A big difference which I found in my experience in the U.S. is attitudes of citizens toward the armed forces, which in Japan is the Self-Defense Forces.
Firstly, before my departure from Japan, when I issued my airline ticket in Narita airport, a printing machine had a choice for the persons concerned with the army forces. The persons can be granted some privilege by the United Airline. Moreover, in the college of William and Mary, a pair of shoes of an army’s and flowers are offered on a lane in order to be memorial armies who were sacrificed during the war. And I saw people who were likely armies had a breakfast and used the laundry at Woodlands Hotel.
As I have said, I strongly felt American people’s respects for American armies and victims to their duty.
On the other hand, how do Japanese people. Japan does not have named the armed forces, but has the Self-Defense Forces. The Self-Defense Forces mainly do disaster relief or are dispatched abroad. I think Japanese people’s attitudes to the Self-Defense Forces are the opposite of American people’s ones.
When the Self-Defense Forces do disaster relief, they distribute foods to disaster victims. I have heard that if they eat the same foods which are cooked by them, some citizens raise an objection that persons of the Self-Defense Forces should not eat hot foods. I can imagine the pain of the disaster, but I cannot agree the objection, so I do not know why they say that. Therefore, persons of the Self-Defense Forces do not eat hot meals which they cooked, but eat cold emergency foods in the background. They work in the harsh condition, but they are not let to get well-regulated beds and foods by Japanese citizens.
And memorials in Japan is also different from in the U.S. I think memorials are mostly in memorial park of some big fights, so memorials are rarely close to Japanese people. Moreover, these memorials are for Japanese citizens who are victims of the war, soldiers are secondary problem.
In my opinion, these differences, treatment for armed persons and the distance between forces and citizens, are made by the education which Japanese people have experienced. In Japan, after the World WarⅡ, thoroughgoing pacifism is spread. Japanese soldiers who caused the war are bad persons, so the armed forces are the bad existence. This thought was taught by GHQ firstly, and whole Japan next.
I do not think Japan should return to the prewar condition, but I think treatment and distance should change. These are made by a few of hater of the Self-Defense Forces and a lot of indifferent people.
As a Japanese person, from my view, the Self-Defense Forces have as much military strength as the armed forces of other country. People who detest the Self-Defense Forces are minor in Japan, but if they think the Self-Defense Forces is the armed forces, then the Self-Defense Forces are received their complaints. Moreover, citizens who do not hate and not like the Self-Defense Forces are mostly indifferent to them, so their treatment will not change.
In fact, I did not have any interest in the Self-Defense Forces before getting a lecture about Japanese politics in political science department. However, recently, the existence of war is not a fiction. American armed forces re in Japan, but will they be like now? How will go the relation between Japan and China or Korea? Japanese should not be indifferent. Whether will Japan fight by the Self-Defense Forces with other country, or terrorist? If Japan fight, do Japanese people have preparedness? If Japan do not fight, when Japanese citizens are caught in a terrorism in other country, can Japanese government only yield to terrorists? In the past, Japanese government paid money to terrorists, and then it got much criticism from other country. Probably, the U.S. government would not pay it and yield. Before we face such situation, Japanese should think about our future and the Self-Defense Forces.
Now, the situation which Japanese people need to consider the forces is coming. I saw the difference between Japan and the U.S., I recognize Japanese people should establish an independent policy.