Japan Institute for National Fundamentals
https://jinf.jp/

Policy Proposals

2009.10.13 (Tue)

Policy Proposals to New Japanese Government #2 (Japan-U.S. Relations)

September 18, 2009

[Policy Proposals]
1. When he meets with U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama should declare that the Japan-U.S. relationship in which the two countries share value is the most important bilateral relationship for Japan.

 

2. Continue the SDF’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

 

3. Be aware that any revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) or the bilateral agreement on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan will never become a priority for the Obama administration.

 

4. Urge the United States to issue a new Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security to redefine the bilateral alliance in 2010, based on military changes in East Asia and the world.

 

5. Revise the three non-nuclear principles in a bid to admit the United States to introduce nuclear weapons into Japan.

 

 

1. When he meets with U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama should declare that the Japan-U.S. relationship in which the two countries share value is the most important bilateral relationship for Japan.

      The United States has been growingly concerned that Japan could drift away from the United States under the Hatoyama government. In his article that has been reported in the United States and interpreted as anti-American, Hatoyama said, “The Japan-U.S. security pact will continue to be the cornerstone of Japanese diplomatic policy.” But he has failed to gain any confidence in the United States.
      Furthermore, Katsuya Okada, who has become foreign minister in the new government, indicated his plan to limit the scope of the Japan-U.S. alliance to the Asia-Pacific region in a foreign policy vision report, which he published in 2005 when he was the president of the DPJ. Okada thus denied the concept of “the Japan-U.S. alliance in the world” as agreed between the two countries under the past Liberal Democratic Party government. His assumption of the foreign minister portfolio may be another matter of concern to the United States.
      If Hatoyama is confident that the Japan-U.S. security arrangement is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy, the prime minister at his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama should declare, “The U.S.-Japan relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none.” Hatoyama should try to eliminate U.S. concerns about Japan. A declaration using the late U.S. Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield’s famous remark should help the Hatoyama government gain U.S. confidence since Mansfield was respected on a bipartisan basis in the U.S. political arena.

 

2. Continue the SDF’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

      On the Japanese Self-Defense Forces' refueling mission in the Indian Ocean under the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law set to expire in January 2010, the Pentagon press secretary said on September 9, "We would very much encourage them to continue those efforts." On August 31, the State Department spokesman said: "A stable, prosperous Afghanistan is in the interests of the entire international community, including Japan. But of course, it’s up to each country to determine how they can best contribute to that effort." These remarks indicate nuanced differences within the U.S. government. But the refueling mission is a symbol of Japan's contributions to the war against terrorism and should be continued. The DPJ's campaign manifesto and its coalition agreement with the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party call for Japan to play a proactive role in the "eradication of poverty" and "national reconstruction" in Afghanistan to eliminate a breeding ground of terrorism. However, a return to check-book diplomacy cannot become a symbolic contribution replacing the refueling mission.

 


3. Be aware that any revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) or the bilateral agreement on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan will never become a priority for the Obama administration.

      The U.S. State Department spokesman has declared that the U.S. government has no intent to renegotiate an agreement on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, while the Pentagon press secretary has urged the Hatoyama government to implement the agreement. Michael Green, former senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council, said, “The Obama administration is beset with foreign and security challenges globally and will have little appetite to renegotiate the Okinawa base agreements (again!) or SOFA even in a year .” Hatoyama should keep in mind that if he urges the United States to review these agreements promptly, his ability as an international politician may be doubted. At a press conference just after becoming prime minister, Hatoyama indicated a right decision to refrain from taking up the SOFA issue at his planned meeting with President Obama in late September.

 


4. Urge the United States to issue a new Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security to redefine the bilateral alliance in 2010, based on military changes in East Asia and in the world.

      Since the Japan-U.S. Joint Security Declaration was issued in 1996 to reaffirm the significance of the bilateral alliance after the Cold War, the East Asian security situation has changed dramatically on North Korea's nuclear armament and China's military rise. The world security situation also has changed greatly as the war against the terrorism of Islamic extremists has become an important common challenge for the civilized world.
      In 2010 marking the 50th anniversary of the revised Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, Japan, based on these changes, should propose a new joint declaration to redefine the Japan-U.S. alliance and get prepared for the uncertain Asian and world situations.

 

5. Revise the three non-nuclear principles in a bid to admit the United States to introduce nuclear weapons into Japan.

      If U.S. nuclear deterrence were to work as designed to ultimately secure Japan's safety, not only Japan but its potential enemies would have to be led to believe that the United States is willing to use nuclear weapons for Japan’s defense. If Japan changes its three non-nuclear principles -- not to possess, produce or introduce into the country nuclear weapons – in a bid to admit the introduction of U.S. nuclear weapons into Japan, potential enemies should clearly understand the U.S. willingness to defend Japan and the U.S. nuclear deterrence against possible attacks on Japan will be enhanced.
       The DPJ has suspected a secret Japan-U.S. deal to allow U.S. nuclear weapons into Japan and indicated it might demand the United States to comply with the non-nuclear principles. If the DPJ pursues an “equal” Japan-U.S. relationship as urged in its campaign manifesto, however, wouldn’t it be reasonable for Japan to possess nuclear weapons before refusing the introduction of U.S. nuclear weapons into Japan?