East Asia: Blame Enough to Go Around
Brad Glosserman (Director of Research at Pacific Forum CSIS) and Scott Snyder (Senior Associate, Pacific Forum CSIS)
Japan has apologized for the past - by one count 17 times - but each statement has been qualified or subsequently undermined by comments or actions of other officials. Tokyo persists in creating artificial distinctions among issues, arguing most recently that the decision to proceed with drilling in the East China Sea is somehow distinct from its problems with China. The current leadership pleads powerlessness when challenged by foreign critics: the textbook issue is really a domestic issue related to freedom of speech, the territorial claim is merely a prefectural government act, visits to Yasukuni are domestic politics. All are true, but it is disingenuous to ignore the larger context.
In Beijing, the government continues to demand Japanese concessions without providing any of its own. It has been quick to point out Japanese misbehavior, although similar problems exist at home: its textbooks have also been sanitized, it "whitewashes" history, and it has taken unilateral and provocative actions, too: natural resource exploration in the East China Sea, surveying the sea bed, sending research vessels and submarines into disputed waters; it has facilitated demonstrations within China and failed to stop them when they become violent. Chinese counter that the protests are spontaneous, but they come from deep-rooted emotions that have been nurtured by patriotic education and ignorance about Japanese behavior over the last 60 years.
1UNDERSTANDING JAPAN’S RELATIONS IN NORTHEAST ASIA
Michael J. Green, PhD Associate Professor of International RelationsGeorgetown University Senior Advisor and Japan Chair Center for Strategic and International Studies
September 14, 2006
Testimony for the Hearing on “Japan’s Tense Relations with Her Neighbors: Back to the Future” House Committee on International Relations Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the Committee for inviting me to testify on this important subject and to take this opportunity to thank you for your many years of distinguished service to our country. The Committee has asked me to address the tensions between Japan and China and Japan and the Republic of Korea and to assess whether these tensions cast doubt on Japan’s reliability as an ally or our own ability to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan as a Reliable Ally and Stakeholder Let me first address the question of Japan’s international role, because I think it is important to note at the outset that the United States and the world are increasingly coming to rely on an active Japanese role in the maintenance of international peace, stability and development. After the United States, Japan is the second largest provider of funds to the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and official overseas development assistance. Japan is a crucial partner in the war on terror, having provided steady naval support and reconstruction funding for operations in Afghanistan. Japan’s Self Defense Forces have been on the ground in Iraq doing reconstruction work and the Japanese government was one of the first to pledge significant financial support to Iraq; a pledge of $500 billion that prompted other governments in the Gulf to follow suit. Japan has lost a senior and distinguished diplomat in Iraq, but has remained steadfast in helping the new Iraqi government get on its feet. In Asia Japan is the leading provider of development assistance, both grants and loans, and Japan spends almost $5 billion per year to host U.S. forces that provide stability to the region and an indispensable strategic asset to protect U.S. interests. As the region explores some form of integration or “East Asian Community,” Japan has emerged as the main champion of a new regional order based on inclusion of the United States and promotion of democracy and the rule of law. This has brought Japan into competition with China and other nations that prefer an Asian order that limits the influence of the United States and protects member states frominterference in their “internal affairs” on issues such as human rights or protection of intellectual property. As this debate has grown, Japan has found common cause with other democracies in
2the region and has significantly expanded strategic dialogue and cooperation with India and Australia, in particular. Indeed, the Australian government is reportedly exploring a formal security pact with Japan and a series of new regional initiatives are expected when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Tokyo at the end of this year. In travels throughout Europe and South Asia I have seen first hand the benefit of an active Japanese international role. In Kuwait in 2004 I chanced to meet a platoon of Ground Self Defense Forces just back from a deployment in Samwah, Iraq. They were tired, dirty and covered with desert dust – but they were clearly proud of their mission to help develop water purification plants for local Iraqis. In a remote part of the Pakistan near the Kyhber pass in September last year I visited the first and only modern school building established as an alternative to the dozens of Madrassas that often radicalize young Pakistani men. Hanging above this new school building was a crudely drawn but large Japanese flag with the words “Thank you Japan.” It turns out that the school was built by a joint USAID-Japanese initiative under the U.S.-Japan Strategic Development Initiative. I learned from our USAID director that Japan has committed to help build many more such schools along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. It is because of this record of contribution to international peace and stability that in polls today 91% of American “opinion leaders” and 69% of the general public consider Japan to be a reliable ally (in the same Foreign Ministry poll 96% of opinion leaders and 78% of the general public in the United States said that Japan shares our common values – a higher number than Great Britain received). Japan’s image is also positive on the international level. The BBC released a poll in March of this year in which majorities in 31 of 33 countries around the world credited Japan with contributing positively to the international community. That was more recognition than any other country in the world received, including the United States, Great Britain, China and the Nordic countries. Only two countries had majorities that responded negatively about Japan’s role in the world. Not surprisingly, those were China (71% negative view) and the Republic of Korea (54% negative view). The BBC poll did not cover Southeast Asia extensively, but a Gallup/Yomiuri/Hankook Ilbo poll released on September 4 demonstrated that more than 90% of people in Southeast Asian nations felt that their countries had a good relationship with Japan and between 70 and 90% said that Japan is a trustworthy nation. Far from being isolated, Japan probably has broad respect and support in the world today than at any point in its history. Nevertheless, there is a clear problem between Japan and China and Japan and Korea and that is the crux of the Committee’s concern today. I think the two bilateral relationships are different in character and I would like to examine them each in turn and then return to the question of what role the United States might play to enhance stability among the major states of Northeast Asia. Japan’s Relations with China As the BBC poll suggests, tensions between Japan and China are deeper and likely to be more enduring than those between Japan and Korea. The focus of the U.S. media has been on the controversial visits of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasukuni Shrine memorializing Japan’s war dead, but that is as much symptom as cause. To understand the real source of tensions between Japan and China, it is necessary to look first at the structural factors. Simply
3put, Japan and China are being forced to adjust to comparable levels of national power for the first time since China was defeated by a rising Japan in 1895. Neither Tokyo nor Beijing anticipated such a situation. Throughout the post-war period, Japanese leaders assumed that engagement with the Peoples Republic of China would lead to economic convergence between the two nations with Japan as the “head flying geese” because of its more advanced economy. Chinese leaders, in contrast, assumed that Japan would remain focused on economic activities and not become a rival for strategic influence. Over the past decade, each nation has come to realize that their expectations of the other were wrong and that the levers they had hoped would allow them to shape the others’ behavior (economic aid for Japan and the history card for China) no longer suffice. The resulting rivalry has been manifest in a number of areas. Last year China actively worked to organize opposition to Japan’s bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat. China has opposed Japanese participation in U.S.-led multilateral discussions on Iran and has tried to marginalize Japan’s influence in the Six Party Talks on North Korea. Chinese surface combatants and submarines have expanded their operations in waters claimed by Japan. In response, Japan’s Defense Agency has begun shifting its air and naval forces to the southern islands near Taiwan and the Japan Defense Agency has begun highlighting the uncertainties caused by China’s non-transparent defense build-up. It is in the context of this shifting strategic game that the tensions over history must be understood. Koizumi is not the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit Yasukuni; indeed, most post-war Prime Ministers went before him. And far from promoting an anti-China foreign policy, Koizumi has expressed an almost sunny optimism about the long-term future of the Japan-China relationship, disagreeing with those who would portray China’s rise as a threat to Japan. He has also conveyed deep remorse and apology for Japan’s historical transgressions on a number of occasions, including a 2001 statement at the Marco Polo bridge in China where the Sino-Japanese war began in 1937. I believe Prime Minister Koizumi’s insistence on worshiping at Yasukuni is based on his personal conviction that the relatives of millions of Japanese war dead deserve to have the Prime Minister honor their loss. But perhaps more important to Koizumi is his determination not to let China dictate the terms of how Japan recognizes its past. There is no question that Japan pays a diplomatic price for these shrine visits and public opinion in Japan is divided on whether the visits are worth that price or are even appropriate in the first place, but the issue cannot be explained with simplistic assertions that Koizumi is playing a nationalist card to gain popularity. Similarly, arguments that Japan is forgetting its own history and somehow returning to prewar patterns of belligerence are also far off the mark. The Japanese live in a very dangerous neighborhood. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons and is expanding its arsenal of both bombs and missiles and China’s military is operating ever closer to Japanese territory. Japan’s main response has been to strengthen alliance ties with the United States, expand missile defense cooperation and urge the UN Security Council to put pressure on North Korea. Japan has not increased defense spending above 1% of GDP (and is unlikely to do so because of budget pressures) or begun work on new offensive weapons systems. Even proposals for Constitutional revision within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party retain the first clause of Article Nine
4renouncing war. Japan is certainly more nationalistic than in the past, but what is most striking about Japan’s new “realism” is how reluctant and restrained it has been. One need only ask how the American public would have reacted to Canada developing nuclear weapons and kidnapping U.S. citizens, while Mexico increased its military budget at close to 15% a year to realize that there is still a strong undertow of pacifism in Japan. It is also important to remember that Japan and China have never had greater economic interdependence than they do today. For the last two years Japan has traded more with China than with the United States and there is no sign that Japanese companies intend to pull back frominvesting in China (though they are diversifying somewhat to India and Southeast Asia). There is evidence that Chinese leaders recognize this economic interdependence and the risk to their own position of letting tensions with Japan over history go much further. Previous anti-Japanese student demonstrations in the 1980s quickly turned into anti-government demonstrations and while the Chinese leadership sees advantage in anti-Japanese patriotism, they also know the risks. Unlike his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, Chinese President Hu Jintao does not have a personal animosity towards the Japanese. Hu tried to find a way out of the impasse over history last year by declaring a readiness to meet with Koizumi if he would promise not to go back to Yasukuni. That failed, of course, because it looked like precisely the kind of dictation from Beijing on history that Koizumi and his government are determined to put in the past. I have found over the past six months that counterparts in both China and Japan have essentially acknowledged their governments’ tactical mishandling of the history issues without coming out and saying so explicitly. For example, Beijing has criticized Koizumi’s most recent August visit to the shrine, but not tried to box in his expected successor, Shinzo Abe, with specific demands or conditions for summits. For his part, Abe has expressed a readiness to stabilize ties with China and Korea and the betting in Tokyo is that his first foreign visits will be to those countries, if he wins election as expected next week. The underlying strategic factors that are driving Sino-Japanese rivalry are unlikely to disappear. A clean Franco-German style resolution of the history issue in the near-term is unlikely. Japan is not German and China is not France – a democracy integrated into a Europe whole and free. Chinese Premiere Zhou Enlai said in the 1970s that Sino-Japanese relations would not move beyond the damaging memories of the war for at least three generations, which still sounds about right. However, there is reason to expect that both Tokyo and Beijing will add more nuance and caution to their treatment of controversial historical and territorial issues over the coming months and that will contribute to a more stable equilibrium in their bilateral relationship.Japan’s Relations with the Republic of Korea In contrast to Japan-China relations, the problems in Japan-Korea relations are more recent and not the result of a steady and predictable shift towards strategic rivalry over the past decade. Until recently, relations were on a positive track. In October 1998 former ROK President KimDae Jung and former Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi issued a joint statement in Tokyo in which Obuchi expressed deep remorse and apology for Japan’s treatment of Korea and Kimwelcomed Japan playing a larger role in Asian and international affairs. The Korean side ended
5a ban on Japanese cultural products and negotiations began on a bilateral free trade agreement. Korean culture, and especially Korean daytime TV dramas, became hugely popular in Japan. The United States, Japan and the ROK also instituted regular trilateral defense meetings and the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) on North Korea. These trends continued into the Koizumi-Roh Moo Hyun era without interruption, even after Koizumi began his annual trips to Yasukuni in 2001. However, the political relationship between Japan and Korea quickly deteriorated in March 2004 when Japan’s Shimane Prefecture passed a local bill claiming the Liancourt Islands (Tokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese) as Japanese territory. While few Japanese outside of Takeshima or the Foreign Ministry knew much about these islands, the challenge to Korean sovereignty conjured up memories of past Japanese transgressions and ignited public opinion in Korea. As the conservative Grand National Party pursued impeachment hearings against President Roh and the progressive camp counterattacked with National Assembly investigations of the conservatives’ wartime collaboration with the Japanese, the history issue became even more volatile. The increasing divergence between Tokyo’s hard line on the North Korean nuclear program and Seoul’s efforts at expanded engagement with Pyongyang has also added to the negative dynamic. As a result, Japan-Korea summits have been chilly or non-existent, the TCOG and U.S.-Japan-ROK defense trilaterals have stalled, the Japan-Korea FTA negotiations are at an impasse, and well-meaning officials in both Japan and the Republic of Korea appear uncertain regarding how they can put their bilateral relationship back on the positive track that lasted from 1998 until 2004. There is no structural or geostrategic reason why Japan-Korea relations should continue to deteriorate. Both nations share common values as democracies and common interests in a strong U.S. presence in Asia and a denuclearized peninsula. Opinion polls published by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in March of this year indicate that many more Koreans view China as their long-term security challenge rather than Japan (38% said China versus 28% pointing to Japan). Despite the stalled negotiations on an FTA, Japanese and Korean steel companies are forming unprecedented alliances to deal with competition from China and the majority of business leaders in Seoul and Tokyo want and expect the negotiations to reopen at some point. Nevertheless, the near-term effect of a breakdown in Japan-Korea strategic cooperation is worrisome because of the comfort it gives North Korea as Pyongyang works its way up the nuclear escalation ladder towards a possible nuclear test. Since the initiation of the TCOG in 1998, the evidence is strong that close U.S.-Japan-ROK coordination on North Korea spurs China to use its influence on Pyongyang and checks North Korean efforts to divide its neighbors. Moreover, in contrast to Tokyo and Beijing’s carefully choreographed efforts to re-stabilize relations, there is no evidence that senior Japanese or Korean political leaders are trying to do the same for their bilateral ties. For these reasons, there is a greater urgency in the Japan-Korea case than with Japan-China relations, but also greater room for the United States to play a positive role.
6THE UNITED STATES ROLE What should the United States do? In the case of Japan-China relations I believe it would be tremendously counterproductive to attempt any official brokering between the two nations on sensitive history issues. Zhou Enlai was right to point out the futility of trying to force a conclusion to the historical animosity between Japan and China. The Chinese inability to cometo terms with its own historical record under the Communist Party means that Beijing has little room to seek an enduring solution with Tokyo on the past. Given the Japanese peoples’ resentment of other governments’ telling them how to address the past, U.S. pressure would simply invite a backlash and make it harder for the Japanese to find a way to honor their war dead without damaging relations with neighbors. In fact, there is a healthy discussion now underway in Japan, including detailed exposes in the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun describing how Japan entered into the war with China. Had the United States tried intervening on this issue, we would have been the lead story and become an obstacle to serious a discussion within Japan. Efforts in the U.S. courts and the Congress to force Japan to pay compensation for acts during the war have also been counterproductive. The unequivocal position of the administration and the courts that the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty settled all claims from the war is simply not going to change. Meanwhile, the threat of litigation stymies efforts by those in Japan at the high levels who do want to take more proactive measures to address continuing legacies of Japan’s wartime record without putting themselves at risk of endless litigation. Moreover, it would be a mistake for the United States to try to strike a balance between Japan and China. Many of the issues that are driving Sino-Japanese tensions are issues where we have a common stake with Japan, whether it is the PLA military build-up, the nature of Asia’s future institutional architecture, or the North Korean nuclear problem. Not only can the United States pursue a strong alliance with Japan and good relations with China at the same time, the United States needs a strong alliance with Japan as the backdrop for building a more stable strategy of engagement with China. What can be done? First, it is important for the United States to be clear with both Tokyo and Beijing that our interests are not served by tension between Japan and China. Second, the United States as a friend and ally can and should challenge the Japanese government to explain its strategy for improving relations with China without attempting to micromanage that relationship from Washington. Third, the United States can set the stage for cooperation between Japan and China on issues ranging from energy to the Six Party Talks. One good example is the newly inaugurated Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate that has brought together cabinet-level representatives from the United States, Japan, China, Australia, Korea and India to cooperate on development of clean, sustainable energy resources. Finally, scholars and legislatures can contribute to Chinese and Japanese dialogue on the range of issues that vex their relationship – speaking not for the U.S. government but as part of an open-ended discussion that is sometimes much more difficult for Chinese and Japanese scholars to manage on their own. Kurt Campbell and I have both participated in a number of such trilateral exercises outside ofgovernment and I think we both find them productive.
7In terms of Japan-Korea relations, the United States can probably afford to be more proactive because both nations are allies that share our values and because the underlying strategic sources of tension are not as deep or enduring as they are between Japan and China. To begin with, the administration could do more to reinvigorate the TCOG process, which serves all three parties bybringing our North Korea strategies and tactics into closer alignment. The Department of Defense should parallel that effort by seeking Tokyo and Seoul’s consent to return to regular defense trilateral meetings (this would also be a helpful deterrent signal to North Korea at a critical juncture). At all levels the administration should be encouraging Japanese and Korean counterparts to be more proactive in seeking win-win solutions to the territorial and other bilateral issues that challenge them, but without trying in any way to broker a solution to the territorial problems (the United States has wisely avoided that role around the world for years). Finally, think tanks and universities are far more invested in U.S.-Japan-China dialogue than U.S.-Japan-ROK projects and that should change. I would note that there is an ongoing trilateral legislative exchange that puts the U.S. Congress ahead of the academic community in fostering stronger ties between Japan and Korea. The bottom line is that the United States should not panic about the political tensions among the major powers in Northeast Asia, just as we should not panic about discussions of an East Asia Community that would somehow brings them all together and exclude us. Asia today is a complicated mix of nationalism, pan-Asianism, economic interdependence and rivalry. But each decade more Asian powers are choosing the path of democracy, good governance and a commitment to improving all their peoples’ welfare. With the exceptions of Burma and North Korea, the entire region continues to look to the United States to sustain these positive trends. This is precisely the time to stand strongly with allies like Japan that share our values and interests.
Failed States Index
3 Cote d'Ivoire
13 Central African Republic 9
14 North Korea
123 South Korea
141 New Zealand
North East Asia's Undercurrents of Conflict
Asia Report N°108
15 December 2005
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Shifting power relations in North East Asia are spurring rising nationalism in China, Japan and South Korea, aggravating long-standing disputes over territorial claims and differing interpretations of history. Failure to bridge these differences could raise tensions and impede efforts to tackle the security and economic challenges confronting the region. While finding lasting solutions will be difficult, a series of practical confidence and institution-building steps should be taken immediately by the three states to keep the simmering disputes from boiling over.
The economic rise of China, generational shifts in South Korea, and the waning of Japan’s economic dominance have spurred xenophobia that occasionally spills over into violence. All three need to work together to address their major challenges in security, non-proliferation, energy procurement and environmental protection, but North East Asia remains one of the least integrated regions, with no effective institutions to address its common political and security problems.
A number of events in 2005 illustrate the simmering tensions. In March, South Korean demonstrators cut off their fingers in protest over Japanese claims to a pair of small islets. The next month, Chinese demonstrators attacked Japanese businesses and diplomatic missions over a Japanese history textbook, while in June, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun spent most of a two-hour meeting discussing history, rather than current issues. China began drilling for oil in September in a disputed area of the East China Sea, over Japanese protests, and in November, as a result of the visit Koizumi paid to the Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese war criminals are among the millions of honoured dead, President Hu Jintao refused to have a one-on-one meeting with Koizumi on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
Most territorial disputes in the region are over uninhabited islands and partially submerged rocks, whose status remains ambiguous under international law, including Tokdo/Takeshima, jointly claimed by South Korea and Japan; Senkaku/Diaoyu, jointly claimed by China, Taiwan, and Japan; and the Kuril/Northern Territories, jointly claimed by Russia and Japan. The importance of most of these lies not so much in their intrinsic value, but in the surrounding economic zones. The best way to address the problems, therefore, would be to leave aside territorial issues and focus on joint exploitation and, as appropriate, conservation of the natural resources. A lesser, but longer-term, dispute involves the area in North East China (Kando in Korean, Jiangdao in Chinese) populated by ethnic Koreans and to which some groups in South Korea have begun to advance a historical claim that they hope to make good when Korea is reunified. In reality, however, ethnic Koreans in China have little interest in joining a unified Korea, and Seoul will likely need to renounce any such interests if it wants to gain Chinese support for any eventual unification of the peninsula.
Prime Minister Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine and attempts by right-wing groups to produce revisionist history textbooks have prompted alarm in both China and South Korea and added to the emotion with which they accuse Japan of failing to show contrition for its World War II crimes. While Tokyo has offered numerous official apologies and provided billions of dollars of aid to help spur the development of South Korea and China, it has failed to offer direct compensation to individual victims, and, unlike Germany, has shown little interest in continued, critical examination of its history.
Combined with Japan’s moves to become a more “normal” nation in terms of defence capabilities, these battles over history increase regional fears of reviving Japanese militarism. Japan has passed legislation to allow it to play a stronger role within the U.S. military alliance and in international peacekeeping operations, and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is backing a constitutional amendment that would remove most of the restrictions imposed on the country’s military after 1945. Hostile reactions to these moves by China and South Korea have created a backlash in Japan that goes beyond the extreme right.
History is an equally troubling subject, though in different ways, in South Korea, which is in the midst of leadership change and a re-examination of its relationship with the U.S. at the same time as it re-examines the national myths surrounding politically sensitive collaboration with and resistance to imperial Japan. And in China, history, not least the memory of the military struggle against that imperial Japan, is used to provide the legitimacy for its political order that communist ideology no longer can.
Attempts to address these emotion-laden and intertwined problems have led to some encouraging instances of inter-regional cooperation among scholars and civil society groups that suggest North East Asia’s problems can be managed. Promising proactive measures include codes of conducts – one has already been effective in reducing tensions over the Spratly Islands; agreements on joint management of off-shore resources; regional institutions to address energy and historical issues; increased military-to-military exchanges; and historical memorials that focus on the universal suffering of war victims, rather than on national glory or shame.
Definitively resolving territorial and historical disputes that have been building for decades will not be easy or quick but failure at least to ameliorate them risks undermining the peace and prosperity of the region.
To the Governments of Japan, China, South Korea and the United States:
1. De-link history issues from diplomacy by continuing contact among officials at all levels regardless of the fluctuating state of public opinion.
2. Refrain from unilateral military exercises in disputed areas.
3. Increase military-to-military exchanges, training and confidence-building measures.
4. Establish a regional institution for energy security and cooperation that would explore such issues as establishing a depository for spent nuclear fuel.
5. Set up regional cooperative mechanisms for disaster relief and environmental protection.
6. Start an East Asia Peace Institute for sustained Track Two dialogue, joint inquiries, scholarship and conferences.
7. Convene a committee of museum curators and scholars to develop agreed standards for historical exhibitions, with the goal of focusing displays on universal human suffering and accomplishment, rather than nationalism.
8. Increase support for NGO activity that promotes regional dialogue.
To the Government of Japan:
9. Set up a fund that uses public money to assist remaining individual victims of Japanese war crimes, in particular “comfort women”, forced labourers, and subjects of biological warfare experiments.
10. Release into the public domain any remaining documents on World War II and colonial activities.
11. Build a new memorial to Japanese war dead to provide an alternative to official visits to Yasukuni Shrine.
12. Have cabinet members refrain from making public statements which praise or downplay Japan’s colonial exploits.
To the Government of South Korea:
13. Conclude an agreement on allowable catches by South Korean and Japanese fishing boats in the median fishing zone around Tokdo/Takeshima.
14. Clearly state that the South accepts existing border treaties and will pursue peaceful reunification on this basis.
15. Establish a public fund to provide compensation for the victims of Japanese colonialism who were under-compensated or not compensated by the 1965 Normalisation Treaty.
16. Publicly acknowledge and thank Japan for the economic aid provided under the Normalisation Treaty.
To the Government of the People’s Republic of China:
17. Allow Chinese internet users greater access to Japanese and Western media to provide alternative views.
18. Accept in principle Japanese offers on joint development of oil and gas deposits in the East China Sea.
19. Develop a Code of Conduct with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute, using the China-ASEAN Code of Conduct on the Spratlys as a model.
20. Publicly acknowledge Japan’s role in China’s economic development.
To the Government of the United States:
21. Strengthen trilateral policy planning coordination with Japan and South Korea to develop more direct discussion on security issues between Seoul and Tokyo.
22. Release to bona fide researchers documents related to Japanese war crimes seized at the end of World War II and which until now have been withheld.
Ending the Commission on Human Rights
The U.N. Commission on Human Rights is rightly regarded as epitomizing
the ﾒdictatorsﾕ debating clubﾓ esthetic that some ascribe to the whole
organization. Recent members of the Commission include Libya, Sudan,
Zimbabwe, China, and Cubaﾑall of which are known for their deplorable
records on human rights. Like clockwork, the Commission issues regular
resolutions condemning Israel while overlooking real offendersﾑsuch as
many of its members.
In addition, anxieties about China’s rapidly expanding economic, military, and political power and its aggressive incursions into Japan’s territory increased Japan’s sense of urgency in re-evaluating
its defense strategy and addressing these new security realities.
The NDPG clearly signals that Japan is ready to move away from a purely self-defense security strategy, but regional concerns pose challenges to achieving a smooth transformation. Both China and North Korea have rejected
being characterized as security concerns, despite pursuing aggressive and threatening actions.
Yet it would be wrong to portray Japan’s new stance as confrontational or as a return to the country’s militaristic past. Japanese reactions to incidents involving China and North Korea actually reveal that Japan’s
responses have not been particularly tough by international standards.
In fact, Japan’s efforts to address these regional threats are part of its overall goal to regain its status as a “normal” nation and to protect its national security and interests.
Regrettably, more than a half-century after the end of World War II, Japan’s historical legacy remains an unresolved and nettlesome issue. The issue erupted recently in violent anti-Japanese demonstrations throughout China,
ostensibly over the publication of a new Japanese history textbook that critics claim glorifies Japan’s colonial and wartime activities.
However, the Chinese demonstrations were clearly politically motivated and directed by the leadership in Beijing to exploit Japan’s wartime guilt to block Japan’s bid for a seat on the U.N. Security Council.
Time for the Sun to Rise
June 22, 2005, 7:53 a.m.
Pacifism has never been so silly. In an East Asia featuring both one of the world’s most irrational states and a rising dictatorial power bent on changing the region’s strategic balance, it is a crucial ally of the United States that labors under a constitution that could have been written by Quakers. Of course, it was an American team put together by Douglas MacArthur after World War II that wrote the Japanese constitution imposing pacifism as state policy. That was understandable 50 years ago. Now, the constraints of the Japanese constitution ― and the Japanese attitudes that preserved them all these years ― are senseless anachronisms.
Japan has slowly been emerging from its shell over the last decade, and it is one of the diplomatic triumphs of the Bush administration that it has helped accelerate this process, strengthening the U.S.-Japanese bond and enhancing its usefulness. The Japanese will proceed at their own pace, but our response to every step they take toward becoming a more “normal” country should be nothing but encouragement: “More, please.” The goal, although it will never be fully achievable given historic, cultural, and other differences, should be to make Japan as reliable a partner of the U.S. in Asia as Britain is in Europe.
“There is no fear of Japan. The old cork-in-the-bottle theory is dead,” says an administration official, referring to the former fear in the U.S. government that any Japanese step toward rearmament would mean an inevitable slide toward aggressive militarism. “The old saw is that Japan is just an aircraft carrier, a jumping-off point for American forces. Well, we want to make it a jumping-off point for both U.S. and Japanese forces.”
The alliance is a natural. Japan broadly shares our values. The U.S. is the world’s number-one economy and Japan is number two, a powerful combination. We want to check China, and Japan feels threatened by China. Japan provides the basing the U.S. needs at a time when we have lost our bases in the Philippines and our relationship with South Korea looks shaky. We want to stay in East Asia, and the Japanese want to keep us there, in a dangerous neighborhood.
Japan is surrounded by three nuclear countries that would make anyone nervous: North Korea, China, and Russia.
After the Cold War, the alliance seemed headed for a breakdown. Japan provided only financial support for the first Gulf War and refused to give the U.S. intelligence and logistical aid during the 1993–1994 showdown with North Korea. The Clintonites, meanwhile, were obsessed with banging on the Japanese on trade issues, to the exclusion of national-security considerations. They talked up a “strategic partnership” with China.
But nothing concentrates the mind like a few missile launches.