日米首脳会談 来年こそ同盟深化の成果を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 16, 2010)
2011 must be big year for Japan-U.S. alliance
日米首脳会談 来年こそ同盟深化の成果を(11月14日付・読売社説)

It is unfortunate that Japan and the United States missed a golden opportunity to issue a joint declaration on the bilateral alliance to mark this year's 50th anniversary of the signing of the revised Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and U.S. President Barack Obama held talks Saturday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Yokohama. They agreed to issue a joint declaration on the alliance next spring when Kan visits Washington.

Now that the statement has been postponed until next year, its content should be enhanced all the more.

When then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Obama agreed to deepen the alliance in November last year, it was assumed that a joint declaration would be issued while Obama was attending the APEC summit meeting in Yokohama.

But preparatory work on the document was held up due to the Japanese government's muddled handling of the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, which slowed the momentum for issuing such a document

The blame for this lies squarely with the immature and clumsy diplomacy of the Democratic Party of Japan-led government--in particular under the Hatoyama administration.


No progress on Futenma

The two countries eventually reached an agreement on the Futenma relocation issue in May, but there has been no progress since then because the Kan administration has not taken any effective measures.

The government must step up its efforts to win over the affected local governments and people in Okinawa Prefecture on the accord to move the Futenma base functions to the Henoko district of Nago. The government's line of action will be based on the result of the Nov. 28 Okinawa gubernatorial election.

During his talks with Obama, Kan explained the government is considering sending Self-Defense Forces medical officers to Afghanistan to train their counterparts in the Afghan government forces.

To bolster the Japan-U.S. alliance and enrich the content of the joint security declaration to be issued next year, we think Japan must not only resolve issues pending with Washington, but also play a wider international role in security matters.

When their conversation turned to China, Obama was quoted as saying that China needs to speak and act appropriately in accordance with international rules. Kan shared this view.

Kan thanked Obama for U.S. support of Japan's position on territorial issues with China and Russia. Tokyo's ties with Beijing have been strained by the collisions of a Chinese trawler with two Japan Coast Guard boats near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, and ties with Moscow chilled following Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recent visit to Kunashiri, one of the four northern islands off Hokkaido.


Multilateral approach

Dealing with these issues has exposed the fragile nature of the Kan administration's makeshift diplomacy. It is urgent to overhaul Japan's diplomacy--the cornerstone of which remains the Japan-U.S. alliance. However, this nation cannot simply continue to rely solely on the United States for its diplomacy.

China is a neighboring nation that has become a major power. Dealing with China will be a perpetual challenge for Japan's diplomacy.

How can China be effectively guided into complying with international rules in the political, economic and military fields so that it acts responsibly commensurate with its power over the medium-to-long term? We think it is essential that Japan hold repeated strategic dialogues with the United States on this matter.

Japan also must propose concrete measures to strengthen ties with nations other than the United States. Steadily and actively building these ties could lead to a reshaping of Japan's diplomacy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 14, 2010)
(2010年11月14日01時21分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2010-11-16 06:08 | 英字新聞

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