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Japan Following a Wrong Example
It seems that the Japanese Government has been so shrewd that it has never let any opportunity go to remove the bounds in its pacifist constitution.

By taking advantage of the rare opportunity provided by the US war against the Taliban and al-Qaida in 2001, Japan successfully gained a significant breakthrough in dispatching its Self-Defence Forces (SDF) to overseas regions, which is banned under its post-World War II constitution.

Japan has been racking its brain to get rid of the restraints. Sending the SDF abroad marks the country's first step.

When the United States applied its pre-emptive military strategy in Iraq, Japan thought that it got another opportunity.

On March 31, Shigeru Ishiba, director general of Japan's Defence Agency, said that his country had the right to stage a pre-emptive attack against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) if the latter launched missiles.

In February, the country's Defence Agency official sent a similar warning. To keep watch on the DPRK's alleged nuclear and missile development, Japan recently developed a spy satellite programme, a move that has further deteriorated the already strained DPRK-Japan relations.

Considering Japan's lack of soul-searching over past atrocities perpetrated against its Asian neighbours, this island country's following in the footsteps of US pre-emptive strategy should sound an alarm for its neighbours.

The ongoing US-led war on Iraq, the first testing of the pre-emptive strategy which was first put forward by the US last May, set a dangerous precedent for handling international affairs.

The strategy, which only bases military attacks upon one country's subjective judgement about potential military threats or capability of threat from others, will undoubtedly make this world unstable.

That precarious example, of which international law makes no mention, should not become a paradigm for other countries to follow suit, given that a just war is only based upon self-defence or United Nations authorization. This time, Japan has made a wrong calculation to follow the example of the US.

(China Daily April 11, 2003)

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