways to contribute to the world and to cooperate with the U.S.
Japan had never used the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) for military activities because of Article 9 of the Constitution, which forbids our country from participating in any military action unless it is invaded.
But to support the U.S. military, the Japanese congress has passed an anti-terrorism bill, which approves dispatching of the SDF. Now the SDF is able to participate in military actions for the first time since the Potsdam declaration.

The role of SDF is for rear-echelon support, such as medical services, repair-and-maintenance services, and search-and-rescue services in noncombatant areas.

I think the new bill and the dispatching of the SDF is just public relations for Japan. The country tasted bitter criticism for not sending troops during the Gulf War.

I think now it is trying to make a good impression on the American public.

If the targets of the terrorists were not on U.S. soil, I doubt that Japanese government would have pushed through the unprecedented bill to support military action.

What I want to say is that wealthy countries like the U.S. and Japan devour their resources by waging war.
To make a better policy, the people in the nations should keep their eyes on government affairs and should pressure them to do a better job.