I'm encouraged to read that Japan intends to send peacekeepers to Iraq. Although the story says that America criticised Japan for only sending money and not troops during Gulf War I, that's a lot more than many nations sent. (I don't remember the US being critical, considering we designed their pacifist Constitution, but I was pretty young then.)

The dispatch, expected to begin over the next month, will involve elements of Japan's land, sea and air forces.

According to media reports, 600 ground troops will be sent, along with armored vehicles and up to six naval ships, including destroyers. Eight aircraft, including three C130 transport planes, will also be deployed.

The total number of troops would be about 1,000. ...

The troops will stay for six months to one year, and, as defensive measures, carry rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other arms that Japanese peacekeepers have never used, reports in most major newspapers said, quoting unnamed ruling party sources.

In the meeting with ruling party executives earlier Tuesday, Koizumi stressed the need for Japan to live up to its international responsibilities, "instead of just talking about them," according to the Kyodo news service.

Japan is one of the richest nations in the world, and generally a strong ally of the United States. I'll be glad to have them involved in rebuilding Iraq, and I think it will be beneficial to the world (particularly East Asia) if the Japanese become more active militarily.



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