About Japan

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Annie, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. Annie

    Annie Diamond Member

    Nov 22, 2003
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    I've been waiting for something like this:


    The Washington Times


    Our friend Japan
    Published December 30, 2003


    Japan took a big step yesterday toward helping stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. After negotiations between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. envoy James Baker III, Tokyo agreed to forgive "the vast majority" of the $7.76 billion that Baghdad owes the Asian nation. More than $3.5 billion of the money contained in that bill consists of interest and penalties, funds which the Japanese have relinquished in debt-forgiveness deals with other countries in the past. This makes the hole a new Iraqi government must climb out of much smaller -- and in response, China signaled that it too might forgive the $1 billion it is owed by Iraq. Yesterday's announcement is representative of the geopolitical contribution Japan has been making as one of America's most reliable allies.
    There is no major nation with a stronger pacifist political inclination than modern Japan. After the humiliation and destruction of its islands during the defeat of World War II, the Japanese population became overwhelmingly antiwar, and for decades was adamantly opposed to any military maneuvers or involvement outside of its borders. It is this tradition that makes Japanese cooperation with the United States since September 11 so historic. The first major change in Japan's defense-only military posture came last year, when the Japanese Navy dispatched supply and medical vessels to aid the allied war effort to destroy the Taliban in Afghanistan. Although the ships served only support functions, the symbolic value of the Rising Sun flag sailing through blue waters made the statement that a new era of military involvement had in fact commenced.
    Tokyo has continued to be steadfast in its commitments to U.S. military efforts since the Afghan mission. Mr. Koizumi worked the phones before the Iraq war started to try to convince international leaders to back President Bush's appeals for support in the United Nations. In addition to the debt forgiveness announced yesterday, Japan was one of the first governments in the world to provide funds for Iraqi reconstruction, which it did to the tune of $5 billion. It provided substantial financial aid during the first Gulf War a decade ago, but that was seen largely as a payment to make up for the refusal to send troops to help the coalition oust the Iraqi army from Kuwait. This year, Tokyo is sending cash and troops.
    Five days ago, the first Japanese units were deployed to bases in Kuwait and Qatar. Eventually, Japanese troop strength in the Middle East will reach 1,000 -- making the Iraq mission the country's largest military operation abroad since World War II. Overt cooperation from a nation traditionally reluctant to dispatch its armed forces puts pressure on many nations not yet on board with the Bush administration's plan to get Iraq back on its feet. Japan's willingness to risk casualties speaks volumes of its commitment to the cause. Further assisting in relieving some tensions in the Middle East, Tokyo is sending millions of yen and disaster-relief crews to help Iran in the aftermath of the recent earthquake.Goodwill with Tehran may prove useful in the future.
    An editorial in yesterday's Japan Times listed the deployment of Japanese Self-Defense Forces to Iraq as one of the two most significant events in the nation in 2003. Although not listed, a development that is nearly as significant is China's acquiescence to Japan's participation in six-way talks over North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. Tokyo's re-emergence as a strategic player on the diplomatic scene can only crowd China's ambitions in East and Southeast Asia. For years, American sea power was considered the only check on Beijing. Many Asian nations worry that the United States is not playing an active enough role and that Beijing is gradually replacing Washington as the regional powerbroker. Japan's increasing prominence thrusts it back into its natural place as a regional balance to Chinese hegemonic ambitions.
    Japan is America's best friend in Asia and rivals Britain as its most reliable ally worldwide. Debt relief and reconstruction aid are significant given the nation's dire financial position for more than a decade. But Tokyo's support for other U.S. initiatives -- such as space-based missile defense -- is impressive because of their controversial nature. By comparison, strident and consistent opposition to U.S. policy by France and Germany begin to make European leaders look more like former allies than current ones.

    Copyright © 2003 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. bamthin

    bamthin Guest

    I am waiting for Japan and China to forgive some of the crippling US debt. Do you think Baker can convince them to do that. China holds so much US debt it can force the US into a recession if it wanted to.

    I guess as long as the oil rich Iraqis are debt free then all is well. The sooner that debt is gone, the sooner the Bushco conglomerates can start raping the Iraqi oil reserves for a profit.


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