This is interesting in light of a recent Mainichi poll that actually found that a majority of respondents favor continuation of the MSDF mission, by a margin of 49% to 42%. Not surprisingly, among the LDP supporters surveyed a whopping 83% supported the mission. I was surprised, however, to find that 39% of independents and 31% of DPJ supporters approve of extending the mission. While the 31% is dwarfed by the 62% opposed, I wonder what the figures would be in a survey of DPJ parliamentarians. Could Mr. Maehara actually get 31% of his fellow Dietmen (and women) to support what was his initial position on the MSDF mission?
In any case, the public is clearly not irrevocably hostile to the idea of the MSDF’s contributions, which leads me to wonder whether putting the government in surer hands might lead to the majority support that Mr. Yamasaki said was necessary when he began deliberations on a new bill. In the meantime, I suspect this move will clear the way for LDP cooperation with the DPJ on a civilian reconstruction aid bill to ensure Japanese participation in some form until the Diet can deliberate on another JSDF enabling bill next year.