No, I am not some militarist condoning a preemptive attack on China. I am supporting “China’s request for Japanese soldiers to deliver earthquake relief aid”:http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2008/05/28/1516667-china-asks-japan-for-help-with-earthquake-relief in Sichuan. The Japanese government is still deliberating as this would be the first deployment of Japanese military forces to the Chinese mainland since the second world war.
“Jun Okumura thinks it is a nice idea”:http://son-of-gadfly-on-the-wall.blogspot.com/2008/05/japanese-self-defense-force-aircraft-in.html, but worries about being taken in by a Chinese bully. “Tobias Harris also supports the plan”:http://www.observingjapan.com/2008/05/strange-days.html and points out how it perplexes both the political Right and Left in Japan. My favourite quote is from the Social Democratic Party of Japan who are “against the plan”:http://www.asahi.com/politics/update/0528/TKY200805280255.html?ref=rss claiming that “the JSDF are not a disaster relief organization (saigai kyuujo dantai).”
DPJ SDP obviously aren’t reading our “Kaplan”:http://cominganarchy.com/2007/07/20/hog-pilots-blue-water-grunts/. Disaster relief is an important and positive role for military forces the world over. It has always been so for domestic emergencies. The JSDF gained immense domestic respect from its relief role in the Kobe and Niigata earthquakes. Taking these efforts abroad is a logical step in contributing to global security in the 21st century. This is a natural progression borne out of Japan’s first foreign deployments in the 1990s, and it could go a long way in mending relations between the two Asian powers.