The birth of the post-1996 alliance

Prime Minister Aso Taro has arrived in Washington in advance of his meeting with President Barack Obama Tuesday.Despite Obama's welcoming Aso as the first foreign leader to meet with him in Washington, and despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Tokyo last week, the Japanese establishment continues to fret about the new administration's approach …

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Don’t expect Japanese troops in Afghanistan

With five or six weeks until the start of the autumn extraordinary session of the Diet, one of Fukuda Yasuo's responsibilities during the recess is determining his government's approach to the Japanese contributions to operations in and around Afghanistan. The enabling law for the current Maritime Self-Defense Forces refueling mission will expire in January, meaning …

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Japanese boots, Afghan ground?

In the Fukuda government's continuing quest to determine its strategy in regard to the time-limited MSDF refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, Machimura Nobutaka, chief cabinet secretary, floated a new idea over the weekend: expanding the Japanese contribution in Afghanistan to include JSDF personnel on the ground. The prime minister addressed Mr. Machimura's remarks the …

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The DPJ will submit its own bill after all

In the latest twist in the saga over Japan's involvement in operations in and around Afghanistan, the DPJ has decided that it will submit its own bill today.Asahi notes that the DPJ move is in response to recent public opinion polls that show rising opposition to the MSDF's resuming its refueling mission.Hatoyama Yukio explained that …

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Will a reprimand placate the DPJ?

Yamaoka Kenji and Ooshima Tadamori, the DPJ and LDP Diet strategy chairman respectively, met on Tuesday to discuss Nakatani Gen's absurd smear of opponents of the refueling mission as "terrorists."Mr. Yamaoka reportedly demanded that Mr. Nakatani be removed from his post as director of the House of Representatives special anti-terrorism committee.Mr. Ooshima's response was, I …

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