Why is participation in UN peace-keeping and humanitarian operations such a sensitive issue for Japanese policymakers? Although Japan is among the United Nations' most enthusiastic supporters, it has only recently begun to send its Self-Defense Forces to assist UN peace operations. In this book, three experts unravel the political and legal complexities that bedevil Japanese officials in their attempts to cooperate with these missions. A comprehensive historical overview of Japan's peace-keeping policy provides readers with the background to understand this contentious issue. Two sections offer a detailed look at Japanese participation in recent UN peace operations and at the complex decisionmaking process that preceded this. The longest section is devoted to in-depth analysis of the legal aspects of Japan's peace-keeping policy, particularly the constraints under which policymakers operate. The final section details Japanese and civilian participation in UN peace operations. L. William Heinrich Jr. is a research associate with the Export-Import Bank of Japan in New York City. Akiho Shibata is associate professor of international law at Okayama University Faculty of Law. Yoshihide Soeya is professor of political science in the Faculty of Law, Keio University.