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Japan ``Dispatch Self-Defense Force to Support US``

Posted September. 21, 2001 08:35,   


Japan has decided to dispatch its Self-Defense Force to support the US in its war against terrorism.

Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro held a press conference on the 19th and announced his intention to dispatch the troops, ``We are urgently looking into measures to dispatch troops to aid the US forces in medicine, transportation, and other supplies.`` Although Japan`s SDF is participating as a support force, this is the first time that the SDF is being dispatched for war since the Second World War.

The SDF will supply weapons and ammunition under Japan`s new regulation for dispatching the troops and provide oil and maintenance for air jet fighters, making Japan a full participant in the US-led war.

Furthermore, Japan will deploy its Aegis missile carrier battleship for intelligence gathering. Talks are also expected to take place regarding the Aegis escorting the 7th US Battle cruiser Kitty Hawk as it prepares to depart from the Yokoska port in Kanagawa.

Deploying the battleship for intelligence gathering does not pose a problem, but escorting the US ship in waging war violates Japan`s legal restriction on `exercising collective self-defense power`.

It is expected that dispatching the SDF will lift many of the restrictions that have limited SDF operations and considerably expand the scope of its activities.

During the 1991 Gulf War, Japan provided 13 billion dollars for the war and dispatched a vessel to eliminate underwater sea mines.

Prime Minister Koizumi is expected to visit to US by the beginning of next week at the latest and hold talks with President George W. Bush about Japan`s aid to the US.

Shim Kyu-Sun ksshim@donga.com