Japanese Premier Abe Shinzo and President Obama had a meeting February 23 in White House. Mr. Abe praises his achievement, saying 'the alliance between the two countries is back now. It's completely back'. Meanwhile the US side pressured Premier to accept US strategic demands without reservation, appeasing insistently the Japanese leader for his exhibitionism.
PREMIER BEHAVED WITHIN US STRATEGY
Mr. Abe had requested a meeting with US President immediately after his inauguration ceremony, but the offer had been rejected due to 'the tight schedule' of President Obama. The Japanese premier then tried to convey the official position of Japan to approve the right of collective defense, which the Constitution bans.
The US side, however, not generous enough to coincide with the premier who attempts to revise the view on WWII history, demanded him to pledge that Japan should act to contribute to the US strategic profits and he should take initiative to fulfill the tasks. Premier has gained a simple lip service without any reward.
Abe is Faithful to US Strategy
The agenda in the bilateral talks included consolidation of the military alliance, swift construction of a new base in Henoko, Okinawa, and intensification of sanction on Democratic People's Republic of Korea. These policies had been already agreed on by the both parties and the recent meeting reconfirmed them.
Mr. Abe proposed as new Premier: a review of a policy to stop operation at the nuclear power plants, a demand to approve US export of shale gas and willingness of entry into the TPP free trade negotiation. But these issues are stipulated in the Armitage Report, a list of US demands to Japan, released in August last year. The topics that Premier raised indicate he does not pay sincere attention to overwhelming voices of people who oppose heavy burden on Okinawa Prefecture and demand to decommission all nuclear power plants in the country.
Mr. Abe explained President Obama that 'discussions were going on to authorize the right of collective defense'. His commitment, which violates the constitutional principles, is rightly requested by the said report. Premier stressed the integrated bilateral military policy, which constitutes additional deployment of X-band radars, further cooperation in the missile defense initiative and another revision of security guidelines.
However, President Obama, who tries to avoid negative implications on the current Sino-US relations due to jeopardy of the aggravated Sino-Japan relations stemming from the maritime dispute over the islands of Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, did not show his consent with Mr. Abe's new interpretation of the Constitution. No joint press meeting was held either.
Mr. Abe addressed in the Center for Strategic and International Studies, stating that 'Japan could not tolerate any challenge (of China). No nation should make any miscalculation about the firmness of our resolve'. Meanwhile the government of China rebuked the Japanese Premier's remark, saying that he is 'stirring up a campaign of China's threat' and that the two leaders' meeting had produced limited results.
Abe Allows Japan's Entry into TPP Free Trade Scheme
Thus Mr. Abe has brought home a very big souvenir from the United States: a switchover to join negotiation of TPP, a Trans Pacific Partnership scheme, a pivotal US economic strategy. Opposition is stiff even in the Abe's party as the initiative will severely damage agriculture of Japan. But Mr. Abe has altered the decision of Japanese government: to join the trade framework, which is contrary to the December election pledge of the party. He insists that 'the scheme does not presuppose the abolition of all tariffs without exception', praising his accomplishment.
However, the joint statement specifies 'everything is on the table in the talks' as a premise, giving additional explanations that 'sensitive trade items exist; Japan has concerns on some agricultural products while US, on manufactured goods' and that 'either party is not requested to make a prior pledge to unilaterally eliminate all tariffs'.
In the multilateral talks elimination of tariffs is well prepared in the TPP scheme on agricultural products. Mr. Abe performs within the framework of US strategy. Don't be cheated by his remarks.
March 5, 2013