US

Editorial – Time for Japan to grow up

If we exclude communists and socialists, the people who oppose the right to exercise collective self-defense do not want to leave Japan unprotected. They just want for the things to stay the same – so that America would continue to protect Japan as it always did and Japan will stay as a nonchalant child protected by the parents unaware and not caring about what is going on in this cruel world of adults – just playing in her favorite sandbox.

Indeed a childish way of thinking – let someone else to take care of their security. Such people just want for America to take all the burden so that it would continue with its role as world’s policeman while they can go about their own day-to-day business without even thinking that they are being protected by a third country.

One little problem is that America does not want to continue to be world’s policeman any longer. Its defense budget has been significantly cut, having discovered technology to obtain shale oil and gas within its own territory, America is no longer interested that much in the Middle East. American economy is growing and money starting to flow back into America. The same can be said about businesses – domestic energy supplies became available at reasonable prices for companies to go back where the qualified human resources are.

US is looking inwards now. Even with Obama’s ‘power shift’ towards Asia it can be hardly imagined that America will be involved in Asia as closely as it was involved with Middle East. This means that it is a must for Japan to grow up and take care of its security by itself. The first step towards this is approval for the right to exercise collective self-defense.

by naokawa

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Exclusive interview with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

PM Abe gave an exclusive interview to “Evening Fuji”.

– Can you tell us about the results of president Obama’s visit?
The situation with security assurance in Asia is changing. China is getting stronger in both military and economy and tries to change the current situation in the East and South China Sea by force. ASEAN countries are very concerned. President Obama and myself confirmed that Japan-US alliance has the utmost responsibility to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Our views that the change of current situation by force in unacceptable have fully coincide. In the joint statement we mentioned that the Senkaku Islands fall within clause five of the Japan-US Security Treaty. Also, it was mentioned that America supports and welcomes Japan deliberating on the right to exercise collective self-defense. This is a groundbreaking achievement.

– During talks between the leaders of Japan and America China was conducting unauthorized surveillance in the Japan’s exclusive economic zone near the Kume Island.
Japan did not give permission for any scientific surveillance. On the ground patrol vessels of Japan Coast Guard and airplanes are requesting China to stop. Using diplomatic channels we are requesting Chinese government every day to explain what they are investigating and stop the surveillance at once. We are firmly exercising our right of sovereignty.

– Will the joint statement serve to further the discussion on the right to exercise collective self-defense?
We are discussing the right for collective self-defense solely in the context of contributing to peace and stability of our country. The key to this is Japan-US alliance and America, our ally, says that it welcomes and supports our right to exercise collective self-defense. It will make our alliance even stronger.

– What was the atmosphere at the “sushi party”?
Basically president Obama likes to talk about work, but we did not talk about the work out of the blue. When we entered Sukiyabashi Jiro place in Ginza, Tokyo, president was very happy: “I always wanted to come here.” At the entrance there was a picture of Mickey Mouse eating sushi, and I explained jokingly: “Walt Disney CEO presented this when he visited this place. It is not copyright infringement.” President laughed.

– So it was very relaxed?
We were eagerly talking about golf. President Obama asked: “Do you play golf these days?”, and I answered: “I am so busy that I do not have time. My score has fallen since I have become the PM.” President asked: “How quick you can finish the course?”, I answered: “In 15 handicaps.” President replied: “I need 18. Let’s play together in Japan some time.” Then he asked: “Do you have good golf courses in Japan?”, I replied proudly: “Sure, we have as many as there are stars in the sky”.

– Can we expect golf talks between Japan and US at the highest level?
Yes, if there is a chance.

– Regarding TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), it was decided to continue consultations.
There is a big economic framework to be formed in Asia-Pacific. It is not only about access to markets, it is also about creating the new rules. It is a new economic zone of 21st century. It is a far-sighted policy for our country that will be led by Japan and US, the countries that have the same values like “liberal democracy” and “basic human rights”. It will benefit not only two our countries, but all countries in the region. Here we also have absolutely similar position with president Obama.

– I see.
That reminds me, president Obama said: “On the way from Haneda airport to Sukiyabashi Jiro I have seen no Ford or GM cars. This is the only country where I observe such a situation.” I replied: “No, it is not like it. We have a lot of BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars”. I explained that Japan is an open economy.

– Agreement is near?
It is difficult to create the path for reaching an agreement in order to come to joint understanding in diplomatic negotiations. This time we have succeeded in creating this path.

– Do you feel that the distance between you and Korea’s president Park Geun-hye has shortened after the joint Japan-US-Korea talks in Hague, Netherlands?
The foremost is sense of trust between people. I will start with talking about the common subjects. At the moment we have a danger from North Korea in the North-Eastern Asia. We share a common understanding with president Park that “this problem is to be worked on by all three countries and it is leaders’ duty to overcome this danger.” In this sense I am very pleased that thanks to president Obama we could have talks at the highest level between Japan, US and Korea.

– How would you confront the issue of certain countries trying to slander Japan and Japanese people?
It is important to properly answer to any baseless and unjustified criticism. I am already doing so. But Japanese people should be more sure of themselves. Recently we conducted attitude survey in all ASEAN countries and found out that Japan has retaken the first place as the most trustworthy country. Even in EU we are number two after America. Japan is enjoying unshakable trust and confidence from other countries.

– What about the consequences of consumption tax raise?
I think those are still to come. Fortunately, many companies agreed to raise wages from April. According to the latest research the average monthly wage increased 6200 yen, which is the highest number in ten years. Then we spend 5.5 trillion yen on economic stimulus and 1 trillion yen on taxation policy, and these spendings were efficient. We are following the state of economy closely and if there is a change, we will act quick. We must not miss our chance to get rid of deflation.

– In June soccer World Cup is to begin in Brazil. Who will you be paying attention to?
I think it will be Keisuke Honda (Serie A club Milan). Players of such class can be badly criticized in foreign media, but I would like him not to pay much attention to it and give his best.

– If Japan is to go to finals, will you go to Brazil to support the team?
I remember that Germany PM Gerhard Schroeder hurriedly coming to Japan for 2002 World Cup finals in Tokyo. If Japan is to go to finals, I would like to go. But it is so far away… (laughs).

– Young Japanese athletes are also working hard ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Minami Katsu (high school freshmen in Kagosima) became the youngest winner of the home tour of KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open, and she is only fifteen.
In ladies golf the competition is very high, so this win is very valuable. I have hopes for her in the future. She ate Japanese rice balls during the play. It was not banana, which is very heartwarming. I also like the episode when she was saying that her grandfather taught golf to her. It is six years until the Olympics. Seeing the young generation having the goal make me feel excited as well.

– What book would you read during the golden week holidays?
I think it would be historical mystery “Kuroshoin no Rokubei” by Jiro Asada. I have only started it recently.

– What kind of music do you like?
I am into classics lately. It helps me to relax. Schubert, Haydn. When I am at home reading books or working with documents I listen to classics. Oh, and I also listen to it when sitting in a massage chair in the official residence. I close my eyes and become sleepy.

– Is there a massage chair in the official residence?
When I was the PM for the first time there was not one. But now there is a great model that can massage your legs too. Perhaps someone (one of the five previous PMs) left it there…

– I believe you will be busy visiting Europe during golden week holidays. If you had one free week, how would you spend it?
I would probably do nothing. Reading books. And golf too. I would refresh myself preparing for my next official duty.

Source
http://www.zakzak.co.jp/society/politics/news/20140507/plt1405071130002-n1.htm

Editorial – China and Russia to conduct military exercises near Japan’s borders

It looks like Russia made it choice to confront the West till the bitter end for itself. There is another bell rang for Japan that is a part of the West.

Russia is to take part in the Chinese military exercises in the East China Sea quite close to the Japanese Senkaku Islands (Okinawa pref.). The exercises are to take place at the end of May while Vladimir Putin is visiting China. At the same time the Russian gas monopoly “Gazprom” is planning to conclude the long negotiated contract to supply China with 38 billion square cubes of gas every year during 30 years. China was not happy about the price so far, and Russia in its current situation of international isolation most likely gave in to China’s demands and lowered the price.

The joint China-Russia military exercises “Joint Sea-2014” are to take place for the third time but it is the first time that the exercises are taking place so close to Japan’s territory.

The motives for both China and Russia are very obvious. China has long been trying to get Russia to support its position on Senkakus. So far Russia was negative about supporting China openly. When Obama during his visit to Japan reaffirmed that Senkaku Islands are protected by the US under the Japan-US Security Treaty, China was actively protesting. It may be understood that China doubled its efforts to win over Russia.

On the other hand for Russia the situation of international isolation over interference with the Ukraine’s domestic affairs became imminent. Now Russia needs China much more than China needs Russia. Russia certainly wants to show off to America and the West that the sanctions imposed on it are not working and that Russia will be perfectly fine shifting its stagnating economy to cater for China.

Both China and Russia are out there to wipe America’s eye. For China it is more pragmatic thing of the moment that they try to turn to their advantage. For Russia it is an emotional gung-ho thing, almost a drug that helps them to forget the societal meltdown most people live in. No doubt that China will have an upper hand in this ‘cooperation’. Not only it would get the lower gas prices, but most likely also some support on Senkakus and cheaper weapons from Russia.

Japan so far was very much lenient on sanctions over Ukraine against Russia. And it was despite the continuous intended provocations by Russian planes near Japanese borders. The only real sanctions announced were visa refusal for some 23 government officials. There was even no mentioning about asset freezing for those 23. The minor things like stopping negotiations on visa issuing facilitation and so on do not count at all. This might mean that PM Shinzo Abe still hopes to further the Northern Territories negotiations with Putin. Such hopes are futile in my view.

It is time for PM Abe to realize that some sort of China-Russia alliance be it disclosed or not, will happen, and treat Russia accordingly – not as an equal partner, but as a potential enemy.

by naokawa

Obama’s visit to Japan and the situation in Ukraine on Shinso news

The guests on “Shinso news” program on BS Nittere are
Tsuneo Watanabe of The Tokyo Foundation specializing in international relations, security policy and Japan-US, US-China relations
Yoko Hirose of Keio University researching former Soviet Union regional conflicts and the Caucasus region

The theme is “Obama’s visit to Japan and the situation in Ukraine”.

Obama’s visit to Japan

Watanabe
Obama’s administration is weak. Everybody says this. He is saying about Asia being priority, but you cannot really feel it. So TPP is the only thing left for Obama. If Japan and US cannot agree now, there is little possibility for the agreement to come into power during Obama’s term.

Hirose
Both America and Japan have their own agendas so both countries will be trying to find common points and common interests.

Senkaku Defense

Watanabe
Senkaku is important for Japan, but not that important for America. This is the difference. For America situation in Russia and Ukraine is more important. But PM Abe does not want to go strong against Russia. At the same time America does not want to confront China. American people now concentrated on the internal affairs and America cannot and does not want to be as active on the international arena as it used to be.

Situation in Ukraine

Watanabe
America is definitely considering further sanctions, but since Obama has already ruled out direct military involvement economic sanctions is the only way left. But I do not really think that America will go all the way through with the sanctions. America depends on Russia on Iran issue and Afghanistan operations.

Hirose
I think the harsh reaction from Europe and America was a bit of a surprise for Putin, and Russia is carefully considering its further actions in Ukraine.

Watanabe
I do not believe Russia wants to occupy the eastern Ukraine, but it may be forced into the situation, so that it would have to do so.

Hirose
I think that the situation is definitely escalating in the east but not in other areas. In other areas people are living their normal lives. However, we can also see now that in the eastern Ukraine more people are starting to oppose the Russia’s overbearing attitude.

Watanabe
I think that Russians do not want military intervention into the eastern Ukraine. This can be seen from polls. Then, should this really happen Obama will have to impose further sanctions on Russia. These sanctions will be very damaging for the Russian economy. So Russia is not very keen on the intrusion idea either.

Hirose
The situation in Crimes is different from that in the eastern Ukraine. Historically Crimea was very close to Russia, and was indeed a part of it, but during the Soviet era Crimea peninsula was ‘presented’ to Ukraine by the Soviet Union rulers. Eastern Ukraine is also close to Russia economically and culturally, but it has never been a part of Russian republic. There are fewer Russian speaking people on the east than it is in Crimea. And then Russia just will not be able to bear the cost of eastern Crimea occupation. From the economy point of view it will be very difficult for Russia to do so.
The idea of federalization of Ukraine pushed by Russia would actually split Ukraine as it contains a clause where the Ukrainian regions would be able to conduct their own foreign affairs independently of the Ukrainian state.

Watanabe
For Russia Ukraine is a buffer zone between it and NATO countries. At the same time Europe does not want Ukraine that much because it is the poorest country in Europe now. America also does not want to be actively involved and invite Ukraine to NATO because Russia is very sensitive about the issue. For example, Finland, another country bordering Russia, is not a part of NATO. So many parties want for the Ukraine to stay as it is politically. But international relations are difficult and may not be logical at times.

Hirose
Many experts think that Ukraine should not join any military blocks like NATO and should remain a neutral country because it is historically close to both Russia and Europe.

Watanabe
The next step for the US to punish Russia would be economic sanctions. Heavy sanctions. Up to now the sanctions were very easy on Russia. One may expect that the sanctions would be increasing to that of imposed on Iran.

Hirose
Russia has its opinion about how the international relations should be. Russia thinks that Europe and America will not go strong because Europe depends on Russia for natural resources.

What should Japan do about the situation in Ukraine

Watanabe
It is a difficult choice for Japan. Japan wants to maintain good relations with Russia because of energy and wants to win over better price for the natural gas, some of which is being imported from Russia. Then Japan needs help from various countries against China. Keeping America a priority PM Abe does not want for the Japan-Russia relations to worsen. But America also is not interested to aggravate relations with Russia very much. And both Japan and US do not want for Russia and China to get together.

Hirose
Russia now is quite isolated internationally. Japan is supporting the sanctions against Russia. But among the G7 countries Japan’s sanctions are the lightest. I think Russia appreciates this.

Source
http://www.bs4.jp/shinsou/

Comment by naokawa
Does Russia really appreciate Japan being that generous? I don’t think so.

Japanese and American parliamentary groups exchanged opinions about Senkakus and TPP

The non-partisan Japan-US parliament members group (chairman Hirofumi Nakasone) on Apr 22 held a meeting with the US Lower House parliamentary group visiting Japan led by the majority leader Eric Cantor (Rep.). Japan parliament members expressed concerns over China continuously infringing Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands (Okinawa pref.) and relayed Japan side’s request for the US President Obama to reaffirm that the Senkaku Islands fall within the Japan-US Security Treaty.

Speaking about Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) American parliament members stated that if Japan and America are to create common rules together, it would help to apply pressure on China, which is trying to force its own rules upon other countries.

American parliamentary group left Japan on the afternoon of Apr 22 and is set to visit South Korea and China.

Source
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/140422/stt14042212080003-n1.htm

Xi Jinping wants America to give up on the Senkaku Islands

Xi Jinping wants America to give up on the Senkaku Islands

Obama is to visit Japan on Apr 23~25 as a state guest. PM Shinzo Abe’s goal is to reaffirm the Japan-US alliance that is in charge of peace and stability in the Pacific region. On the other hand China’s president Xi Jinping in order to avoid public criticism over the China’s stagnating economy is picking up its anti-Japan stance targeting the Senkaku Islands (Okinawa pref.). China is reconciling with America using its “Liaoning” aircraft carrier, turning its gas mining installation in the Eastern China Sea into a military facility… What kind of trump card China is holding against the US. Journalist Koei Kaga reports the shocking news.

In November last year American Defense Secretary Hagel criticizing China’s move of establishing the preposterous air defense identification zone said this: “(If a clash over the Senkaku Islands occur between Japan and China) America will protect its ally, Japan”.

Answering to this China’s Defense minister Chang Wanquan went pale and threatened like: “Japan (stealing the Senkakus) is creating problems in the Easter China sea”, “In order to protect China’s territory, we will (fight Japan and) use military power. We will win this fight!”.

The meetings between the American and Chinese defense ministries was held in Beijing on Apr 8. We can say it again – the Senkaku Islands is Japan territory. China is ignoring the international law trying to unilaterally pursue its national interests. We can only say: “Shame on you. Come off it!”

But… Please calm down and read on. There are some scary things going on.

On January last year Xi Jinping addressing People’s Liberation Army of China ordered: “Prepare for war”. And the next year before the “70th anniversary of defeating Japan” he started his crazy strategy of taking over the Senkaku Islands.

Below is the information obtained from multiple source in Pentagon and the US government circles.

“Xi Jinping is trying to make a secret deal with Russia – ‘We will support Russia on Ukraine and Russia will support China on Senkaku’. China is trying to give a share to the US”.

“On the day before the American and Chinese defense ministries meeting (Apr 7) China made Hagel and the others inspect the first Chinese aircraft carrier “Liaoning”. As expected it was a total sham ship. But the surprise thing is that the captain and the others talked openly about this. They were all saying ‘We want to learn from America’. China is seriously thinking that it is able to reconcile with America”.

US government officials reckons China’s goals to be the following: “This year, in addition to the project of occupying the Senkaku Islands China has another agenda – wipe out all Japanese navy in the vicinity of Senkakus and aim for a blitzkrieg of fait accompli. China’s goal is to make America refrain from military intervention and make it act the way it acted in Syria and Ukraine”.

China’s plot is being promoted in Japan as well. Foreign affairs police official says the following: “The politicians affiliated with China continue with their ‘bring PM Abe down scheming’. But recently China has started to secretly buying Japanese enterprises engaged with Japan’s security. Some suspicious buildings that serve as bases for the Chinese agents are being discovered near the JSDF bases. Our intelligence is shocked at such huge scale.”

“Starting from the beginning of this year we are observing disturbing movements of China in the East China Sea on the intermediate line between Japan and China. It looks like they are rebuilding its gas mining installation into a military base. We are very concerned about this. It is very close to Senkaku. If a Chinese military base is to be formed here, it would be very alarming. The entire Okinawa would be in danger.”

As you know Xi Jinping’s administration is facing a severe crisis. China’s economy is on the brink of bankruptcy. Acts of terror undermine the stability. The very base of the regime is being put to test. In order to avert attention from its own mistakes outwards China is desperate to steal the Senkakus.

Hagel’s statement is important, but can Japan really rely on America? An American informed source residing in Beijing says this: “The weak stance of Obama’s diplomacy has been known all over the world. But with China it is especially weak. Why? It is not only about economy. Barack Obama’s half-brother Mark Obama Ndesandjo is living a luxurious life in China. He is a hostage per se. Could it be that this is the reason Obama cannot be more proactive..?”.

It is unlikely that the American President would act out of personal circumstances…

Be it one way or another Obama is coming to Japan next week.

PM Abe has several issues to be addressed like TPP and the North Korea. But the most important task for him and Obama is to show to the world the solid Japan-US alliance. China is serious. We do not have a second to waste.

Source
http://www.zakzak.co.jp/society/foreign/news/20140417/frn1404170830001-n1.htm

The doubtful safety of the US nuclear umbrella

American Defense Secretary Hagel during his last visit to Japan “supported” the right to collective self-defense promoted my PM Abe and reaffirmed that the Senkaku Islands from the US point of view are administrated by Japan and fall under Japan-US Security Treaty.

With China getting militarized year by year it is definitely a good news. On the other hand, US Secretary of State John Kerry thinks that US diplomacy task is to stop Japan from trying to develop its own nuclear weapons. For Japan that is being protected by the American nuclear umbrella it is time to re-think its nuclear strategy.

There is an understanding in America that both Japan and Korea feel a threat from North Korea developing its nuclear missiles and this could lead both countries to start developing its own nuclear weapons. It seems that America is afraid of Japan starting to develop its own nuclear weapons.

Japan’s policy at the moment is not to develop, not to possess, not to import nuclear weapons. It fully relies to US protection. If Japan is to be attacked with nuclear weapons by China or North Korea it will not be able to protect itself and will not be able to retaliate. Instead the US will take up this role.

The basis for this approach is assurance that America will certainly retaliate with nuclear weapons. However, this assurance is not that sure. Japan at the official meetings is trying to make the American government officials to speak up about protecting Japan so that this “assurance” could be once again broadcasted to both Japan citizens and the rest of the world. But the times when America’s nuclear umbrella had overwhelming power are now gone. Now China has nuclear weapons and the North is developing it. American nuclear umbrella may not be that much of assurance any more.

Obama’s administration is aiming at “the world without nuclear weapons”. Possessing nuclear weapons costs a lot, then there is a risk of terrorist organizations like Al Quaeda acquiring nuclear weapons. So it may be understandable that America is revising its nuclear strategy. But can Japan really embrace it?

China is already a threat. It is not only aiming at supremacy in air and sea but is also deploying its submarines in the East China Sea and South China Sea. Nuclear missiles from these submarines can reach the mainland US. The North Korea also proclaims to hold “the new type of nuclear tests”. Basically the nuclear weapons situation around Japan is worsening day by day.

Japanese government welcomes Hagel’s commitment to protect Japan, but can we be content with this? While China can target New York and Washington DC, will America really stand for Japan and retaliate with nuclear weapons? Will Obama, who is proclaiming “the world without nuclear weapons” be able to actually use it? How far the situation should go before the US decides to use its nuclear weapons? The former Defense Minister official points out that it is the time for Japan and America to seriously discuss the nuclear strategy.

by naokawa & source
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/140414/plc14041409210002-n1.htm

Jitsuro Terashima on BS Nittere TV – Japan-US relations

Jitsuro Terashima, the president of Japan Research Institute appeared on BS Nittere TV in the “Shinsou News” program.

Theme
Troubled America and Japan-US relations

How Obama is being viewed in the US?
I am back from the US just recently. It is clear that America is getting weak. Different countries in the world, like in Africa, for example, speak up and America has to deal with it. For the US it is very difficult to be on top of what is happening around the world.
Obama had some success with taming the Wall street and with exercising the US new foreign policy, but it is his last term, there will be no another Obama administration.
Americans believe the America is still the strongest country in the world, but the reality is different. There have been successive failures in Georgia, Ukraine, on the Middle East.
On the other hand, American economy is definitely recovering. One reason for this is the shale gas revolution. America now is the top gas-producing country in the world. And we must also remember about the shale oil as well.
IT revolution in America has entered the second stage with cloud technologies. Unemployment rate is mere 6.7%. That is why foreign affairs are not that important to the US right now. It is occupied with itself.

In the past 70% of the America energy needs was coming from the Middle east. But the modern technologies made shale oil and gas easier to get. The US does not depend on the Middle East the way it used to. It does not need to send the troops around the world and take unnecessary risks.
I would say that Asia and Pacific is more important to the US now.

On Apr 24 Japan-US talks are scheduled where the TPP is to become the main topic.
The views on TPP is different in Japan and US. It is becoming more and more the talks just between two countries: Japan and US. For Japan keeping taxes on the five items is important. This was brought to Obama’s attention last year. But during the most recent talks America has completely forgot about this and is now set to ignore Japan’s request. I think that proper preparations should have been made before we entered the TPP talks. For Japan it is all about agriculture and how to protect it. There should not be any imbalance between industry and agriculture. TPP makes industry happy and agriculture unhappy. However the industrial technological achievements should be applied in agriculture so that it could benefit from TPP as well.

Does Obama want the progress on TPP before the mid-term elections in the US?
Definitely. The recent Japan-Australia trade agreement is also aimed at breaking the stalemate with Japan-US TPP talks showing how the real progress can be made.

US-China close relations
For America both China and Japan is important. Xi Jinping administration moves actively to strengthen the economic ties with the US. China wants the China-US relations to be the relations of equal super-powers. The US will have to deal with it.
For Japan it is important to decrease its dependence on the US. We cannot hope much that the US will be helping Japan against China. If China is to occupy the Senkaku Islands, Japan should realize that the US would not necessarily act actively to protect Japan. America will not fight China directly and would rather call for negotiations between the two sides. I think the situation that Japan is in is very similar to the one of Israel. America does not want to be dragged into the affairs around Israel in the Middle East, equally it does not want conflict with China over Senkaku. Japan-US alliance is about deterring, and not about the real execution.

The right to exercise collective self-defense that PM Abe is pushing forward
American Defense Secretary Hagel is not more supportive of it, but we should think is America really happy about Japan trying to establish this right to exercise collective self-defense? The perspective of both countries might be different. For Japan it is responsibility to help its biggest ally. But the US might think that Japan was already helping out in Iraq without any extra declaration, so why would they need this collective self-defense? US might be seeing this as Japan trying to drag it into its regional conflicts with China. America would not want it.

US-Russia relations
The ongoing situation in Ukraine is a big factor. America now should consider how to deal with Russia in the future. Russia’s weak point is oil and gas exports. It heavily depends on those. After collapse of the Soviet Union Russia could only survive because the oil prices jumped over four times.
Japan’s dependence on Russia for energy is about 10%. But the US does not depend on the Russian oil or gas. During the G7 meeting the energy sanctions on Russia have been discussed. What will Japan do should the energy sanctions come into play? Of course as a member of G7 Japan will align its policy, but if the US would impose its own energy sanctions on Russia, how Japan should react? It is rather difficult question.
All other sanctions like visa restrictions on the high officials and assets freezing have already come into play and had little effect. Obama declared himself that military intervention of out of the question. So the only thing left on the table is the energy sanctions.
Considering the future relations with Russia for Japan the choice would be rather difficult.

Source:
http://www.bs4.jp/shinsou

by naokawa

America warns of intrusion, calls China for self-restraint, reaffirms position on Senkaku

US Defense Secretary Hagel visited Japan and China in succession reaffirming US readiness to protect the Senkaku Islands. On one hand Hagel wants to reassure Japan, which is worried if the US would help in emergency situation. On the other hand this is a move to ward off China that shows all signs that it is ready to intervene.

On Apr 8 giving a speech in a university in Beijing Hagel said: “Pacific is becoming the most militarized part of the world. The risk of fatal conflict is getting higher”. During joint press-conference after negotiations with China’s Minister of Defense Chang Wanquan on Apr 8 Hagel underlined that the Senkaku Islands are a part of the clause five of Japan-US Security Treaty and affirmed US intention to protect Japan.

On Arp 6 Hagel held talks in Tokyo with Japan’s Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera and both sides reaffirmed that they oppose any attempts to change the status quo by force. By directly showing the strength of Japan-US alliance Hagel’s aim was to warn China against any provocative actions. Political circles in both Japan and the US note the “Bold messages” for China made by Hagel during his visit to both countries.

Source
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/140409/plc14040919035004-n1.htm

Right of collective defense would apply if Japan is in danger – LDP’s Shigeru Ishiba

Today in the “Shinsou news” program on BS Nittere TV LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba speaking about the right to exercise collective self-defense drew a clear line between exercising this right when Japan itself is in immediate danger and when the other country is in danger.

There was a specific example presented by the hosts of the program. A US warship is being attacked by North Korea, Japan warship is nearby. Exercising the right of collective self-defense, will Japan be allowed by the law to help the US warship?

Ishiba introduced even more details in this example. He said that if the US warship is fighting the North Korea in order to protect Japan, then the right to exercise collective self-defense certainly applies because Japan is in immediate danger and the US is fighting for it.

Another case, he said, if, for example, US is in the process of fighting North Korea in order to protect the South, then there is a whole different issue, and Japan will have to deliberate whether Japan in immediate danger or not. Only if it is obvious that after the South Korea is down North Korea will move forward to attack Japan, Japan should exercise the right for collective self-defense. And should the South Korea ask for help directly, Japan will consider and most likely accept the request.

by naokawa