A look at the dynamics of the "coalition of the willing"

This is interesting:
Defense Agency Director General Shigeru Ishiba said in a newspaper article published Monday that British forces in Iraq should expect no military help from Japanese troops even if they are under fire.

The Times of London quoted Ishiba as saying that Japanese troops to be sent to Iraq will be prohibited from helping coalition comrades under attack because of legal restrictions.

Under Japan's pacifist Constitution, Self-Defense Forces (SDF) troops are not allowed to use weapons except in defense of themselves or of civilians under their protection.

"It is impossible for the U.K. commander to rely on Japan's support in such a situation," Ishiba was quoted as telling the newspaper.
In the real world, this probably wouldn't mean much. It is difficult to imagine Iraqi guerillas attacking only British soldiers while leaving Japanese troops alone to stand by and watch. They would probably be attacked too - the Iraqi guerillas do not appear to be very discriminating in terms of targets. Therefore, if armed Japanese soldiers do go to Iraq while the guerilla insurgency continues, it is a good bet that they will be fighting at some point. So the public pronouncement that they won't be is probably aimed largely at the Japanese domestic audience and can hardly be taken seriously.

(Link via Antiwar.com)

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