Courtesy Reuters


Last fall, just eight days after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., Japan's prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, announced that his country would provide military support to the United States for the war in Afghanistan. His statement seemed to signal a long-awaited shift in Japan's foreign and security policy. Stung by criticism that it had hesitated to lend a hand during the Persian Gulf War, this time Japan quickly declared solidarity with the United States. New legislation was rapidly passed, allowing for the dispatch of naval vessels to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean,

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