On April 30, the Asahi Shimbun reported on the results of a Cabinet Office survey of public opinion regarding the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). The telephone survey was conducted between Feb. 16 and 26, with 1,657 of the 3,000 people contacted replying. Overall, 84.9 percent of respondents indicated they had a "favorable impression" of the SDF. That was the most favorable response in the occasional survey's more than 35-year history. In 1972, only 58.9 percent of respondents were well disposed toward those who defend the homeland.

Implied in this result is an astounding reality: Japan's postwar allergy to matters smacking of militarism has been overcome. In this respect, Japan has finally become a "normal' country, able to pose and threaten with the best of them.

How did this change come about; and why shouldn't Japan have an army like other countries, particularly some in the region that are not averse to striking the odd threatening pose toward Japan?