JAPAN’S Self-Defence Forces (SDF) have long lived a cloistered life. The country that in 1945 developed an allergy to warfare ties itself in knots trying to reassure everybody that the SDF is not a military force, and that its soldiers are actually “special public servants”. So a recent music video showing a khaki-clad AKB48, Japan’s doe-eyed pop sensation, clambering in and out of troop carriers, singing things like “Show us your guts”, must have seemed a recruiting sergeant’s dream. Yoshihiko Noda, the prime minister (and son of an SDF man), lacks the girls’ sex appeal. But he is trying to make the country’s national-security strategy a bit more rugged too.
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