« ジュラシック・パーク | トップページ | 米国発ビーグレン化粧品 »

2008年11月 8日 (土)


2008/11/8--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 7(IHT/Asahi: November 8,2008)

EDITORIAL: Japan in the Obama era


Referring to Barack Obama's victory in the U.S. presidential election, Prime Minister Taro Aso said, "No matter who becomes U.S. president, I wish to maintain relations that we have cultivated for more than 50 years."


But isn't Aso's comment too happy-go-lucky? It is true that since the time his grandfather, Shigeru Yoshida, was prime minister, Japan-U.S. relations have been the central pillar of Japan's foreign policy, so it is natural for Aso to want to maintain good relations.

Still, his comment seems to lack the recognition that the "post-Bush" United States and the world are about to undergo drastic changes.


Let us remember the messages that Obama delivered during his election campaign.


He said it was wrong for the United States to pursue unilateralism backed by its superior military strength and pointed out the shallowness of dualistic diplomacy that distinguishes other countries as either friend or foe.


At the same time, Obama stressed the importance of dialogue, international cooperation and multilateral diplomacy.


Furthermore, Obama has opposed the Iraq war, which the successive Japanese administrations of Junichiro Koizumi, Shinzo Abe, Yasuo Fukuda and Aso have supported.


It is true that the post-Cold War world, which saw the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against U.S. targets, has been under the unipolar domination of the United States. Amid such circumstances, successive Japanese administrations have stressed the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance and maintained that staying close to the United States serves Japan's national interests.


Koizumi once commented that "the better Japan-U.S. relations are, the better Japan's relations with Asian countries will be." The remark is symbolic of the nation's U.S.-centered diplomacy.


But the next U.S. president said the United States would break away from unilateral diplomacy. When the Iraq war, the war on terror and the surging economic crisis are taken into account, reality dictates that there is no other choice.


The Japanese government must feel as though it was left in the lurch by someone on whom it has depended.


Despite the fact that it went out of its way to send the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, Japan will be told by the next U.S. leader that he was against the war.


The damage might not have been so serious if Japan had recognized that it was wrong to support the war when it became clear the war lacked a cause or was based on poor judgment. Instead, Japan continued to support the war and now must pay for it.


Japan-U.S. relations will continue to be the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy. However, the times when Japanese leaders could say emphatically that following U.S. strategy automatically meets Japanese national interests are about to end.


Rather, we are entering an age in which the United States itself needs the power of its allies and friends for its own regeneration and reconstruction of the world. Countries need to join hands and do what they can to deal with various problems, such as the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq, checking the proliferation of nuclear weapons and fighting global warming.


While cooperating with the United States, Japan cannot maintain its clout in the international community unless it also presents its own ideas and act on them. In that sense, we should recognize that the Obama-era world is offering Japan an ideal opportunity to display its diplomatic power.


We want Japanese politics to build a new Japan-U.S. cooperation instead of sticking to the same bilateral relationship it has maintained over the last 50 years.



« ジュラシック・パーク | トップページ | 米国発ビーグレン化粧品 »





« ジュラシック・パーク | トップページ | 米国発ビーグレン化粧品 »