Heisei in Perspective: Japan's SDF Dispatched Overseas, Expands Role
Tokyo, April 28 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Self-Defense Forces expanded the scope of their activities significantly during the Heisei era, which started in January 1989 and is set to close on Tuesday with the abdication of Emperor Akihito.
Since the first dispatch abroad 28 years ago, the SDF's overseas missions centering on U.N. peacekeeping operations have become increasingly familiar for many Japanese.
But there remain strong concerns in the country over the SDF's expanded role, with many questioning whether it is in line with the pacifist constitution and opposing the SDF's dispatch overseas due to the risks and the lack of transparency on their operations.
During the Gulf War in 1991, the third year of Heisei, Japan was criticized by the international community for its decision not to send SDF troops, due to constitutional constraints, despite providing financial assistance totaling as much as 13 billion dollars.
Later in the same year, after the war ended, Japan dispatched the SDF on a minesweeping mission in the Persian Gulf, which marked the SDF's first overseas operations.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]