Japan A Return to Arms?

The Diet launches a contentious debate on whether to send military forces abroad for the first time since World War II

At first glance, the legislation under discussion in the Diet last week seemed innocuous enough. The bill before the house called for the creation of a "United Nations Peace Cooperation Corps" that could be sent overseas in response to resolutions by the world organization. That notion appeared unexceptionable, since Japan has long been a strong advocate of the U.N.; yet the bill generated a furious debate. The reason: the proposed law would allow the Prime Minister to dispatch units of the armed forces to foreign soil for the first time since 1945.

No issues in Japan are as controversial, or as...

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