This paper asks why it was much easier for Japan to dispatch its military overseas after 9-11 than it had been during the 1990 Gulf crisis, when similar plans failed due to overwhelming opposition. While several factors in Japanese domestic politics, including the astronomical popularity and hawkishness of Prime Minister Koizumi, played an important role, a significant reduction in Asian gaiatsu on Japan to not send its military overseas played a bigger role. This reduction in Asian gaiatsu resulted from Japan's decade-long effort to build up a reassuring track record of benign overseas deployments for non-combat missions. While Japan must continue to pursue historical reassurance regarding its Pacific War role, the demonstration effect of continued benign overseas deployments is likely to be of greater importance for encouraging Asian acceptance of a larger Japanese military role.

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