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ISIS Raises Japan's Ire.

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This could be just more of the same, but it caught my attention a couple of days ago and I came back to it.


Departing From Japan’s Pacifism, Shinzo Abe Vows Revenge for Killings


Titles amuse me sometimes. They can make or break whether you want to check it out.


Pacifism, Revenge and Killings set my radar off on this one.

Pacifism, arguably. Revenge? I don't care for the term in this context. Killings. Call a spade a spade. Murder.


Such vows of retribution may be common in the West when leaders face extremist violence, but they have been unheard of in confrontation-averse Japan — until now. The prime minister’s call for revenge after the killings of the journalist, Kenji Goto, and another hostage, Haruna Yukawa, raised eyebrows even in the military establishment, adding to a growing awareness here that the crisis could be a watershed for this long pacifist country.


“Japan has not seen this Western-style expression in its diplomacy before,” Akihisa Nagashima, a former vice minister of defense, wrote on Twitter. “Does he intend to give Japan the capability to back up his words?”


I think a patient and polite Japan being characterized as pacifist does not fit the bill here.


Some described a level of shock not unlike that experienced by the Americans after the 2001 terrorist attacks, or the French after last month’s assault on the newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the murders in a kosher supermarket.


“This is 9/11 for Japan,” said Kunihiko Miyake, a former high-ranking Japanese diplomat who has advised Mr. Abe on foreign affairs. “It is time for Japan to stop daydreaming that its good will and noble intentions would be enough to shield it from the dangerous world out there. Americans have faced this harsh reality, the French have faced it, and now we are, too.”


Perhaps it's from studying older usages of Japanese language, The Sword and The Brush paints an picture of mastery of language akin to use of the sword.

Kunihiko Miyake's statement practically leaps off the page here.


“I feel a deep despair that I’ve never felt before and an unfocused anger,” Taku Nishimae, a filmmaker who began an online campaign to free Mr. Goto by holding up a placard saying “I am Kenji,” told Kyodo News.


For now at least, such anger appears to have given Japan the resolve to reject the Islamic State’s threats, and to support Mr. Abe’s efforts to raise Japan’s profile in the Middle East.


Unfocused anger. Does this sound like a pacifist trying to mince words? Or someone, in the face of an unfocused anger, to identify as best can, the what, of what that anger need be focused.


Hiroyuki Hamada, 61, an engineer who lives in a Tokyo suburb, said he was opposed to getting any more deeply involved in the United States-led effort against the Islamic State.


“I fear we will just fall into an unending cycle of violence begetting violence,” Mr. Hamada said.


Not without its pitfalls. it is appeasement that falls into the unending cycle of the threat of violence. followed by appeasement sending the message that threats of violence produce the desired results.


If you put a stop to the violence, how do you fall into an unending cycle? The key here is to clearly identify how, a question which comes up here often.


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This isn't Japan's 9/11. Most Japanese don't care about a couple of dogooders (actually, one dogooder and one crazy person) putting themselves in needles danger and getting killed.


Kenji Goto is being perceived as a good person who went out there to help children in need, but any anger his killing caused will dissipate, and Japan will stay the course they've been on: a cautios foreign policy focused on regional threats rather than anything going on thousands of miles away. Any peacekeeping actions or monetary commitments they've made outside their immediate neighborhood has had one and only one goal: to serve as a show of support for the US.


Japan will never do anything in the Middle East that the US didn't ask it to do. They simply don't care enough.

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