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    Japanese guardedly back Koizumi in hostage crisis

    The Mainichi reports that a new poll shows support for the Koizumi administration’s decision to stand firm on its Iraq policy in the face of the abduction of Shosei Koda last month:


    A total of 57 percent of the 1,095 pollees said they supported the government’s stance, even though Iraqi militants murdered Japanese national Shosei Koda after they threatened to kill him unless Japan withdraw the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) from Iraq.



    Only 24 percent said they didn’t back the government’s decision to maintain SDF reconstruction activities in Iraq.



    However, the poll also found that a majority, 51 percent, wanted Japan to withdraw the SDF from Iraq when its deployment expires on Dec. 14. Only 27 percent said the government should extend the dispatch of the SDF.





    That sounds about right to me. The Japanese love their country and don’t take well to seeing it treated contemptuously by foreigners. They are also big on stoically fulfilling your duty to your in-group–the Japanese may no longer be used to actual war, but they’ve retained that aspect of their famed warrior culture. Most people, I think, recognize that the US is part of Japan’s in-group in geopolitical terms, even if they wish Koizumi weren’t quite so willing to back Bush’s policies with SDF personnel. On the other hand, this makes sense also:


    The poll, carried out over the weekend, shows that the percentage of those who are in support of the government’s stance to refuse a request of SDF withdrawal dropped slightly, compared to April, when other militants demanded the troops leave after kidnapping three Japanese people.



    This drop in the percentage of people in support of the government’s stance is apparently attributable to the shocking murder of Koda.





    The Japanese frequently fall into the same trap the Americans do: because they sell goods and give out aid and send tourist money to everyone else, they don’t understand why anyone would resent them. (In more Japan-specific terms, a shocking number of people simply cannot fathom why ill-will over World War II continues to the present day; that was a long time ago, the thinking goes, and we’ve been building factories in your country and employing your people for decades since then. Besides, we can’t attack anyone again–it’s in the constitution.)



    BTW, there’s been yet another aftershock in Niigata. (We felt it here pretty strongly; I was worried it might have been a good 6 somewhere else.) This one was 5 on the JMA scale and seems to have caused a few landslides, with injuries but luckily no deaths.


    4 Responses to “Japanese guardedly back Koizumi in hostage crisis”

    1. Simon World says:

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