Here's one that I have to share and comment upon, for it appears to confirm in a loose way the analysis that I've been making concerning Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and what his policies might spell for Japan's long term policy. The article was sent by Mr. S.D., and is authored by Ms. Yuriko Koike, a former Japanese defense minister and current member of the imperial Diet:
There are a number of statements here that I want to draw the reader's attention to, the first being to the "outsourcing" of foreign policy to the United States:
This foreign-policy assertiveness is as revolutionary for Japan’s diplomacy as “Abenomics” has been for its economic policy. It marks a stark contrast with the seven decades following Japan’s defeat in 1945 in the Pacific War, when successive governments mostly outsourced foreign policy to the United States.
Until the 1980s, this made sense. By concentrating on reconstructing the country after the devastation of war, our leaders brought about an economic miracle. Japan became the world’s second-ranking industrial power, and almost all Japanese enjoyed lifestyles and levels of social security that their parents could never have imagined.
This, if one cares to read between the lines a bit, is quite a statement, for it is as much as blast at the USA's European allies and their own "outsourced" foreign policy, as it is a repudiation of that outsourcing in Japan's history. It is, quite frankly, a definite "serving of notice" that Tokyo is no longer going to "outsource" its foreign policy to Washington; the says of the Japanese satrapy in Washington's orbit are over. That said, however, we have to "sugar coat" it a bit:
Because successive Japanese governments badly underestimated its consequences, the rise of China has been the third and final shock to Japan’s policy of neo-isolationism. Over much of the past three decades, Japanese firms and official agencies have happily invested hundreds of billions of dollars in China, hoping to bind the two economies together in a way that would end the lingering bitterness from World War II.
Instead, as the friction of recent years has amply attested, China continues to nurture the bitterness of its people, and those of other Asian countries, toward Japan. Its hope is to rule out any Japanese role in resolving regional security issues, and to diminish the potency of the US-Japan alliance.
But it is not only China that has reawakened Japan’s foreign-policy ambitions. Russia was a concern for Japan even before President Vladimir Putin unleashed his armed forces on Ukraine. The Kremlin has maintained Russia’s illegal occupation of Japanese islands – our “Northern Territories” – seized by Stalin after Japan’s surrender in the Pacific War.
This is exactly the pattern I've been predicting that Mr. Abe would embark upon. You'll recall that I've been arguing that Mr. Abe's efforts to overturn the Japanese rearmament provisions were based in part of economic necessity, and in part upon what probably constitutes a long term Japanese strategic assessment of the viability of the American empire, an empire whose instablity is revealed by the increasing instability instability of its leaders. Japan knows that sooner or later it must be able to defend itself, on its own, against China, with or without American help. In the meantime, however, it will mouth the usual platitudes for the benefit of American ears, including the nonsense about Russian invasions of the Ukraine and "Russian aggression" in the Crimea. Japan knows full well that the neo-Fascist regime in Kiev is only there due to American covert ops, and is only talking to Kiev for economic reasons which have little to do with trying to show a strong face of support for American policy toward Moscow. Indeed, as Ms. Koike notes, Japan would very much like to recover lost territories in the Kurile islands, and know full well that bristling rhetoric towards Russia will hardly accomplish those goals.
Given Chinese and Russian actions, it should surprise no one that Japan has fundamentally rethought its diplomatic posture. And now the world is witnessing the results, not only in Abe’s reinterpretation of Japan’s constitution to allow for greater military support of the country’s allies, but also in the reinvigorated mutual-defense pact that Abe and President Barack Obama signed in Washington, DC, in late April.
At the same time, Japan is moving out of America’s diplomatic shadow. A strategic partnership with India has been gaining strength since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office last year, and Abe has been deepening Japan’s strategic ties around Southeast Asia, particularly with countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam, which are confronting China’s hegemonic ambitions in the South China Sea.
It is to be noted that Japan's current diplomatic and economic efforts include precisely those regions of the eastern Pacific that formed such central roles in the wartime Japanes "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere," a kind of imperial "East Asian Union" or "common market" under the dominance of the yen.
But there's a bottom line here: neither Japan nor China stand to benefit from open confrontation over the long term, and thus, in my opinion, it was a mistake for Japan not to become a founding member of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. But Japanese rearmament has to be understood for what it is in Beijing: Japan can easily, and quickly, become one of the worlds major thermonuclear powers with a truly global reach. it's to Beijing's benefit to reconsider that provocative stance toward Tokyo. And I suspect, eventually, that the two Asian giants will sit down, and start talking. The real news will be when they start having joint "disaster relief" military exercises...
See you on the flip side...