Japan's Defense Force Goes on the Offense

Neighbors getting nervous; US applauds shows of might
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2007 6:13 AM CDT
JAPAN. Asaka. Japanes Defense Force. Soldiers preparing sandbags used to protect area where unexploded bomb was defused. 2004. (LON58710)   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Japan has been chipping away at a post-war rule that it's Self-Defense Force can only act, well, defensively. Tokyo recently completed a live-bomb training run on a small island near Guam, the Times reports, stirring tremors among its wary neighbors, but drawing support from a US eager for a powerful ally in the War on Terror.

In the past six years, Japan has upgraded its fighter jets, launched spy satellites, buffered its Coast Guard, and approved a law that could permit revision of the pacifist Constitution. Meanwhile, some Japanese say their country has already violated the anti-offensive strictures, designed to keep the WWII aggressor at bay, by transporting U.S. troops in Iraq.