Hayashi stresses action in terrorism fight

by Jun Hongo

In the fight against terrorism, Japan will earn more respect around the world through action than by just providing money, Defense Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Thursday.

Speaking on the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, Hayashi reiterated in his address at the Defense Ministry that Japan must extend the bill to allow the Maritime Self-Defense Force to continue its refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

“The Gulf War proved that providing financial backup was not enough” to make Japan appreciated by other countries, despite Tokyo providing $13 billion for the multinational forces. Instead, Hayashi said, the MSDF must continue to play a part in the U.S.-led operations in and around Afghanistan.

Hayashi also stressed during the address that 24 Japanese died in the 9/11 attacks, placing Japan behind only the U.S. and the U.K. in terms of the number of casualties. Japan has also been identified as a target by terrorist organizations, he said.

“No compromises can be made in fighting the terrorists,” he said.

The special law that authorizes the MSDF dispatch to the Indian Ocean expires on Jan. 15. All five candidates running in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election have said the antiterrorism law should be extended, but the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party, opposes the extension.

“Activities in the Indian Ocean have been highly praised by other countries,” Hayashi said, noting they contribute not only to fighting drug-trafficking but to ensuring the stable transport of oil to Japan.

The fight against terrorism “is a difficult battle that tries our patience,” but is one that will ultimately benefit Japan, Hayashi said.