The battle for Japan's soul

The Iraqi kidnappers of three Japanese civilians have launched another front in the War on Terror: a battle for the soul of Japan.

 

Prime Minister Koizumi has resolutely ruled—out capitulation to the demand that Japan withdraw its Self Defence Force [army] contingent deployed to Samawah. But the Japanese people are far from united in the spirit of defiance.

 

Social Democratic Party leader Muzuho Fukushima told reporters Friday: "I thought there was a possibility of such an incident occurring, and now such an incident has happened. The government should withdraw the SDF from Iraq. We'd like to urge other ruling parties to cherish life and ask the prime minister to make the withdrawal."


Relatives of some of the hostages are understandably distraught.

 

Shuichi Takato, the younger brother of 34—year—old hostage Nahoko Takato, left his home in Hokkaido for Tokyo shortly before 7 a.m. "I want the government to try to solve the crisis immediately," he said. "I want the withdrawal of the SDF if it leads to the release of the hostages."

 

Many political figures from both the opposition and ruling coalition have settled on a default position which is probably unrealistic: the Japanese government should rescue the hostages.


"The SDF cannot do things like rescuing hostages. We have no choice but to rely on the U.S.—led coalition forces," a Defense Agency official said.

 

Japan experienced a soul—altering encounter with military destruction in World War II. With the exception of the ancient capital Kyoto, Japan's major cities were virtually obliterated by America's B—29 fire bombing raids. So complete was the destruction in the industrial city Nagoya, that its re—builders took the opportunity to install a grid system of streets in the city. The ancient tangle of winding streets, and the buildings which lined them, were simply no more.


In the immediate postwar years the entire population of Japan experienced near—starvation, kept alive only by emergency food shipments from its former enemy, America. Even more than Germany, Japan learned that military aggression can carry a fearful price.


When the American—led Occupation devised a 'peace constitution' for Japan, in which the nation 'forever renounced' the use of military force, the mainstream consciousness of the Japanese people eagerly embraced the principles of pacifism.


It was primarily American prodding which caused Japan to establish its euphemistically—named Self Defense Forces, as an allied military contingent during the Cold War. Throughout its existence, the SDF has been a controversial entity, in the universe of Japanese domestic politics.


Japan's Prime Minister this week was officially prohibited by a court from visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which commemorates Japan's war dead. The ruling was widely applauded by many in the Japanese media.

 

But as the number of Japanese who remember the devastation of the war decreases every year, and as Japan has reached levels of affluence incomprehensible to earlier generations, the consciousness of the Japanese public has been evolving. An especially critical factor has been the behavior of Japan's neighbor, North Korea.

 

North Korea launched missiles overflying the Japanese islands, which carried no payload other than an obvious threat that its nuclear ambitions could result in the destruction of Japan. North Korea also owned—up to its past practice of abducting Japanese citizens, and spiriting them to Pyongyang, where they served as tutors to North Korean spies and terror operatives. Some of the abductees have been allowed to return to Japan, but their spouses and children (acquired over the years of no hope of ever escaping the hellhole that is North Korea) are being kept as hostages, and not allowed to join their parents free in Japan.

The Japanese public has been riveted to the spectacle, and has wised—up considerably about the nature of uncompromising evil.


As a result of the rapidly—evolving national consciousness of the Japanese, Prime Minister Koizumi was able to dispatch a military force of about 1000 to Iraq. Such a forward deployment of armed forces would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. The move was controversial, domestically, but the Prime Minister was able to hold firm and survive.

Now, the Japanese public has video tape of their nationals being threatened with immolation, live on television. As knives are held to their throats, the civilians epitomize innocent victims of barbarians.


Given that one of the victims is an antiwar activist, and another a humanitarian worker, it has been suggested that the entire incident may be staged. If so, it will backfire with a vengeance. Japan will not capitulate.

 

On the other hand, if the thugs carry out their threats, and burn the hostages to death in front of the al Jazeera cameras, there is a strong likelihood that Japan will react with a degree of anger and revulsion that become a kind of domestic 9/11 for the Japanese: a turning point in the public's understanding of the realities of being a prosperous object of envy in a world inhabited by failed states and failed civilizations.


Japan is at a potential turning point. The American Thinker has been one of the few voices hailing the process of Japan's re—emergence as a military power  since the very birth of this website. The thoroughly democratic Japan of today is a more—than—worthy ally in the battle to save civilization from its enemies, and, not coincidentally, a technological powerhouse whose distinctive skills and capabilities have much to contribute to that battle.

 

Although it is now almost sixty years distant, Japan has a tradition, more than 1400 years long, of military ferocity. Face and vengeance (the 'norm of reciprocity') remain vibrant concepts within Japan to this day.

 

The previously unknown groups which carried out the kidnapping of the Japanese civilians may have unleashed a genie whose deeds they will soon regret.

 

The American Thinker's editor, Thomas Lifson, taught about Japan at Harvard and Columbia Universities, during his academic career.

 

The Iraqi kidnappers of three Japanese civilians have launched another front in the War on Terror: a battle for the soul of Japan.

 

Prime Minister Koizumi has resolutely ruled—out capitulation to the demand that Japan withdraw its Self Defence Force [army] contingent deployed to Samawah. But the Japanese people are far from united in the spirit of defiance.

 

Social Democratic Party leader Muzuho Fukushima told reporters Friday: "I thought there was a possibility of such an incident occurring, and now such an incident has happened. The government should withdraw the SDF from Iraq. We'd like to urge other ruling parties to cherish life and ask the prime minister to make the withdrawal."


Relatives of some of the hostages are understandably distraught.

 

Shuichi Takato, the younger brother of 34—year—old hostage Nahoko Takato, left his home in Hokkaido for Tokyo shortly before 7 a.m. "I want the government to try to solve the crisis immediately," he said. "I want the withdrawal of the SDF if it leads to the release of the hostages."

 

Many political figures from both the opposition and ruling coalition have settled on a default position which is probably unrealistic: the Japanese government should rescue the hostages.


"The SDF cannot do things like rescuing hostages. We have no choice but to rely on the U.S.—led coalition forces," a Defense Agency official said.

 

Japan experienced a soul—altering encounter with military destruction in World War II. With the exception of the ancient capital Kyoto, Japan's major cities were virtually obliterated by America's B—29 fire bombing raids. So complete was the destruction in the industrial city Nagoya, that its re—builders took the opportunity to install a grid system of streets in the city. The ancient tangle of winding streets, and the buildings which lined them, were simply no more.


In the immediate postwar years the entire population of Japan experienced near—starvation, kept alive only by emergency food shipments from its former enemy, America. Even more than Germany, Japan learned that military aggression can carry a fearful price.


When the American—led Occupation devised a 'peace constitution' for Japan, in which the nation 'forever renounced' the use of military force, the mainstream consciousness of the Japanese people eagerly embraced the principles of pacifism.


It was primarily American prodding which caused Japan to establish its euphemistically—named Self Defense Forces, as an allied military contingent during the Cold War. Throughout its existence, the SDF has been a controversial entity, in the universe of Japanese domestic politics.


Japan's Prime Minister this week was officially prohibited by a court from visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which commemorates Japan's war dead. The ruling was widely applauded by many in the Japanese media.

 

But as the number of Japanese who remember the devastation of the war decreases every year, and as Japan has reached levels of affluence incomprehensible to earlier generations, the consciousness of the Japanese public has been evolving. An especially critical factor has been the behavior of Japan's neighbor, North Korea.

 

North Korea launched missiles overflying the Japanese islands, which carried no payload other than an obvious threat that its nuclear ambitions could result in the destruction of Japan. North Korea also owned—up to its past practice of abducting Japanese citizens, and spiriting them to Pyongyang, where they served as tutors to North Korean spies and terror operatives. Some of the abductees have been allowed to return to Japan, but their spouses and children (acquired over the years of no hope of ever escaping the hellhole that is North Korea) are being kept as hostages, and not allowed to join their parents free in Japan.

The Japanese public has been riveted to the spectacle, and has wised—up considerably about the nature of uncompromising evil.


As a result of the rapidly—evolving national consciousness of the Japanese, Prime Minister Koizumi was able to dispatch a military force of about 1000 to Iraq. Such a forward deployment of armed forces would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. The move was controversial, domestically, but the Prime Minister was able to hold firm and survive.

Now, the Japanese public has video tape of their nationals being threatened with immolation, live on television. As knives are held to their throats, the civilians epitomize innocent victims of barbarians.


Given that one of the victims is an antiwar activist, and another a humanitarian worker, it has been suggested that the entire incident may be staged. If so, it will backfire with a vengeance. Japan will not capitulate.

 

On the other hand, if the thugs carry out their threats, and burn the hostages to death in front of the al Jazeera cameras, there is a strong likelihood that Japan will react with a degree of anger and revulsion that become a kind of domestic 9/11 for the Japanese: a turning point in the public's understanding of the realities of being a prosperous object of envy in a world inhabited by failed states and failed civilizations.


Japan is at a potential turning point. The American Thinker has been one of the few voices hailing the process of Japan's re—emergence as a military power  since the very birth of this website. The thoroughly democratic Japan of today is a more—than—worthy ally in the battle to save civilization from its enemies, and, not coincidentally, a technological powerhouse whose distinctive skills and capabilities have much to contribute to that battle.

 

Although it is now almost sixty years distant, Japan has a tradition, more than 1400 years long, of military ferocity. Face and vengeance (the 'norm of reciprocity') remain vibrant concepts within Japan to this day.

 

The previously unknown groups which carried out the kidnapping of the Japanese civilians may have unleashed a genie whose deeds they will soon regret.

 

The American Thinker's editor, Thomas Lifson, taught about Japan at Harvard and Columbia Universities, during his academic career.