Afternoon, folks! I’ve been reading this recently developing issue in Japan. It seems that Japan’s new party in power, the New Democratic Party, is stepping back on campaign promises of distancing the Land of the Rising Sun from American policy, particularly in regard to American military bases in Okinawa.
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was in the act of renegotiating a removal of a Marine base in Okinawa, when the allegations spread of North Korea’s involvement in the sinking of the South Korean warship, and another upgrade of Chinese military presence in East Asia. He expressed concern over "political uncertainties remaining in East Asia," and the need for “U.S. military deterrence" to maintain stability. All of this has come to the detriment of Mr. Hatoyama, who’s approval ratings have sunk below 25%, with Japanese citizens astounded on this about-face, when promises were made to at least relocate the contentious military base in Okinawa to a more remote location.
I find this interesting that countries that are inconflict to America’s Asian interests have played into their hands with such maneuvers. It seems that likely that, had not North Korea possibly sunk this battleship, or had China not repositioned military forces, Hatoyama would have completed negotiations to reduce American military presence in Japan. (This would have been a changing of the “TREATY OF MUTUAL COOPERATION AND SECURITY BETWEEN JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” see http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/q&a/ref/1.html) These events have, at least, temporarily cemented American presence in East Asia, and given America more leverage maintaining economic interests in this sector.
Now, in this section, I’ll express some of my own thoughts.
America, for all the posturing for peace and security in the region, relies heavily on threats such as China and North Korea to maintain a foothold in East Asia. Had, at least, North Korea gone a more peaceful route, South Korea and Japan would have abandoned US military and economic presence in an effort to create a EU-style cooperative, focusing economic growth, not exploitation, in this quickly growing region.(see link) http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2008/07/03/taking-the-australia-japan-fta-negotiations-to-new-levels/
This possibility of a regional alliance between East Asian countries is considered a threat to European and American economies, as a growing Asian sector increases competition for resources, and creates a Asian market that does more than export cheaply manufactured product to developed countries. (see link) http://www.iss.europa.eu/uploads/media/analy163.pdf
In summary, hopefully the next few years will see a calming of the East Asian waters, and a freeing of these countries from communist threats and economic exploitation. We’ll watch and see.
Below are links from the Wall Street Journal regarding the recently developing Japanese issue. I hope you find this enlightening!