Libmonster ID: U.S.-1230
Author(s) of the publication: A. I. LATYSHEV


Postgraduate Institute of Oriental studies RAS

Many experts - both Japanese and Western - agree that former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi can be considered lucky: during the 2-year stay of the Japanese "self-defense forces" in Iraq (from early 2004 to mid-2006), not a single soldier was killed or wounded. Meanwhile, almost no State that has deployed a more or less large contingent in Iraq has managed to do without losses.

This was mainly due to luck: mortar attacks on the Japanese camp still happened several times, but did not cause damage - either because of inaccuracy, or because of defective ammunition. It also played a significant role that the Japanese simply tried to appear as little as possible outside their fortified camp, and besides, they were constantly under the armed guard of their neighbors-first the Dutch, and then the British and Australians. Fortunately, the Japanese military did not have a chance to participate in any real clashes.

And the appearance of coffins with the bodies of Japanese military personnel could really cost both Koizumi himself and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headed by him in general, for whom sending troops to Iraq was a significant political risk. .


As promised by Japanese politicians, for two and a half years, the Japanese military in Iraq was mainly engaged in construction work: repairing the roadway, restoring and repairing educational institutions, supplying equipment to hospitals, and supplying the population with drinking water. And we are talking, rather, about the organizational side of the matter and assistance with equipment, since the construction work itself was carried out by hired workers from among local residents.

At the initiative and under the leadership of the self-defense Forces, according to official data from the Japanese Foreign Ministry and the Japanese Ministry of Defense, a total of 137 objects were repaired: 31 road sections (90 km long), about 40 schools (out of about 330 in the entire Muthanna province) and 66 other public facilities. This activity provided up to 1,100 people with work every day1.

Self-defense forces medics and accompanying personnel provided medical care in 4 hospitals in Muthanna Province from February 2004 to mid-July 2006. In particular, seminars were held for local doctors: the Japanese trained Iraqi doctors to use equipment provided through the Japanese government's Overseas Development Aid (ODA) program. Nurses of the self-defense forces trained local staff in patient transportation and modern medical technologies. Infant mortality in hospitals in the province has been reduced to one-third of the 2002 figure due to Japanese efforts. 2

The population of Muthanna province (approximately 550 thousand people) was provided with 53.5 thousand tons of clean water, which corresponded to a one-time daily water demand

page 36

12 million people (based on 4.5 liters of water per person per day). In February 2005, this work was discontinued due to the commissioning of the ODA3.

In 2004-2006, transport aircraft of the self - defense Forces completed 359 missions, during which 480 tons of cargo were transported.4

The very modest results of assistance provided by the Japanese to residents of only one province, in which approximately 1/40 of the country's population lived, can be judged from the following data:

- on average, 3 km of destroyed roads were repaired per month;

- the presence of the Japanese military provided only one in every 500 residents of the province with work every day;

- high-tech water purification equipment, which the Japanese provided only in 2005, was more than 30 times more efficient than the activities of military "water carriers", which on average provided 1/4 liter of water to each Mutanna resident every day;

- transportation of an average of less than 1.5 tons of cargo per flight mission-taking into account the fact that the mission of the air self-defense forces, according to the official version, was precisely to transport cargo - is scanty from a military or humanitarian point of view.5

According to official data, sending a contingent of ground self-defense forces to Iraq alone (without the costs of the Navy and Air Force) cost the Japanese treasury 74 billion yen, or more than $ 630 million. at the exchange rate at the end of 2006.6, a significant part of these funds went specifically to ensure the security of the military: to transport equipment, to build a fortified camp, to pay for security measures, and even to pay rent to local field commanders who, for a certain bribe, promised not to attack the Japanese military or even provide them with protection. According to some estimates, the Japanese government has spent about $ 10 billion on this alone. yen (just under $ 100 million)7.

The Japanese public had a natural question: how appropriate was it to send the military to Iraq? After all, from the point of view of effectiveness in providing specific humanitarian assistance (and the Japanese government assured that this task was somehow among the priorities), the implementation of the mission by military personnel, due to automatically increasing risks, was inferior to civilian technicians or simply providing assistance to the Iraqi population through international humanitarian organizations.

This shows that although the Japanese leadership somehow identified the task of "helping the Iraqi population" as a key one, it primarily pursued political and military goals rather than humanitarian ones.


Representatives of the Japanese Foreign Ministry in informal conversations with me claimed that Koizumi was deeply convinced of the need to strengthen Tokyo's relations with Washington as a guarantee of the effectiveness of Japan's foreign policy activities. Even before sending troops to Iraq, the prime minister said that " the government's decision to send self-defense forces to Iraq was the only way to ensure cooperation with other states and preserve the effectiveness of the Japanese-American alliance." At the same time, he stressed that "in the event of aggression against Japan, the international community represented by the UN will not come to the aid of the Japanese, it will be the Americans who will save them."8

Building the most trusting relations with Washington was and still is seen as the core task of Japan's entire foreign policy by many employees of the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Among many of them, there is indeed a myth that the main thing is to achieve the closest possible ties with the United States - and that " if Tokyo manages to maintain this kind of relationship with Washington, then contacts, for example, with China or Korea, automatically fall by the wayside."

During his visit to the United States, shortly before leaving the post of head of government, Koizumi told George Bush that he did not feel the same "feelings of sincere friendship and trust"for other leaders of foreign countries, except for the American president9.Bush, for his part, noted with satisfaction that "the Japanese Self-Defense Forces did a really good job in Iraq."10

Thus, we can assume that the task of strengthening the Japanese-American military alliance through the participation of Japanese troops in the occupation of Iraq was generally fulfilled: one way or another, the Americans were satisfied with the actions of their Asian ally, even despite the non-combat nature of these actions. Japanese-American military cooperation has continued both in the Pacific and for the first time beyond its borders.

A powerful economic power - Japan, which has the second largest economy in the world and actively participates in the work of the G8, still does not appear in the international consciousness of the club of powers that really determine the agenda of world politics.

First, Japan is not a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which means that it does not have a decisive voice in resolving this or that major international problem. Secondly, Japan is considered one of the leading world powers, but still the second tier, because of the special status legally assigned to its armed forces by the 9th "peaceful" article of the Constitution of Japan.

Despite the fact that they actually became one of the most capable armies in East Asia by the beginning of this century, which costs about $ 45 billion annually - about the same amount as the United Kingdom and France spend on their armed forces, their traditional military capabilities are still very strong. -

page 37

They are considered "self-defense forces"by foreign countries.

According to some Japanese experts, Japan's participation in the Iraq war did not help raise the country's profile on the world stage. The well-known Japanese political scientist A. Kubota writes in his book "The Problem of Sending Self-Defense Forces to Iraq": "It may be necessary to somehow realize the fact that foreign troops that participate in the implementation of the international mission under the leadership of the United States in Iraq, including the Japanese self-defense forces, ended up being involved in ... a dubious case " 11After all, the overwhelming majority of States, including such leading world powers as China, Russia, France, and Germany, did not support the occupation of Iraq.

Thus, sending the Japanese military to Iraq objectively did not help improve Japan's image in the eyes of the majority of UN members, including the majority of the Security Council, did not help improve relations with its neighbors, and caused a negative reaction in the Arab world and from the majority of Muslims.

Proponents of the deployment of "self-defense forces" on Iraqi territory have consistently emphasized the fundamental difference in the nature of Japan's participation in the last two US wars against Iraq: if during the first Gulf War, Japan "bought off" $ 13 billion, then the United States will not be able to do so. Then, in the second US campaign against Iraq, Japan refused to "buy off" and behaved like a "mature ally" by sending its troops.

However, sending the military - also a very expensive measure-still did not save Tokyo from the need to allocate about $ 5 billion to Iraq for post-war reconstruction. Meanwhile, against the background of the low effectiveness of the "self-defense forces" as a force engaged in specific reconstruction work, it can be assumed that Japan's contribution to the post-war reconstruction of Iraq would be much more significant in the form of significant cash injections than in the form of sending several hundred military personnel.

The Japanese army operated in only one of the 18 Iraqi provinces, which in fact was not among the most affected by the war. Despite the fact that the Japanese were in Iraq for two and a half years, having spent a lot of money on their stay, the volume of their activities was low. The local population, often fueled by Islamic radicals, has repeatedly staged anti-Japanese demonstrations in Muthanna province, where they expressed dissatisfaction with the low efficiency of the Japanese military and burned Japanese flags. According to public opinion polls, the majority of the local population believed that "the Japanese are not doing enough"12.

The repair of several dozen kilometers of roads, several dozen schools and public facilities, as well as the provision of drinking water to residents of one province for one year - look unconvincing against the background of the enormous damage to the economy and infrastructure that Iraq has suffered as a result of hostilities supported, in particular, by Japan.

In a speech to Parliament in January 2004, Prime Minister Koizumi stated that " the establishment of a stable and democratic Government in Iraq is very important not only for the international community, but also for Japan, which is heavily dependent on Middle Eastern oil."13

However, Tokyo's calculations for economic dividends, in particular, for oil concessions in Iraq, are not yet fully justified. Having effectively monopolized the granting of oil exploration and production concessions to its corporations, Washington allows other foreign companies in a very limited manner.


The task of making practical changes to Japan's military policy against the background of strong pacifist sentiments in Japanese society on the eve of sending the "self-defense forces" to Iraq was rarely mentioned aloud.

However, in reality, for the first time since World War II, Japan sent a significant military contingent to the occupied foreign territory, where fighting was taking place. Thus, in fact, Tokyo ignored the peaceful provisions of the country's constitution, which was another step towards formally rejecting Article 9, the principle of non-application of the right to collective defense, and, possibly , the "3 non-nuclear principles", which assume that Japan has no right to use, produce or import nuclear weapons. weapons.

page 38

In the very name - "self-defense forces" - it is predetermined that the tasks of this department should be limited to ensuring the security of Japan, repelling attacks on the country. The discrepancy between the content of the activities of the Japanese armed forces and their name began to manifest itself in the 90s, when the "self-defense forces" took part in foreign missions, in particular, in Mozambique and Cambodia. However, given the fact that these missions were conducted under the UN mandate, they fully fell under the concept of peacekeeping operations. Therefore, the illegality of the participation of the "self-defense forces" in them, from the point of view of Japanese law, was not obvious.

The participation of the Japanese military in the occupation of Iraq, which was the result of a military action not supported by the UN, was quite different in its essence. It was in absolute contradiction with the norms of international law, but, most importantly, it became a precedent for sending "self-defense forces" to the territory of a foreign state, where real military operations were conducted.

Thus, for the first time since the Second World War, Japanese military personnel, even if they did not directly engage in clashes, were a subject in an armed conflict, which, of course, went against the 9th article of the Constitution of Japan, which excludes not only the use of armed force as a means of resolving international disputes, but also the threat of its use. The actions of the Koizumi Government created an unprecedented legal conflict, which consisted in the objective inconsistency of the actions of the Japanese authorities and the "self-defense forces" with the peaceful provisions of the constitution. This apparent conflict has intensified efforts to " bring the legislation in line with reality." The Japanese military mission in Iraq became a catalyst for a whole series of steps aimed at changing the Japanese perception of the role and tasks of their armed forces after World War II and implemented in specific legislative initiatives, rethinking the interpretation of the basic principles of military policy.

Concrete work on the implementation of the relevant changes began during the stay of the "self-defense forces" in Iraq. In June 2006, a specially created LDP commission announced the beginning of work on developing "a permanent legal basis for sending self-defense forces to participate in international cooperation, even in cases where there is no UN resolution or request from an international organization." 14 In essence, this meant that the ruling coalition no longer wanted to conduct lengthy, tedious and, from its point of view, politically risky procedures for public and parliamentary discussion about the feasibility of a particular mission, as was the case before, for example, with sending missions to the Indian Ocean and Iraq.

In the opinion of the ruling coalition, it is much easier to consolidate the "Iraqi precedent" in law, making such missions an ordinary event, the decision on the start of which can be made exclusively by the government. The early adoption of such a law by the Liberal Democrats and their allies was spurred, in particular, by the situation in late 2007 - early 2008, when the Democratic Party, which won the majority in the upper house of parliament, did not allow the extension of the mission of Japanese destroyers in the Indian Ocean. The Liberal Democrats were able to overcome this veto with great difficulty and only thanks to a significant numerical advantage in the lower house of parliament, which is difficult to maintain. In this regard, already at the very beginning of 2008, work on creating new legislation regulating the deployment of "self-defense forces" abroad was intensified. On this issue, regular consultations were held between the Secretary General of the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan, N. Matimura, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. Komura, and the Minister of Defense, S. Yu. Ishiboy with an eye to the speedy adoption of the law 15. The intensification of work on a permanent law authorizing the deployment of" self-defense forces " abroad to carry out missions, including those not authorized by the UN , is a direct consequence of sending the Japanese military to Iraq.

Another notable domestic political event, which is directly related to the dispatch of a military mission to Iraq, was the transformation of the National Defense Department into a full-fledged ministry. The relevant law came into force six months after the end of the mission of the ground self-defense forces in Iraq-December 15, 2006, and from January 9, 2007, the National Defense Directorate acquired a new status and was headed by a full-fledged member of the Cabinet of Ministers. Since the time of Shinzo Abe's premiership, that is, immediately after the end of the stay of the ground self-defense forces in Iraq, Japan has begun to reform and

page 39

the defense decision-making process, creating a more centralized structure 16.

With the withdrawal of the ground " self-defense forces "from Es-Samawa, the mission of the Japanese military in Iraq was not formally completed: the air"self-defense forces" continue to participate in the operations of the US-led coalition to this day. They are stationed in Kuwait at the Ali Al-Salem Air Base. In addition, the maritime "self-defense forces" continue their mission in the Indian Ocean, which has been ongoing since 2001, where they refuel ships taking part in the Afghan operation of the international coalition. Japanese ships also joined the fight against pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Thus, it can be stated that Japan has maintained the presence of its armed forces abroad for several years. Of course, given their numbers and functions, this presence can be considered symbolic. However, there is no doubt that the LDP leaders, as well as the command of the "self-defense forces", value this fact of presence and participation in US operations.

"The deployment of the Japanese self-defense forces in the combat zone provided grounds for the use of Japanese military force in the post-war era, "experts from the Washington - based think tank Strategic Forecasting, Inc. noted at the end of the ground" self-defense forces "mission in Iraq." Koizumi will use the successful deployment in order to reform the activities of the self-defense forces... Koizumi's historic move may make it easier for conservative Japanese politicians to try to change the constitution, who want Japan to be able to use its military capabilities more freely. " 17

Thus, the participation of Japanese troops in the occupation of Iraq, the transformation of the "self-defense forces" into a full-fledged army that solves not only the tasks of ensuring the country's defense capability, but also specific political tasks, including through participation in joint operations with allies abroad, and raising the status of the "self - defense forces" - all this It significantly intensified the discussion both in society and in political circles of Japan about the " need to adjust the country's constitution." Adjustment refers to a change in a number of pacifist provisions of the basic law and their official interpretations, in particular, article 9 of the Constitution of Japan.

The discussion about revoking or modifying the peaceful provisions of the constitution in Japan has been going on for a long time, but events related to Japan's participation in the US military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and especially the legislated dispatch of a large mission of ground "self - defense forces" to Iraqi territory in order to conduct combat operations there, have catalyzed a undermining of the constitution.

In the spring of 2007, the Japanese Parliament approved a law to hold a national referendum to revise the country's pacifist constitution.18 This law comes into force only 3 years after its approval, and during this period of time it is not allowed to submit draft amendments to the Constitution to the Parliament. However, starting from 2010, such projects may appear in parliament completely officially (in addition to the already existing internal party projects), and sooner or later a referendum will be held, given that both the leading political forces of the country - the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party-are seeking to revise the peaceful articles of the constitution.

And this, of course, will be a continuation of the course of turning the " self-defense forces "into a full-fledged army and further practical strengthening of the military alliance with the United States, in the context of which the deployment of the" self-defense forces " mission to Iraq was a key turning point.

The deployment of the" self-defense forces " to Iraq was a significant event for Japan, both from the point of view of foreign policy and domestic. The Japanese military mission in Iraq did not solve most of the tasks declared by Tokyo before sending it, but it still allowed us to fulfill the main foreign policy task that the Japanese government really set for itself.: Japan's practical support for the US-led coalition's occupation of Iraq strengthened the military-political alliance between Tokyo and Washington.

At the same time, this mission, representing a precedent for the presence of a large Japanese military contingent abroad in post-war history, became a turning point on the path of Japan's departure from exclusively defensive ideology and served as an impetus for the implementation of concrete practical steps to change the role of its own armed forces, their capabilities, as well as to give them new tasks Japanese territory.

In general, the mission in Iraq was an important milestone in the desire of the Japanese ruling circles to seriously change the geopolitical status of Japan, which was formed in the second half of the twentieth century as a result of Japan's defeat in World War II.

1 Official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan -, http://mod.go.Jp/j/iraq/iraqfukkou/index.html; Information Internet portal of the Government of Japan -

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 ITAR-TASS, 16.12.2006.

7 27.01.2004.

8 The Time has Come to Build a New Japan // The Yomiuri Shimbun, 04.01.2004.

9 Associated Press, 29.06.2006.

10 Ibidem.

Kubota Akira. 11 Iraku jieitai haken monday (The problem of sending self-defense forces to Iraq). Shinseishuppan, Toke, 2004, p. 44.

Gary Leupp. 12 The Samawah Base and the Future of "Pacifist". The Fortress of Solitude -, 27.06.2005.

13 Reform Key to Mr. Koizumi's Future // Japan Times, 21.01.2004.

14 Kyodo Tsushin, 19.06.2006.

15 Ibid., 09.01.2008.

16 Ibid.

Edward M. Gomez. 17 Japan Says "Sayonara" to Bush's Iraq War // San Francisco Chronicle, 21.06.2006.

18 Reuters, 14.05.2007.


Permanent link to this publication:

Similar publications: LUnited States LWorld Y G


Libmonster OnlineContacts and other materials (articles, photo, files etc)

Author's official page at Libmonster:

Find other author's materials at: Libmonster (all the World)GoogleYandex

Permanent link for scientific papers (for citations):

A. I. LATYSHEV, SAMURAI SUN // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 17.07.2023. URL: (date of access: 24.05.2024).

Found source (search robot):

Publication author(s) - A. I. LATYSHEV:

A. I. LATYSHEV → other publications, search: Libmonster USALibmonster WorldGoogleYandex


Reviews of professional authors
Order by: 
Per page: 
  • There are no comments yet
Related topics
Libmonster Online
New-York, United States
182 views rating
17.07.2023 (311 days ago)
0 subscribers
0 votes
Related Articles
Catalog: Science 
7 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Sociology 
19 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Pedagogics 
37 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: History 
59 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Political science 
63 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Political science 
64 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Political science 
67 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Pedagogics 
76 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Ecology 
78 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Military science 
79 days ago · From Peter Nielsen

New publications:

Popular with readers:

News from other countries:

LIBMONSTER.COM - U.S. Digital Library

Create your author's collection of articles, books, author's works, biographies, photographic documents, files. Save forever your author's legacy in digital form. Click here to register as an author.
Library Partners


Editorial Contacts
Chat for Authors: U.S. LIVE: We are in social networks:

About · News · For Advertisers

U.S. Digital Library ® All rights reserved.
2014-2024, LIBMONSTER.COM is a part of Libmonster, international library network (open map)
Keeping the heritage of the United States of America


US-Great Britain Sweden Serbia
Russia Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan Moldova Tajikistan Estonia Russia-2 Belarus-2

Create and store your author's collection at Libmonster: articles, books, studies. Libmonster will spread your heritage all over the world (through a network of affiliates, partner libraries, search engines, social networks). You will be able to share a link to your profile with colleagues, students, readers and other interested parties, in order to acquaint them with your copyright heritage. Once you register, you have more than 100 tools at your disposal to build your own author collection. It's free: it was, it is, and it always will be.

Download app for Android