September 6, 2004


A Bush re-election poses new hurdles for Koizumi (YOICHI KOSUKEGAWA, 9/07/04, Japan Times)

James Przystup, senior research fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies of the National Defense University in Washington, said he welcomes developments in Japan-U.S. relations since Bush took office in January 2001.

Przystup said many of the recommendations included in his institution's 2000 report on a better Japan-U.S. partnership have been accomplished. "I think this is really a tremendous success story for the Bush administration and the Koizumi government."

The report, compiled by a bipartisan study group that included Richard Armitage and Michael Green, called for expanding Japan-U.S. cooperation in security and other areas. Bilateral relations moved in that direction particularly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Japan has been engaged in refueling operations in the Arabian Sea to support U.S.-led military operations in Afghanistan and has dispatched Ground Self-Defense Force troops to Iraq on a reconstruction and humanitarian aid mission.

Under the Bush administration, Armitage became deputy secretary of state and Green became senior director for Asia at the White House's National Security Council.

Hiromi Murakami, a lecturer in Japan studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, said that from a Japanese perspective, the recent developments in bilateral relations may lead to "serious problems" in Japan.

"Japan was proactively involved in supporting U.S. policy toward Iraq, which was a reasonable solution for Japan in the short term, but lacked in-depth discussion at home, which is not a good domestic solution in the long term," she said.

A Republican Party platform adopted during the just-ended national convention confirmed that Bush will continue to place Japan at the center of his Asian policy if he is elected in November for a second four-year term.

"Japan is a key partner of the United States and the U.S.- Japan alliance is an important foundation of peace, stability, security and prosperity in Asia," the platform says. "America supports an economically vibrant and open Japan that serves as an engine of expanding prosperity and trade in the Asia-Pacific region."

So, by our count relations have never been better between the U.S. and: Britain, Australia, Japan, Israel, India, Russia, Mexico, and Poland. They're troubled with the U.N., France and Germany. John Kerry promises to reverse the situation. Why's that good?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 6, 2004 11:09 PM

Disagree on Mexico, but great point.

Iraq relations are also at an alltime high.

Posted by: JAB at September 6, 2004 11:25 PM

Basically, Kerry wants good relations with the countries at or near where he and Teresa take their vacations. You just don't hear much about the senator reaffirming his strong ties to the Swiss because of their policy of neutrality.

Posted by: at September 6, 2004 11:36 PM


Agree about Mexico. Not that we have poor relations, but they're not great. But that's Mexico's fault. Having traveled extensively in Mexico, I understand why they don't support us in Iraq. If they agree, it wouldn't annoy us. But it is sheer stupidity (and contrary to their national interest) that they don't have troops in Iraq, like El Salvador. Plus it would goose the national pride to get into some firefights (remember, and believe me Mexicans do, that the Mexican army under Santa Anna was considered one of the best in the world).

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 7, 2004 12:09 AM

If the Mexican army was so good, how come they got whacked by 800 yeoman farmers at San Jacinto? They wore really cool looking French war surplus uniforms and they were individually extremely tough and brave, but as an army they weren't much.

The Japanese spend about $60 billion a year on defense, second to the US. They have the second largest economy in the world, and as such face many of the same kinds of problems we do. Instability in oil producing countries,or for that matter pretty much any 3d World exporter of extractive goods, is an existential disaster for them as Japan has no mineral wealth. If the Islamic members of OPEC were to cease producing oil because they were too busy with internal conflicts, we would be hurt, but Japan would be crushed.

The Japanese, in their mania for a consensus-based society, have scrupulously avoided serious discussion of the fact that they develop rapid force projection capacity to protect Japanese overseas interests, especially in Indonesia and Korea. However, it remains the 800 lb Sumo in the room.

Posted by: Bart at September 7, 2004 7:40 AM


They beat the French.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 7, 2004 12:59 PM

Twenty-seven years later and not under the command of Santa Anna.

Posted by: Bart at September 7, 2004 2:32 PM

Fred was being facetious, one assumes.

Posted by: oj at September 7, 2004 2:46 PM