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British envoy criticized Japan's 'minor' role in Gulf War: archives

42 Comments
By William Hollingworth

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Critisizing Japan for minding their own business and not getting stuck in the quagmire that is the middle east? How many terrorist attacks has Japan had to deal with since then as opposed to the UK? And they still reap the benefits so I'd say 'well played'.

10 ( +20 / -10 )

Letting Iraq get away with invading Kuwait would have been like letting Germany get away with invading Austria etc. The international response in 1990 was correct and Japan should have joined in more than it did IMHO.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

Why this, now?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Perfidious Albion! They would say that,wouldn't they!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Has Tony Blair been arrested yet? Bloke should be locked up.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

expat - off the top of my head, now that the Moritomo Gakuen problem has been resolved by Aso's noble gesture (!), it's time to push a new argument to change the constitution (to play an important role on the world stage) because North Korea doesn't seem quite as frightening as it did before. I'm probably being facile but I'm just trying to think like a LDP politician would.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The ambassador might not have knowledge of the constitution of Japan.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

All valid complaints but pretty rich coming from one of the WWII victor nations that imposed Article 9 on Japan.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

What a great way to get the Japanese people to want to change the constitution! Make them feel like unless they send troops into harms way and donate billions or trillions of yen for weapons and logistics, they are not really part of the world community. I say, to hell with your wars, long live the pacifist constitution.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

This so called envoy needs a spanking as his History lessons have clearly been forgotten.

First off, Japan had until recently a Conflict non-participation clause within its Constitution.

Secondly, and lest it not be forgotten, Japan committed quite a number of atrocities against the people it conquered here in Asia - and that includes the Brits. And, should you think that this won't happen again, take a look at the Japanese Right Wingers driving around in their Black buses... they're just looking for a fight.

So, what's in store for Japan's future Contributions ? Let's hope that those workers it's going to import arent from Countries that Japan will end up on the opposite side of .. lest that bring the trouble closer to home, as it has in the case of many European Countries.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Until now I had no idea that young men's deaths count for something. Load a container ship with the best of Japanese youth, sink it off shore. Job done? That counts?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Japan should do what they feel is right and correct.

No more. No less.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Letting Iraq get away with invading Kuwait would have ...

yeah, and for throwing babies out incubators...

Oh, wait!

I say well done Japan, stay out of these stinking wars.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

So, Japan should have sent its troops to fight a war thousands kilometers away? Absolutely incompetent diplomat, he had no idea about the country he was stationed at, its constitution and laws.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

UlsterBoyToday 06:21 pm JST

Secondly, and lest it not be forgotten, Japan committed quite a number of atrocities against the people it conquered here in Asia - and that includes the Brits. And, should you think that this won't happen again, take a look at the Japanese Right Wingers driving around in their Black buses... they're just looking for a fight.

Nonsense. By that reasoning the sheer number of neo-Nazi groups in Germany is an indicator that they are going to overrun Europe again. The British government has been supportive of Japan "re-militarizing" since the Korean War.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

take a look at the Japanese Right Wingers driving around in their Black buses... they're just looking for a fight.

Yes, they often are. But they are not representative of Japan as a whole. And sorry, but it's a bit ironic, coming from someone who uses a sectarian flag as an avatar.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Would you like to see strong Japanese soldiers again, Mr Whitehead, like the ones that kicked Britain out of Asia?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Before passing judgment please read the John Whitehead – obituary

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/politics-obituaries/10567030/Sir-John-Whitehead-obituary.html

Sir John Whitehead, born September 20 1932, died November 8 2013

I would like to suggest that Sir John would interpret the Government of Japan response to the Gulf War in 1990 more reflectivity, with the benefit of hindsight, had he outlived to present day, balancing current geopolitical standpoints.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why did this come to light 27 years after the fact? It is most likely that whoever was in control of John Whitehead realized he was a twit told him to cool it. "Japan agonised and shilly-shallied but found it horribly hard to act. Hamlet writ large," he wrote, in an apparent reference to Hamlet's hesitation to avenge his father's murder in Shakespeare's eponymous play.

Whitehead understood neither Japan nor Shakespeare. We have a Constitution that forbids Japan from engaging in war. So in the end the Constitution won out and Japan did not go to war. Britain has laws it abides by too. And Hamlet. Whitehead had absolutely no idea of what the greatest English writer was doing in one of his greatest plays. Hamlet does not "shilly-shally." He gathers evidence before acting. Had the U.S. and Britain done the same the Middle East would be a far saner place.

Who is or was this Whitehead

6 ( +7 / -1 )

There is no place for militarism in Japan especially when Japan has yet to properly grasp the events of its own history adequately.....

8 ( +10 / -2 )

We have a Constitution that forbids Japan from engaging in war.

Not for much longer!

Why this, now?

The PR campaign is on again. Change the Constitution! Uncle Sam needs more cannon fodder to keep that Iranian oil American so Empty Suit Shinzo's got his orders from the State Department: it's Japan's turn to bleed for EvilCorp.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

How about the Brits staying out of Japan's business? Weren't they one of the countries that favoured the disarmament of Japan after WW2?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It's true. Despite being the second largest economy after the US for over 50 years, Japan was absent from the international politics. Japan has been described as economic giant and a political dwarf, and that is mostly because they are a very bureaucratic nation, there is no one person in charge, it's more like millions of faceless bureaucrats making collective decisions in a very non transparent, undemocratic and incompetent way.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

This is hardly breaking news. The governments of the “coalition of the willing,” including GWB when gearing up for another go, were quite open in their disappointment with Japan’s participation. It’s one of the things pointed to by those who want to revise the constitution, that the constitution limits Japan’s ability to support allies.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Letting Iraq get away with invading Kuwait would have been like letting Germany get away with invading Austria etc. The international response in 1990 was correct and Japan should have joined in more than it did

Now that you mention it, the UK did let Germany invade Austria. And a few other places.

However, this is nothing like that, as it was also the UK (and the US) who drew the arbitrary lines in the sand that define Mid-East nations today. The tinderbox is of their own creation, and the UK has no right to ask a country that was not involved at all to get involved in cleaning their mess.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The letter seems to be complaining more of unfairness in Japan's allocation of financial support, giving relatively more to the US than they deserved.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan did contribute financially and not small by all means. What Japan did was proper and turned out to be right decision by today's balanced view. Japan should continue the peace way in dealing with complicated world matters. Abandon violence is the right decision and a lesson learned through million lives 75 years ago.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I know this was decade ago, but utterly ridiculous criticisms.

Japan will never win in the eyes of a biased public.

If Japan doesn't send troops, they are criticized (mind you this was way back in 1991). However, if Japan builds its defenses and send even just peacekeeping troops, they are accused of whitewashing history and having a desire to rebuild its former imperial forces.

So which is it world?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

When Constitution is changed, Article 9 gone, Japan will be able to contribute militarily in The Middle East, or wherever Japans Allys need help.

This is a perfect example why PM Abe needs to gain the public understanding, change the constitution, and modernize Japanese Military to be ready to deploy to conflicts overseas.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Ossan

The Occupation of Japan was an exclusively US run operation. The UK had nothing to do with Art 9, or anything in Japan for that matter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Outta curiosity, over the past 30 years, I wonder what percentage of oil that comes out of the Mid East ends up in the US, as opposed to Europe, Japan, and China....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Black SabbathToday 01:14 am JST

Ossan

The Occupation of Japan was an exclusively US run operation. The UK had nothing to do with Art 9, or anything in Japan for that matter.

Incorrect to say "nothing to do" with Art 9. After Japan's defeat several members of the Allied victor nations wanted Emperor Hirohito to be charged as a war criminal and dethroned. The loudest in this regard were the USSR and Australia. However the US saw keeping the Emperor on the throne necessary to avoid internal turmoil and civil disruption which would allow the USSR to step in. An agenda evident in the USSR's grabbing the southern Kuriles after Japan had declared unconditional surrender. To placate these nations the US advanced Article 9, assuring all the victor nations that Japan would never return to militarism. Without the support of the UK we could not have gotten Australia to agree. This all worked out in the long run since Japan is allied with the US, UK and Australia.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well it was written in 1991 and Britain was 'ruling the waves' again as the First Knight of the US of A.

You can forgive the old boy writing that, without any knowledge about what happened in post-war Japan, after a long eve at the club where he was celebrating the reconfirmation of his country being the preferred lapdog of the Americans.

So, what's in store for Japan's future Contributions ? Let's hope that those workers it's going to import arent from Countries that Japan will end up on the opposite side of .. lest that bring the trouble closer to home, as it has in the case of many European Countries.

More contemporary inconsistent stupidities from the Rainy Islands, laughing stock really :)

The Occupation of Japan was an exclusively US run operation. The UK had nothing to do with Art 9, or anything in Japan for that matter.

And more, sounds like the Austrians saying the Germans ran Operation Lebensraum alone :)

https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/public_education/presentations/Setofdocuments.pdf

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To say that the UK had nothing to do with the occupation of Japan is simply wrong.

"The British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) was the joint Australian, British, Indian and New Zealand military forces in occupied Japan, from 21 February 1946 until the end of occupation in 1952. At its peak, the BCOF comprised about 40,000 personnel, equal to about 25% of the number of US military personnel in Japan."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Commonwealth_Occupation_Force

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hindsight is 20/20, and taken in the context of today, it's easy to understand why plenty of people are slamming the "British" side here.

However taken in the context of when it was going down there was some very serious, and at the time, needed criticism of Japan, and what role it was going to play internationally.

This is towards the end of the bubble, and Japan threw money at everything. Why send Japanese to die when they can send money! That was the message people around the world were getting. Japan gets it's oil from the middle east, yet it's not willing to participate in the coalition to free Kuwait.

Folks may not like it, but thats a fact.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

To say that the UK had nothing to do with the occupation of Japan is simply wrong.

People love staying in their cocoon of ignorance and only want to think that the USA was the sole occupier of Japan following WWII

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ossan

I uprated your posts to correct the unfair downrate. We're just talking here.

To placate these nations the US advanced Article 9, assuring all the victor nations that Japan would never return to militarism. 

That is the story, to be sure. An after-the-fact justification for Mac's unilateral decision to maintain the Emperor, made in spite of the wartime policy of unconditional surrender, without consulting the state department, and in the face of many in the Truman administration.

See Manchester's American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964, Dower's, Embracing Defeat, and Bix's, Hirohito.

It is still unclear, that is to say historians -- in and out of Japan -- have not reached a consensus, on WHY Mac insisted that Hirohito remain on the throne. The three sources I offer here provide likely reasons. Regardless, the historical record is as loud as it is clear: Mac made the call, and there is no record that he consulting anyone when doing it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The BCOF began Feb 1946 and swelled to a peak of around 36,000 people in 1947. The vast majority were Australian. All except the Aussie contingent left in 1948 and their numbers were reduced from 1949. They would have left entirely in 1950 if it weren't for the outbreak of the Korean War. There were British in Japan during that period but their influence was minimal.

As Black Sabbath points out it was MacArthur in control: he acted as Shogun, allowing Hirohito to remain on the throne, his staff wrote the constitution and when he left war criminals, rump nationalists and the yakuza created the LDP using CIA money.

However taken in the context of when it was going down there was some very serious, and at the time, needed criticism of Japan, and what role it was going to play internationally.

This is towards the end of the bubble, and Japan threw money at everything. Why send Japanese to die when they can send money! That was the message people around the world were getting. Japan gets it's oil from the middle east, yet it's not willing to participate in the coalition to free Kuwait.

Folks may not like it, but thats a fact.

That's my memory too. I seem to remember a rather pointed cartoon in a newspaper of a soldier rolling up his sleeves to join in a battle while a Japanese politician says, "I'll hold your coat".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There were British in Japan during that period but their influence was minimal.

Minimal or not, they were part of the Allied Powers :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Letting Iraq get away with invading Kuwait would have been like letting Germany get away with invading Austria etc. The international response in 1990 was correct and Japan should have joined in more than it did IMHO

You mean AFfTER George H Bush gave the green light for Iraq to attack Kuwait on their sponging off of Iraqi oil? Or the obvious prank broadcast on the reliable CNN about babies being thrown out of incubators.

The 1st and 2nd Gulf War. Or the obvious title 1984.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mr whitehead is rotten head. End of the IInd world war NATO allies disabled the Japan by inserting Article 9 in its constitution, which assured allied nations in War, that Japan would never return to militarism. But 1991 Britain wants it to fight with allied forces and also it wants money from japan to fight war. Remark by the British Ambassador calling Japan as Hamlet writ large. Is total absurd. If allied forces want to fight war they should have fought it with their own money and not from contribution received from Japan with end use condition. I appreciate the stand taken by Japan, that it was disabled by Supreme law of its land which forbid it to fight war. whether British would have participated in the war contravening their law of the land. It is largesse of the Japan that they contributed for the War chest and didn't participate in the war.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kuwait was slant drilling into Iraqi oilfields and stealing billions of barrels if oil. Saddamasked them to stop and they laughed at him.

This is why the US ambassador at the time was sympathetic to Iraq and why Iraq invaded Kuwait.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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