Japan: Hesitant Superpower


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In May 1993, a few days after a Japanese policeman on duty with the United Nations peace-keeping operations in Cambodia was killed in an ambush, one member of the Japanese Cabinet commented that Japan was prepared to “sweat” but not to “go to the extreme of shedding blood” to maintain peace in foreign lands.1 While his remarks were quickly disowned by the prime minister, who refused to withdraw the Japanese contingents from Cambodia, they nonetheless epitomised one strand of Japanese opinion about how Japan should act in the international arena. Indeed, the Japanese approach to the UN Cambodian operation, the first occasion since the Second World War for Japanese ground troops, or Self-Defence Forces (SDF) as they are correctly called, to serve overseas, has not been untypical of the hesitancies and inconsistencies which characterise the Japanese search for an international role.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRivalry and Revolution in South and East Asia
EditorsPartha S. GHOSH
PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780429434372
ISBN (Print)9781138352919, 9780429434372
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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