US Pressures Japan to Change Its Pacifist Constitution to Support Military Action Againstafghanistan

September 20, 2001

Offering his support to Washington’s campaign against terrorism, Japan’s prime minister said Wednesday that Tokyo mayconsider enacting a new law that would broaden the self-defense force’s responsibilities in overseas conflicts.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi insisted that Japan won’t change its pacifist constitution, and that any legalrevision won’t involve putting Japanese soldiers onto the battlefield.

But he opened the possibility of Japan contributing more–in terms of logistics and medical aid–to a coordinatedattack by the United States and its allies against the perpetrators of the terror assaults in New York andWashington. He also said Japan would consider offering aid to Pakistan.

Koizumi’s announcement comes after intense and increasing pressure from first the Clinton and now the BushAdministration for Japan to take a greater role in policing Asia, even if that means changing the Japaneseconstitution, a move that would have tremendous domestic repercussions.


  • Steven C. Clemons, Executive Vice President New America Foundation.