politics

Japan confronts risks of U.S. alliance based on dollars and deals, not values

48 Comments
By Linda Sieg

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48 Comments
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Welcome to the modern age, and politicians like Trump and his puppy Abe.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Linda Sieg

Rather self-centric article. Why would the US assume that Japan “shared its values ever?

Thats even a little degrading as the entire US-Japan alliance is based on post war occupation.

As a Japanese American I am glad that the USA had in my POV many positive influences in Japan. But I reject the notion that Japan and the USA have or had a “values based” relationship.

Having lived in both nations, to me, the value systems are night and day apart.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Japan can and should re-arm and become more of an independent military power. It is in a shameful servile state at the moment, beholden to the US Imperium. That said, should the Japanese EVER get a yearning to party like it's 1939 again, they should remember that countries like Korea and China will this time have the ability to blow them to bits.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

Civitas

An unpopular frame of mind.

I think most people like to stay unarmed, want america out, and at the same time want China and Russia to stop threatening them.

The best way to stay safe is by being strong and scary enough to not be messed with. But you know...no war, peace and love, signs and protests.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Why would the US assume that Japan “shared its values ever?

Obviously cultures are different, its a reference to their government's shared commitments to democracy, market economies and international law. Not all neighboring countries are committed to those.

Of course the US isn't committed to them either anymore, hence the article.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

For decades, U.S. and Japanese leaders have stressed that the two countries' alliance was based on values such as democracy, freedom and the rule of law. One of Asia's oldest security relationships, it placed Japan under a U.S. defense umbrella.

Well, as long as we acknowledge that this narrative was always at least in part a fiction. The CIA funding the LDP back in the day--was that representative of democracy? Invading Iraq under false pretenses, war crimes in Indochina, supporting Suharto et al--were such choices in pursuit of freedom and the rule of law? Or was this alliance, patron and client, always about geopolitical objectives--opening markets and accessing resources, without which American and Japanese interests would have suffered.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Conducting war games is a shared value?

Well, I never......

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"I think this summit will serve as a trigger for the Japanese people to begin to realise that it is risky to leave Japan's destiny to another country," he added.

It always was risky but the risk was low because the security environment was benign for Japan when the U.S was a million times stronger than their nearest competitor. Back when the U.S navy was bigger than it is now, never-mind the huge technological edge it had and a loyalty that was never really going to be tested.

Now, its different. Japans present strategy may be untenable. Many countries in the region are also waking up, N.Z, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam etc etc.

"would fuel discussions in both Seoul and Tokyo regarding the need for independent nuclear deterrents".

The LDP's Kawai, however, echoed others who say Japan, the only nation to suffer nuclear attacks, would not go that far.

I think it will depend on

a) South Korea's relationship with the North and China. If this whole denuclearization does not work out, South Korea will feel compelled to act on its own to protect itself. It will feel the U.S cannot be wholly trusted even though they would seek to maintain high quality U.S relations and the alliance.

b) Japans relationship with China. And whether China shows further designs on Japanese territory.

Those two factors, if they are trending against Japan, could be the the final nail that forces Japan to consider a nuclear deterrent.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan has never been as safe and rich as it has been with the alliance with the US. JP politicians should keep in mind a lot of the trade friction is due to currency manipulation and opaque trade barriers.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Remember that the basic premise of the US military in Japan has not been to protect Japan, but to ensure Asia that Japan would never try to invade and set up empire again.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

The U.S. were never allies of Countries like Japan, Italy and Germany. These Countries lost WWII, and the U.S. occupied them. Simply this, nothing different from other situations where one Country loses and the other wins. This is called real politik, and Trump is acting openly according to it, without wearing any mask, unlike other American presidents, more prone to defend their political agenda under the fake propaganda about freedom, human rights and democracy. But they weren't different from him in their foreign policy.

For example Italy couldn't deny her support to France and the U.S. (ruled by Nobel Peace Prize Obama...) for Lybia war, despite that mess was against Italian interests, and so on.

Also South Korea is only a vassal State of the U.S., and despite what he says, I doubt Trump will let South Korea under Chinese influence.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Go Kawai!

Lets build an Asian arms race!

Don't we already have enough problems with nuclear pollution in Japan without making more?

Nobody wants to bomb Japan, except in Kawai’s imagination....

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

We have to endure and survive Trump's world. Don't worry too much. Our life is too short to occupy with worries beyond ourselves.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

""I think this summit will serve as a trigger for the Japanese people to begin to realise that it is risky to leave Japan's destiny to another country," he added.

That may be a good idea, but Japan must consider the bounds of the New Word order too. Cause trump, and his entire stateside whtie supremacist power structure could ring in if they dont approve of a particular DESTINATION.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@gokai: yeah, but don't forget that the U.S. didn't act to protect freedom and independence of the rest of Asia, but their strategical interests and hegemony in the region. There aren't good Countries and bad Countries, only Countries. Every Country tries to act for its own sake and interest. The rest is propaganda. Trump dropped that mask of benefactor worn by your typical American president at least partially. He is hurting American soft power worldwide, but only to the eyes of the most ignorants, since that soft power was never able to cheat people with some common sense. There aren't Countries that are "benefactors". The U.S. isn't worse than China or Russia, but it isn't and was never better either.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Trump has driven many wedges recently between America and its closest allies like Canada, Britain, EU and Japan. Trump only sees the American flag and the dollar sign, a real estate businessman who wants the best properties at the lowest prices and even tax breaks.

The cost of the U.S. Military presence in Japan and South Korean is very small compared to the cost of maintaining 800 overseas bases which cost $150 billion out of the total military defense budget of $800 billion. The cost in South Korea is about $1.8 billion with SK paying about $867 million. In Japan the cost is about $5.5 billion with Japan paying about $2 billion.

If those troops were withdrawn America wouldn't save all of those costs because the troops will still be there, just back Stateside.

150,000 troops are positioned in nearly 80 countries.

http://www.talkmedianews.com/world-news/2017/05/01/wake-costs-benefits-us-overseas-bases/

The bigger threat is from China's expansionism in the South China Sea and the militarisations of the reefs and atolls. If American troops are fully withdrawn from the region it would be giving China a free hand to do whatever it wanted to.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Here is what he really said:

"I think this summit will serve as a trigger for the Japanese people to begin to realise that it is risky to leave Japan's destiny to moronic Japanese politicians," he added.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Reckless: instead, American politicians are the most clever and human ever, and they have the absolute right to decide other Countries' fate. This is the moronic logic of SOME Americans, they SERIOUSLY believe they are some kind of superheroes that the world needs, so they must rule any corner of world. America is only imperialist, and its empire is threatened by Russia, China and partially the EU.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Alex80 is right on the money. But the Americans on JT won't want to hear the home truths about their imperium of the last 120 years.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

@Civitas: they will say we are ungrateful, because they gave us "freedom and richness". No really.

History books are written by the winners, but if you ask many Italian elders, they will tell you a different story.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Alex80 is right on the money. But the Americans on JT won't want to hear the home truths about their imperium of the last 120 years.

At least Alex paid us the courtesy of saying some Americans. Plenty of Americans know exactly what our foreign policy is and always has been about.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@jcapan: exactly. :) I know there's plenty of Americans who are not brainwashed.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Regardless of Japan's relationship with the USA, Japan should massively increase its military and develop domestic nuclear weapons. It is a silly joke that the current nation of Japan should hobble itself in the presence of totalitarian threats like the CCP and Russia. This is like telling the USA it should give up armaments because it stole the land from the native Americans. Deal with reality. Japan, apathy aside (somethng it shares with many democracies) is scant miles from the CCP and Russia. China's, Russia's and many other government's threats, such as those in the Middle East, are born of dictatorships. That was a period at the end of that sentence. The USA is, like England, a long-term concern, Japan is as well. The panderng of the current president of the USA, lead by a person who having already achieved the corporate goal of cutting taxes for the rich while bending the American middle class over a barrel, has naught left to do but reek (stink) havoc. Japan needs to stop repeating the same apologies and start putting the fear of destruction into its neighbors. This is not Tojo's Japan and we are not guilty of his sins. Its quite simple, frankly, seeng as how every nation in the neighborhood only economically exists by imitating or ripping off Japan. Kick ass.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Abe has vowed not to rest until all the abductees come home, and now hopes to meet Kim himself to tackle the issue, which he has made a pillar of his political career.

A complete failure. There's only movement now because the egomaniac in Washington has been played like a violin by Kim Jong Un.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

All political relationships are based upon economics and mutual gain. With vastly different histories and different cultures, Japan and America have never shared “values.”

America’s relationship with Japan and it’s military presence in the country has always been about economics, in other words, dollars and cents. By keeping a strong presence in Asia, America insures stability and unhindered trade, which in turn fosters economic activity which benefits all parties.

However, Trump does not think America and Japan have benefited equally from this relationship. America allows Japan virtually free access to America’s market, Japan offers nothing in the way of free access to its own market, resulting in a large trade imbalance.

Since America and Japan’s relationship has always been “dollars and cents,” and nothing else, it’s no surprise that America has decided to act. The only surprise is that it took so long. Action should have been taken when a Georgia peanut farmer was America’s president.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Every circus performances Trump does who pays in dollar is this Japan of Abe. That's his supporters and Nippon Kaigi to increase militarism of US weapons, JSDF is within 10th strongest military in the world. Abe's policy is making advance to Japan's poverty, and where is the values from his mouth!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The president was not very much interested in substance but in how he was seen in Singapore" said one Japanese government source, referring to the Trump-Kim talks.

How ironic that someone from within the government would make a comment about Trump like this. Don't they realize that this is the exact same way Abe is seen by many, jumping back and forth over the pond, pushing meetings with Trump and never having anything concrete to show for it....yet the media here portraying him as a "strong" leader. It's all show.

Pot kettle black!

Everyone knows Trump is a showman, it's time that you and the rest of the country realize that Abe isn't any better!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Since when has Japan been interested in values not dollars?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Trump is agitating everything. However It seems everthing would go back normal when Trump left the office of President. I doubt Trump gets second term. Republicans would never let him again.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The president was not very much interested in substance but in how he was seen in Singapore" said one Japanese government source, referring to the Trump-Kim talks.

Considering the same can be said for many areas of Japanese society, I would say that it was a very accurate and obvious observation. It takes one to know one!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well When the US president actually thinks he's running a democratic "protection racket", what do you expect. He actually thinks, that the members of NATO pay the US for protection rather than each country trying to pay 2% of GDP into "its" defence.

Of course trump wants those countries to pay more like the US does, because he thinks they will go to countries like the US to purchase their weapons. Of course NATO countries can buy from say, Airbus, BAE, Dassault, SAAB et al . The US president thinks that way, and he wants them to BUY MORE US goods, or in this case, more weapons from the US. Now It might actually work but it may work against US weapon manufacturers, as NATO member may just spend that money closer to home and decide to look somewhere else.

Trump forget thats the only time NATO enacted its defence protocol article 5 was on 9/11.

The US never came to the UKs help when the Falklands was invaded, did they?

I won't support our government or troops going to war for TRUMP.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Just another excuse to move Japan under Imperial rule or Chinese control...

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

bjohnson

Imperial or Chinese then? Make up your mind, cause that guess right there isn’t very educated.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Either Japan beefs up its own military or pays the US to protect it. Unfortunately this is the "new Republican run" normal. Japan will be in a very difficult position. If Japan buys more weapons from US to strengthen own military and appease Trump then Japan will most certainly antagonize neighboring China and Russia. There's always the fear of Trump flip-flopping and not keeping promise of protecting Japan once money is spent on weapons that fatten US corporations that makes them. This is a president that makes every decision based on dollar and cents because he's a businessman and not a politician. Japan should inevitably do what is right for itself even if it means making own weapons and learn to stand on its own two feet.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan deserves to be a peaceful, neutral and sovereign country, loved by all neighbors. Let Japanese people choose their own destination, not by Abe's govt. No war, no militarization of Japan, and no lies.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

For many years, Japan has used the alliance to mask their unfair trade.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Rather self-centric article. Why would the US assume that Japan “shared its values ever?

Thats even a little degrading as the entire US-Japan alliance is based on post war occupation.

Yes and with the traitor Spanky fan boy hijacking the USA and kidnapping children - how can any nation depend on the USA for anything? I recommend as an American that Japan and ALL other allied nations and the United Nations not negotiate anymore with Trump or his secretaries or ministers and recalling ambassadors and imposing economic sanctions on America until it stops its human rights abuses. No more diplomacy - DUMP TRUMP!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When will Japan and the rest of the world realise that the US is nobody's friend. How many more countries must the US invade, threaten or place sanctions on before they realise that the US foreign policy is world (and space) domination and dictatorship? When will the world sideline the US and put it in its place? Japan should regain its dignity and sovereignty and send the US basis packing, after all its been under US occupation for over 70 years.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

rlperez-hotmail.com.au

”When will Japan realize that the US is nobodys friend!”

Dude, this is earth and we are human beings who are tribal. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

thepersoniamnow, who is Japan's enemy ? Who is Japan's enemy's enemy ? Lie is lie, even repeated thousand times, it is still a lie. Can you say that your wife's wife is your husband ? So ridiculous.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Probably its time to consider the (previously) unthinkable: Get your own nukes and don´t rely anymore on the nuklear umbrella held by such a president. Then he´ll take you seriously.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Post WWII the US and Japan had a alliance of convenience. The US had a stable ally that was pacifist and allowed the US to use it’s nation as a forward base for opposing Communism. Japan got a guarantor of their national security and a huge market for its exports. Japan is a fully developed nation now and America is no longer able to afford the defense of Japan The South Koreans and Europeans had the same deal as Japan.

Well the world has changed. America had a good run. But now it is overburdened with international obligations and it’s huge debt is a rising threat to domestic stability. Japan knows all this and that is why Abe has been pushing for increased defense spending and reforms to the post war Constitution. It’s time America abandons it’s role as world policeman and focus on its own problems.

Japan, South Korea, and Europe have had the luxury of not having to shoulder the full burden of their international responsibilities because of America’s super power status. Those days are over.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Gokai

Remember that the basic premise of the US military in Japan has not been to protect Japan, but to ensure Asia that Japan would never try to invade and set up empire again.

Apart from protecting Japan from communism I think this is a very good and undeniably true point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Without the capacity to get along with South Korea politically and constant useless nitpicking with SK and Russia over islands, Japan will cling to the USA because facing its relationships would be harder

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think that for many years now the problem has been that America has regarded Japan as a partner, whereas Japan has regarded America as competitor. This is therefore become incompatable.

Japan, in my opinion has abused the American view of partnership, and now that the days of Japan having its cake and eat it are drawing to a close it leaves Japan confused and directionless.

The question becomes "is Japan ready to be let of the lease? I would say no.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan, South Korea, and Europe have had the luxury of not having to shoulder the full burden of their international responsibilities because of America’s super power status. Those days are over.

They're on their own now since the traitor Trump hijacked the WH. He's a Russian satellite and unreliable, undependable, immature and 350% sick. The USA is no longer the beacon of democracy or a world leader because of his ill-mannered arrogance and his inability to work with. And at this point I can't even see why anybody would even want to. He is an absolute disgrace to the United States and it wouldn't surprise me if nobody took him as a serious contender worthy of having conferences with after it was revealed that he loves to get SPANKED - that by itself is shameful, indicates a very severe character flaw of his and is the cause of laughing and jeering by other countries' heads of state. Douche Trump should just resign at this point, he's such a disgraceful, dishonorable brat with no cred, no clout, no class, no cool.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan can and should re-arm and become more of an independent military power. It is in a shameful servile state at the moment, beholden to the US Imperium

Totally agree with you Civitas! Japan needs to go further than just repealing article 9, it needs to wipe the slate clean of tis occupation era and re write its constitution that protects Japanese interests and not those of the US.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Trump is not a traitor as a few punks may think. He is a great president in the eyes of the American people that elected him to America's highest office under our democracy.

US is a beacon off democracy, that is why many want to come to America.

Only a minor few Trump haters think Trump is a disgrace to the United States of America. President is well respected by the American people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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