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Japan's United Nations Peacekeeping Dilemma

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The Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) Law was passed in Japan in 1992, after much debate and controversy over the question of sending SDF troops on UN peacekeeping missions. The limits implicit in the "Five Principles" of that Law mean, however, the SDF cannot participate in UN PKO missions in any meaningful way. In this article, Kimberly Marten Zisk, Associate Professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, addresses the issues behind the arguments for and against a more active Japanese UN PKO participation. The strong antimilitarist sentiment which arose as a reaction to the specter of the Pacific War, and the fears of her neighbors, in addition to domestic political concerns, are all contributory factors to Japan's reluctance for a more active UN PKO role. Nevertheless, Zisk states that a s a "middle power" in international relations, and one that is very keen for a seat on the United Nations Permanent Security Council, it is puzzling that Japan should have placed so many restrictions on the SDF's PKO. She argues that for any comprehensive study of Japanese defense policy and PKO, the bureaucratic influences on peacekeeping policy should also be taken into account.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-05-01

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