Japan: The People Say No

The People Say No

In the end, public opinion prevailed. Last week Japan's Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu was forced to abandon legislation that would have sent Japanese military personnel to the Persian Gulf under United Nations auspices to serve in noncombatant positions. Kaifu argued that the measure was designed to demonstrate Japan's commitment to the U.N. resolutions against Iraq. But the Japanese public remained unconvinced: a poll in the daily Asahi Shimbun showed 78% were against sending troops abroad.

Faced with such stiff opposition, Kaifu was forced to retreat. He dropped the idea of sending soldiers, but to stem American criticism of Japan's inaction in...

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