Saturday, October 03, 2009

When Japan tries to say No

Godzilla has been considered a filmographic metaphor for the
United States, as well as an allegory of nuclear weapons in
general. Godzilla represented the fears that many Japanese
held about the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and
the possibility of recurrence.

One can hear many more things from DPJ politicians nowadays
and it' easy to see that something has changed here. If
nothing guarantees that the reform of Japan Prime Minister
Hatoyama party, the Democratic Party of Japan, will work out
if it confines into symbolic destruction of past LDP regime.
Some more straightforward policies are now designed to show
that after all, yes, it happened, Japan can say No. *

For instance Hatoyama party has long advocated tighter US
Japan economic ties and collaboration on nonmilitary areas
such as energy and the environment. "Japan's relations with
the U.S. have been heavily biased toward defense," Hatoyama
recently said. "Now it's time to shift our focus to economic
ties." In other words, message abroad is clear: stop bashing,
from the US, but also the EU, the Chinese.

One example is Afghanistan. After war brought destruction,
it is time to reconstruct and polish. Here is how the
archipelago diversifies its int'l cooperation, huge by the
way, in helping the... Taliban!

First answer to the Obama administration, regarding the war
in Afghanistan, Japan does not want to continue the
refueling in the Indian ocean but offer a comparative
advantage that is less "war machine" motion. Cash and
training, economic push up.

"The Japanese government has decided to provide vocational
training to former Taliban soldiers to support reconstruction
efforts in Afghanistan as an alternative to the refueling
mission by the Maritime Self-Defense Forces in the Indian
Ocean, whose legal mandate will expire in January.

Vocational training has heretofore not been offered to former
Taliban soldiers, and has the benefit of highlighting Japan's
"new contribution to the international community" as a
fitting alternative to its current refueling mission.

While several hundreds of thousands of Taliban soldiers are
said to be in Afghanistan, many join the movement for money.
The purpose of Japan's newly proposed mission is to rectify a
system that forces citizens to join such groups by
alleviating poverty, thereby providing support to the US
which has been troubled by deteriorating public security in
the country."

Instructors are be selected from among Afghans, but how Japan
(NDAG: the MOFA) will secure staff to train the instructors
themselves as well as whether the training will take place
within Afghanistan or a third country has yet to be decided.

"Japan has announced approximately 2 billion dollars' worth
of aid to Afghanistan, which includes half a year's salary
for the 80,000 or so police officers in the country and
support for rice farming. It is also considering expanding
its agricultural support activities based primarily around
Kabul to the country's northern regions, where public order
is relatively stable." (quotes mainichi, agencies, wikipedia,

✍ It is not the panacea for all insecurity ills but it's a

* Reference to the pamphlet "The Japan That Can Say No: Why
Japan Will Be First Among Equals" By Ishihara Shintaro with
contributions by Sony cofounder Morita Akio .

"The Japan That Can Say No" is a 1989 essay co-written by
Sony co-founder and chairman Akio Morita and current governor
of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara, in the climate of Japan's
economic rise. It was famous for its critical examination of
United States business practices, and for advocating Japan's
taking a more independent stance on many issues, from
business to foreign affairs. The title refers to the
authors' vision (Ishihara's in particular) of a Japanese
government that is more than a mere "yes man" to the United

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