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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 8, 2009 at 4:00 PM

North Korea’s missile launch

Japan should be allowed to defend itself

North Korea’s recent missile launch has been met with fierce criticism by the Japanese [“N. Korea launches rocker; U.N. council will meet,” News, April 5), who for 60 years have been allowed nothing more than an ill-equipped self-defense force. This outdated policy of demilitarization has gone on for far too long, and it is in everyone’s best interests to end it.

America and Japan are allies, through and through. Unlike the late 1940s, there is absolutely no threat of a second imperial Japan terrorizing East Asia.

In fact, the ailing American economy would benefit from a drawdown in military commitments to Japan. Moreover, by removing the last remnant of a humiliating military defeat, the common Japanese citizen’s perception of America would undoubtedly increase.

The fact of the matter is that America cannot adequately defend Japan in the event of a North-Korean missile strike or other provocation. America is stretched too thin, and it makes much more sense for the Japanese to defend Japan without any constraints on how many missile-defense systems or submarines they can buy.

America cannot afford to lose the support of Japan, its best friend in East Asia, over an outdated legal battle.

— George Hageman, Seattle

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