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Tadae Takubo

Japan Must Be Prepared to Share Burdens (Tadae Takubo, Vice President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals)

Tadae Takubo / 2013.02.05 (Tue)

Speaking Out #178 February 4, 2013

      "Japan-China relations amount to Japan-U.S. relations," said Shigeharu Matsumoto, who made a global scoop on the 1936 Xian incident where Zhang Xueliang confined Chiang Kaishek when Matsumoto headed the Shanghai Bureau of the then Japanese state-run Domei News Agency. As indicated by the remark by Matsumoto who served as the first chairman of the International House of Japan after the war, political dynamics have worked between Japan, China and the United States since before the war. If we focus only on China, the United States or Japan, we may fail to understand the whole picture.


China on brink of regime collapse
      A Chinese woman has become interested in and visited the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, which has continued unique activities as a Japanese think tank. Cui Weiping, one of leading signatories of Charter 2008 known for criticizing the Chinese regime, says criticisms against the heavy-handed Chinese government have grown among the middle class rather than poor farmers. As government control has eased with disorder seen, some even observe China is on the brink of a regime collapse, she adds. Apart from stereotyped remarks by Chinese government officials, her statements may indicate the truth. I would like to cheer Cui who is trying to take advantage of the current situation for China to make a soft landing for democratization.


Responsibility of U.S. allies
      The U.S. Obama Administration in its second term is likely to continue its Asian “pivot” policy against China. But its second-term policies have already been making some differences with those of the first-term. President Barack Obama has nominated his close friends for the top posts of State, Defense and Treasury Departments and Central Intelligence Agency, organizing a friend-based cabinet similar to a past Japanese cabinet. Secretary of State John Kerry engaged in antiwar movements as a Vietnam War veteran. Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, nominated as defense secretary, has been critical of global U.S. troop deployment. The Washington Post quoted Hagel as citing a defense spending cut as one of his main missions at the Pentagon. The Obama Administration’s second-term policies may thus become inward-looking.
      One reason for the inward-looking policies is that most of Americans are cautious of being involved in any dispute or taking the initiative in any war after more than 10 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The second reason is that President Obama’s social security ambitions including the healthcare reform have deteriorated the already deficit-plagued federal budget further to the disadvantage of defense outlays. If the United States were to meet the two domestic requirements while remaining a leading superpower, it would have no choice but to ask allies to share defense burdens. Japan must be prepared to meet such U.S. request.


Tadae Takubo is Vice President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.