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Japanese press divided over use of force against Syria

  • April 15, 2018
  • , All national papers
  • JMH Summary

Asahi, Mainichi, Nikkei, and Tokyo Shimbun ran opinion pieces critical of the military action against Syria by the United States and its two European partners. Asahi claimed it will further prolong and compound the civil war and turmoil in Syria. Kanto-based Tokyo Shimbun said the strikes lacked legitimacy given that the U.S. has failed to provide clear evidence proving the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons and that the UN Security Council did not adopt a resolution authorizing the use of force. Mainichi said President Trump apparently chose to carry out the strikes in a limited manner to avoid a full-scale confrontation with Russia. The daily added that North Korea may be tempted to maintain its nuclear and missile programs following the U.S. military strikes against Syria based on the view that a strong military armed with nuclear weapons will be imperative to head off similar attacks by the Trump administration. Nikkei opined that the Trump administration has yet to present a clear roadmap for peace in Syria.


National Sankei ran an editorial endorsing the U.S. attack since the Syrian people have been repeatedly subjected to chemical weapons attacks and that finding a diplomatic solution has apparently become very difficult. Yomiuri, the largest newspaper in the world, editorialized that the international community must not sit idly by as Syria continues to carry out “reckless acts” that violate international norms. The paper urged President Trump not to  disengage from the Middle East, insisting that Russia and Iran would step in to fill the power vacuum created by the U.S.’s disengagement and that such a scenario would embolden the Assad regime to continue conducting inhumane acts.    

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