By, Uwe Paschen.
Is Japan’s change to be a beacon for a World to follow or merely an Isolated move by one bold Nation defying a super power?
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his Party (DPJ) won a historic election in August here in Japan, in part because he called for a review of the 2006 Japanese- U.S. Military agreement. Four DPJ members from Okinawa won parliamentary seats with promises of reducing and even eliminating the U.S. troop presence on the island. Denny Tamaki is one of Okinawa's parliament ministers. He says they won because voters believed they could achieve what the previous administration could not. That includes resolving the issue of U.S. military bases in Okinawa. Tamaki wants Futenma's marines and training facilities off the island altogether. In addition, polls show his constituents overwhelmingly support that view.
In a recent poll by one of Japan's national newspapers, nearly 70 percent of Okinawans said they opposed moving Futenma to another part of the island. The same percentage think Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama should negotiate with the U.S. to move Futenma out of the prefecture and the country altogether.
Japan may want the U.S. bases out and stop collaborating with U.S. military endeavours. Japan does however not want to escape its international responsibilities. "Our contribution to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan is great and will increase" as Mr. Fujisaki said, “Yes, We have been number two in the world for reconstructions of Iraq. Number one being United States, of course. In Afghan we are number three.”
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said he wants the U.S. bases to be moved off Okinawa, even out of Japan altogether
Japan's defence minister Mr. Toshimi Kitazawa said Thursday last, that rules governing the U.S. troop presence on Okinawa Island were “humiliating” For Japan. He further stated that “to build a new relationship that meets the requirements of the new era instead of getting mired in fears of offending them,”
The Minister also announced that Japan will cancel the purchase of U.S. Military Jets, specifically the F-35 and look for suppliers out side the U.S. as he said "our choice is wide open to other options, of non-American-made jets.”
Japan’s taxpayers fell that they should no longer have to neither pay for the U.S. bases nor tolerate the U.S. presence that has been continuously increasing in cost since 1948.
Kiroku Hanai, a former editorial writer for a vernacular newspaper, writes that Japan has to stop paying for the U.S. military and force the U.S. to withdraw and close all U.S. bases on Japanese soil.
"Japan is not ashamed of its Pacifistic constitution and its desire to hold on to it."
"Policing the World is not a task for the U.S. or any other supper power, but rather for a strong U.N." Mr. Hatoyama said. He did also evoke that war was not the anther to our international conflicts.
“My grandfather Ichiro, then Prime Minister, was an advocate of the concept of yu-ai, or "fraternity". This yu-ai is a way of thinking that respects one's own freedom and individual dignity while also respecting the freedom and individual dignity of Others. “
Japan is most definitely moving in a new direction whose signs are clearly laid out by stopping all Military collaboration with the U.S. refueling program and moving the money saved in those military program into Humanitarian aid instead.
Further Japan has send out a clear message to the U.S. and other Western Nations as Japan’s foreign Minister said in October that “Tokyo's new way of contributing to the effort in Afghanistan will be in the form of humanitarian aid, which will include training former Taliban soldiers.”
Japan's new government has vowed to pursue a foreign policy independent of the U.S. and it is clear by now that this is well under way and to be a new reality that may force the U.S. to rethink their own political future that lately seems to look a lot like the former U.S.S.R. once did in 1989.
Ironically, the U.S.S.R. back then was struck by a major economic crisis, a never-ending war in Afghanistan and blessed with a President that received the Nobel peace price.
Japan has send the message, laud and clear, the question remaining, is whether the U.S. will hear it and understand it in time.
So far the U.S. have first mocked the changes in Japan, as the changes seemed to prevail though and proved to be real. The U.S. tried threats as well as fear mongering. Wish started with economic pressures, with Statements such as, 'Japan should align it self with its biggest trading partner', namely the U.S., 'if it wanted to remain part of the top producers', to wish Japan responded with diversification and new trade talks with China and other Asian and European partners.
Then came the North Korean card and fear mongering to wish Japan responded equally elegantly by insisting on continued six party negotiations rather then more confrontation.
The time for supper powers seems to be over and a new era has begun, one whose course is not yet fully shaped. Should we be wise or arrogant will determine this era’s outcome.
Lets hope we find wisdom and move towards peace and co-operation rather them another power struggle for supremacy.
Japan has chosen peace and co-operation as well as the preservation of our Environment over power and dominance.