Pace: Protecting Freedom Abroad Protects Nations’ Own Freedoms
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
TOKYO, Aug. 18, 2007 When nations protect other countries’ freedoms, they also are strengthening their own, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here yesterday.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace spoke with Japanese defense reporters at the American embassy here. The general is in Japan meeting U.S. troops based in the country.
“I think that Japan, in helping to protect other people’s freedoms, is in fact helping to strengthen freedom at home in Japan,” Pace said.
Japan has helped within the limits of its constitution in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The Japanese Maritime Self-defense Force has sent Aegis-class ships to support operations in the Indian Ocean. Japan has also stationed a refueling vessel in the region.
In Iraq, the Japanese Ground Self-defense Force was based in southern Iraq, providing engineering support to coalition forces stationed there. The Japanese engineers also provided humanitarian relief and built construction projects for the Iraqi people.
The Air Self-defense Force has provided cargo aircraft to support efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Japanese participation in almost any overseas operation always is controversial domestically, due to Article 9 of the country’s constitution, which renounces war.