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Should Japan continue the SDF refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, which has been in place since 2001 in support of U.S.-led antiterrorism operations in and around Afghanistan?

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Why is the vote 50/50 still? The Afghanistan war isn't nearly as controversial as the Iraq war, and there is still a lot of work to be done in that country. Just think, if a strong coalition force helps create a foothold for an emancipated people and democratic government we would be doing a great service for their country, and people. Not to mention creating a strong ally in the region.

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Reasons why Japan should not continue this operation: 1. Japan has no direct interest in this conflict 2. Japan has a pacifist constitution and aiding a war in a foreign land is seen by many to violate the spirit of that document 3. Support for the Afghanistan War is far from universal and increasingly citizens of the countries involved are questioning their involvement (Germany, UK, Canada, USA, Japan).

We can discuss why the war in Afghanistan is ill-conceived and probably futile if you like.

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Third option, don't care

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time for someone else to foot the bill and let J tax yen be spent on pulling Japan out of the mess it's in

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Japan should give up on its refueling cruises in the Indian Ocean and instead send in brigade of infantry into Afghanistan. Indeed, it is time that Japan wakes up and realizes that the threat of radical Islam as professed by the Taliban is a threat to us all. The war in Afghanistan is not just America's war. It is not just Britain's war. It is a war that belongs to us all. As such, it is time that the Japanese get off the fence and start donating some blood rather than just floating around the Indian Ocean and showing each other the golden rivet.

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Japan must stand strong, and continue it's support of the U.S.-led War of Terror against Afghanistan.

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I dont understand, who is the people doing terror?

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Japan should give up on its refueling cruises in the Indian Ocean and instead send in brigade of infantry into Afghanistan. Indeed, it is time that Japan wakes up and realizes that the threat of radical Islam as professed by the Taliban is a threat to us all. The war in Afghanistan is not just America's war. It is not just Britain's war. It is a war that belongs to us all. As such, it is time that the Japanese get off the fence and start donating some blood rather than just floating around the Indian Ocean and showing each other the golden rivet.

First, there is no way Japan will send in combat troops, because that violates their constitution. Second, the Taliban is not an international terrorist organization. While it did provide safe haven for Al Qaeda prior to the U.S. invasion in 2001, the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist attacks were planned and carried out by Al Qaeda, not the Taliban. Defeating the Taliban is not in America's direct interest and certainly not in Japan's. Defeating an insurgency like the Taliban could take years, if not decades, and would involve a level of causalities and destruction that the American nation will not tolerate. The U.S. could easily maintain a military presence in the region that would target Al Qaeda. This is far more prudent and effective than trying to defeat a full blown insurgency, build an economy, and create a civil society and government system that did not exist before our arrival. All of that must be accomplished without the support of a large portion of the populace. It's not going to be successful. It's not going to work. There is no exit strategy. There is no endgame.

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U.S.-led antiterrorism ops? (back in 2001)

Is it stlll US led? or NATO led now? I'm sure thee are few military types that read this that would know straight away.

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would involve a level of causalities and destruction that the American nation will not tolerate.

So what do you suggest? Cut and run? The allies (you know who they are and including Japan) need to get with the game. Furthermore, the Taliban are terrorists. What else would you call a bunch of fanatical loonies who cut off heads because people are exercising their democratic rights.

Then again, this whole debate is rather inane if you consider that nobody cares about JT anyway.

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yeah right. i care.

whether the weapon is a sword or a high tech, wat-ya-call-it!; dead is dead. It all sounds like terror. And stuff your uppity attitude about getting with the game. It's not cut and run. It's cut and grow. We are somehow gonna have to learn to live with the fact that some people think differently to yourself, and live differently, and doesnt matter how much you think they might treat theyre women wrong, Im sure words could be thrown about about treating your men wrong. So lets just stop it.

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Japan should use all that money and effort to train more Karzai government armed force. In the long run only Afgan government can fight and win this war with America and its allies support. If and when Taliban becomes strong, the allies will just have to bomb them to keep them week and powerless on one hand . On the other hand the Allies will have to support Afghan government to improve the life of its populace. This way the war will be much cheaper and can avoid the fatigue of American people who are not very good at long war.

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It's not cut and run. It's cut and grow. We are somehow gonna have to learn to live with the fact that some people think differently to yourself, and live differently,

You're confusing two totally different philosophies. Any two people can have a respectful difference of oppinion (i.e. not kill each other over it). As soon as you try to kill someone now that difference of oppinion is there business too, and they have the right to defend themselves. The Taliban and even Al Qaeda were left relatively unharmed by the United States until the acts of terrorism reached American soil. Look at North Korea! Kim Jong Il poses a much bigger threat to Japan/Korea/America than the Taliban. Thing is, no one really cares too much as long as he keeps to himself.

The notion that Afghanistan is "America's War" is irresponsible. The Iraqi War, yes, but not Afghanistan.

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mechadamuramu at 12:46 AM JST - 16th September

“The notion that Afghanistan is "America's War" is irresponsible. The Iraqi War, yes, but not Afghanistan.”

Really? You amaze me. Just who do you think attacked Afghanistan & why? Would any country other than America have attack Afghanistan? By that I am not saying that there wasn’t some need for the attack. What I object to is your re-writing of the facts. The US stated this war even if it did have UN backing, even if it did involve other western counties.

Japan has no place in this ¡ shouldn’t be trying to keep the US happy by even this refuelling operation. This war isn’t being fought, it is being contained so as to reduce US and civilian casualties in an effort to keep the American people on side. America has the power to end this in a short time, but only by leaving it to the military to their job without politically tying their hands behind their backs. The pointless idea of trying to introduce democracy to a country that doesn’t want it and doesn’t know what to do with it when it is given to them is going to drag this madness out for years.

Either fight the war or leave. Playing at being the good guy will resolve nothing.

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Japan should continue to operate in the world community where it can have a genuine impact, e.g., policing against maritime piracy, or working with reconstruction in war ravaged, depressed areas; maybe even mine clearing.

If the refueling operation was practice for further global assists, fine. But I suspect they've had practice enough now. Time to go do something else.

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What most japanese want to know before answer these question... is how long these war is suppoused to last? After 8 long years we still dont see the end.

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To continue the refuelling means maintaining the status quo ie; US being the master and Japan being the servant. Japan should wake up to the 21st century. The balance of wealth of power has moved from north america to east asia.

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I would say yes to support the U.S. but in the other way it will only make the terrorists feel more important. I think they want to prove themselves to the world because they get so much attention. It's a difficult choice. But I chose for No... because in the end it will lead from bad to worse.

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Tokyo’s alternative way to help stabilize Afghanistan should be based on the recognition, even if not shared by America, that stationing foreign troops for long for whatever reasons in the heart of darkness of the continent gives rise to anti-American sentiments and violence among the natives.

Al-Qaeda's self-proclaimed reason for 9.11 was because America stationed its troops in Saudi Arabia and supports Israel which occupies Palestine. Though America already pulled troops out of Saudi Arabia, they still keep some troops in Iraq for preventing terrorism and shifted its main front to Afghanistan where they actually see no signs of major Al-Qaida presence. In this operation of enduring freedom for Afghanistan, Al-Qaida seemed to be confused somehow or other with the Taliban. The cause of violence by Al-Qaida as described above is different from that of the Taliban. The Taliban, as supercub wrote, is not a group that aims at terrorism and slaughter. They originally stood up to bring peace to and rule Afghanistan based on Islamic fundamentalism where order had been lost in its civil war and regional warlords got away with whatever they liked. They were not anti-American and had no intention to attack America either. It's just after the U.S. opened an attack on them for sheltering Al-Qaida and stationed troops that they began attacking the foreign troops.

There is a concern that if the U.S. withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, the Islamic fundamentalists will rule the two countries and spread their influence to Pakistan thereby attacking the Western countries. But Mr. Magosaki Ukeru, a professor at National Defense Academy of Japan and the former ambassador to Iran, argues in his book "Nichibei Domei no Shotai (True colors of US-Japan Alliance) that such inference is not valid according to the tenet of Islam. The Quran teaches:

Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and instead send you guarantees of peace, then God hath opened no way for you to war against them. (WOMEN Chapter 90)

It does not tell you to pursue war against those who withdraw from you. But stationing the western troops in Afghanistan and Iraq will shake up their defensive battle. As long as they keep stationing troops, the battle will continue, stirring anti-western sentiments and making for more offensives. Japan’s alternative way to help stabilize Afghanistan might as well be based on this perception.

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Seiharinokaze at 06:44 PM JST - 18th September

This child like reasoning would involve the abandonment of millions of Israelis to their fate at the hands of those so peace loving Muslims. Perhaps you might like to also explain to we simpletons what is to be done with the millions of Muslims that have chosen to live in Western countries while demanding that they are allowed to practice their religion in their own way. Would Western countries then be right to class these people as intruders? If they simply lived in their adopted counties by the laws of those countries it might be different, but they don’t, they demand & expect to be given rights over those of the indigenous populations & when they imagine those rights infringed they turn to extremism. Backing out of Muslim countries to keep the peace is a nonsensical non-starter, it shows weakness & such a show only feeds the monster you seem to fear so much that you want to run away from rather than confront.

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If Japan backs down, it effectively joins Al-Queada.

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Hephatsheput at 04:19 AM JST - 20th September

“If Japan backs down, it effectively joins Al-Queada.”

If it is at all possible for you would you like to at least try and make a stab at explaining that? Given how little you have written I really wouldn’t like to say what I think at this point. I would rather give you some rope first.

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Tosaken, it's pretty plan and simple. If Japan walks away from its responsibility to the international community, it sends the message that it is pro-terror.

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