« オバマ大統領アフガン派兵増強? | トップページ | 東アジア共同体―自由貿易圏づくりが先だ »

2009年11月12日 (木)

日米漂流:オバマ大統領来日を前に/中 無視できぬ中国の存在

(Mainichi Japan) November 11, 2009
Japan, U.S. can no longer ignore the presence of China
日米漂流:オバマ大統領来日を前に/中 無視できぬ中国の存在

 ◇水面下で進んだG4 「鳩山論文」で亀裂、懸念
The plan to form a Group of Four (G4) between Japan, the United States, Europe and China has demonstrated that Beijing's growing presence and influence can no longer be ignored.
A European news organization's report that U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner would propose the formation of the G4 created a stir in the Group of Seven (G7) meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors held in Istanbul on Oct. 3.

Prior to the G7 meeting, the U.S. government had proposed behind the scenes that Japan, the United States, Europe and China should form the G4. The proposal was retracted in response to stiff opposition from European countries that feared the formation of the G4 would lead to a decline in their influence.
The confusion over the G4 plan has reminded global players of China's rising influence in the world.

At the same time, the surfacing of the issue has reinforced to Japan, which has previously taken advantage of its close relations with the United States to represent Asia in G7 meetings, that it will soon lose such a privilege.

It appears that the G4 plan abruptly came about, but it had been carefully prepared in advance. In early 2005, Japan, the United States and China began unofficial talks on currency policy, say international financial sources.

Their talks prior to the G7 meeting in that year led to the appreciation of the yuan in July 2005, according to a high-ranking official of the Japanese government.

They secretly began a G3 movement because they needed to clarify how Japan and China, which have huge amounts of U.S. government bonds, should support the dollar-led currency system.

"The U.S. economy couldn't survive unless Japan and China help make up for the huge U.S. budget deficit," says an official of a major U.S. brokerage.

Confidence in the U.S. economy and the dollar has sharply declined amid the global economic crisis triggered by the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, resulting in major changes in global economic relations.

China is enjoying high economic growth while Japan, the United States and Europe have fallen into negative growth.

In 2008, China surpassed Japan in terms of the amount of U.S. government bonds they possess, and China's gross domestic product is forecast to exceed that of Japan possibly this year. China's presence and influence is undeniable.

However, there are many problems in China, such as its closed market and differences between its political system and those of Western countries. Therefore, Japan is indispensable for the United States as well as for the G4 to restrain China, says a top official of an international organization.

Amid such a situation, an article -- which Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Yukio Hatoyama contributed to the online edition of The New York Times in late August before he took over the reins of government -- came as a shock to U.S. government officials. In his article, Hatoyama criticized market fundamentalism in the United States.

In response, the Wall Street Journal said there is no hope that Japan would achieve economic recovery if the DPJ takes over the reins of government, pointing out that Hatoyama did not sufficiently understand entrepreneurship.

Japan-U.S relations have been further strained since Hatoyama took office in mid-September over diplomatic and security issues, including the relocation of U.S. Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture.
Under the circumstances, U.S. officials have warned that the current disputes should not worsen bilateral economic ties.

The Obama administration consequently hastily dispatched Geithner to Japan one week before Obama is scheduled to visit Tokyo. "The move was aimed at maintaining normal economic relations with Japan by dispatching the pro-Japan secretary," a Japan-U.S. diplomatic source said.

In the upcoming summit with Obama, Hatoyama is expected to not only confirm that the two countries should strengthen their bilateral alliance but also consider how Japan can serve as a go-between between the United States and China. (By Nozomu Saito, Economic News Department, and Nobuhiro Saito, Washington Bureau)

(This is the fourth part of a five-part series on the Japan-U.S. alliance)

毎日新聞 2009年11月11日 東京朝刊


« オバマ大統領アフガン派兵増強? | トップページ | 東アジア共同体―自由貿易圏づくりが先だ »





« オバマ大統領アフガン派兵増強? | トップページ | 東アジア共同体―自由貿易圏づくりが先だ »