Japan-U.S. foreign ministerial talks shows Japan as subordinate to U.S. as before

Japanese Foreign Minister Tanaka Makiko on June 18 met with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington for their first talks. The meeting showed that even with a new foreign minister, Japan is as subordinate to the U.S. as before.

Akahata on June 20 said that the talks have again revealed how weak-kneed Japan's position is toward the U.S. This is in contrast to Foreign Minister Tanaka's somewhat outspoken misgivings about the U.S. national missile defense (NMD) initiative and other issues, Akahata said.

Tanaka confirmed the Japan-U.S. alliance as the principal axis of Japan's foreign policy and expressed the need to strengthen it.

On the questions of U.S. military bases in Okinawa, Tanaka failed to keep her promise to convey to the U.S. the demand that a 15-year limit be imposed on the new U.S. base to be constructed and that part of the U.S. Marines exercises be transferred to Guam or elsewhere. During the talks, she just asked the U.S. awkwardly if such possibilities exist. This is far removed from the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly resolution calling for the U.S. Marines to be reduced.

The U.S. side said that it will study the matter, evading a clear answer whether the possibility exists or not. The U.S. used the occasion to reiterate the need for the U.S. military presence and training in Okinawa.

On the U.S. missile defense initiative, Tanaka supported the plan, saying that it would contribute to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This amounts to Japan's understanding of and supports for the system. It also means helping to prevent the break-up of the Atlantic alliance which might happen as a result of the opposition to the missile defense initiative. (end)