US President George HW Bush asked Japan to provide logistical support to the US military through its Self-Defense Forces during the Gulf Crisis of August 1990, according to declassified diplomatic records Wednesday and testimony from former veterans. government officials.
The request was made to Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu. But Japan has not responded to Bush’s request to send the SDF to the Gulf War effort – despite deploying minesweepers to the Persian Gulf as a post-war contribution, reflecting the strong influence of the United States on Tokyo security policy.
A top-secret diplomatic cable that recorded a meeting between Kaifu and Bush on September 29, 1990, revealed that the former president told Kaifu he knew Japan was looking for ways to involve its forces, and that a such a decision would be appreciated by the world.
Koichiro Matsuura, a former Japanese ambassador to France who served as head of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ North American affairs office, said Bush earlier requested, in a phone call on August 14, that the SDF de-mine and carry weapons.
In a series of interviews, Kaifu responded by expressing the need to protect the war-renouncing Article 9 of the post-war Constitution, while stressing his desire to cooperate.
He sought a compromise by creating a non-military UN peacekeeping operations team and having SDF personnel as part of it. But the plan ran into trouble after a bill to allow Japan to cooperate in UN peacekeeping operations was scrapped in November of the same year due to public opposition.
According to diplomatic cables and former government officials, the United States did notify Japan of its intention to use force on January 14, 1991, three days before the start of the Gulf War.
Then, US Secretary of State James Baker secretly told his Japanese counterpart Taro Nakayama during his visit to the United States that American blood would be shed.
Records and testimony also revealed that of Japan’s $ 13 billion in aid to the multinational coalition, $ 9 billion was added in response to a request from then-US Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady. , during a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Ryutaro Hashimoto in New York.
Many former Japanese government officials said that while there was no basis for the full amount requested by the United States, there was “no choice” but to meet the demand.
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