Internet backlash forces Japan to shelve plans to send relief planes to China
A frenzied cyberspace backlash on China’s notoriously active internet messageboards has forced Japan to abandon plans to send military aircraft to helpearthquake relief efforts in Sichuan.
The dispatch of transporter planes belonging to the Air Self Defence Force(ASDF) would have been heavy with symbolism, marking the first Japanesemilitary presence in China since the Second World War.
Following the abrupt U-turn, Japan will provide aid to the quake-hit region –much-needed tents and medical supplies - using only civilian aircraft.
“We considered the fact that opinions were emerging in China against thedispatch of SDF aircraft, and decided to shelve the plan after discussingthe matter with the Chinese side,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary NobutakaMachimura, who confirmed that Beijing had informally sounded Japan out onthe use of self defence force assistance to the quake.