Japan remains skeptical about North Korea but is sidelined based on the over-reliance on America
Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The recent summit between North Korea and South Korea hit international headlines based on the history of this event. Yet, in the corridors of power in Tokyo, people remain skeptical within the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This skepticism is based on past history where past promise seemed like brinkmanship by North Korea. However, Japan is being sidelined because of the over-reliance on America and this issue shows the weakness of not appearing to be independent.
Indeed, recently signed statements in adherence to G-7 nations by Japan – aimed at the Russian Federation – show that this nation is sacrificing its own foreign policy objectives based on appeasing America and other G-7 nations, notably the United Kingdom. Hence, despite Japan being a major economic powerhouse it remains to be viewed negatively in China and the Russian Federation. At the same time, Japan isn’t being taken seriously internationally because of the perceived weakness of this nation in abiding by America on many important international issues.
Of course, Japan formulates many potent economic initiatives internationally outside of the remit of America. Similarly, on certain issues, Japan does adopt different foreign policy objectives. For example, America can’t rely on Japan to rubber-stamp its pro-Israel stance and the same applies to Japan favoring positive relations with Myanmar. Despite this, when it comes to important regional events like the Korean Peninsula or not succumbing to G-7 pressure against the Russian Federation, then either irrelevance (Korean Peninsula) or succumbing to pressure (agreeing to statements against the Russian Federation) is a sad reality. This is based on appearing to be too compliant towards America when the chips are down.
Equally galling, is that the current administration in America under President Donald Trump is both unpredictable and somewhat disrespectful towards Japan despite the smiles of Abe. Modern Tokyo Times recently uttered, “… it is clear that President Donald Trump of America is treating Japan with little respect. This applies to recent developments between America and North Korea behind the back of Japan. Also, economic sanctions on Japan by America – while appearing more open to listening to other nations – are rendering Abe to be weak and compliant. Hence, Abe’s trip to meet Trump in America is already backfiring and this applies to looking ineffectual. Similarly, by agreeing to the anti-Russian Federation motives of G-7 nations under the auspices of America and the United Kingdom, then suddenly Japan is being viewed with suspicion once more.”
Japan is skeptical about the motives of North Korea because in the past you had possible political and military breakthroughs on the Korean Peninsula. Yet, both times it appeared that North Korea utilized the situation, in order to advance its military prowess and obtain economic benefits. Therefore, Japan is right to distrust the sincerity of North Korea.
Abe said, “Pyongyang used the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework and the 2005 joint statement of the six-party talks as a pretext to buy time and push forward its nuclear and missile development programs.”
It may well be that Japan is vindicated in the long-term despite this nation sincerely hoping that the political elites in Pyongyang are being honest. Despite this, the fact remains that Japan is an afterthought on the Korean Peninsula based on appearing to be compliant towards America. Similarly, the Russian Federation will continue to distrust Japan because of recent actions by this nation in rubber-stamping certain anti-Russian Federation nations inside the G-7. Therefore, the compliant nature of Japan towards America and not formulating a genuine friendship with the Russian Federation is based on its dealing with America.
Overall, until Japan acknowledges that its vested interests are also with China and the Russian Federation based on geopolitics, then the pro-America stance will continue to hinder this nation throughout Northeast Asia. Likewise, while America and China are important nations in solving the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, the same can’t be said of Japan because even the Trump administration did not consult Japan to the maximum. Hence, while Japan should maintain positive relations with America, this shouldn’t include being over compliant and succumbing to the corridors of power in Washington over important international events.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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