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Joint statement for deeper Japan-US alliance not made

Prime Minister Kan Naoto and U.S. President Barack Obama in a Japan-U.S. summit meeting in Yokohama on November 13 agreed to set out a common vision toward a deeper Japan-U.S. alliance by the spring of 2011, but decided not to publish it in the form of a joint declaration.

In their original plan, a joint declaration was to be published at the 2010 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation on the 50th anniversary of the revised Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

Currently, Japan and the United States are attempting to promptly implement the plan to transfer the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa within the prefecture, but the majority of Okinawans are opposed to any transfer in Okinawa.

Kan and Obama are also intending to extend a special arrangement on Japan's "sympathy budget" for the U.S. forces in Japan, which is scheduled to expire next March, but a growing number of people are objecting to the generous budget for U.S. troops amid Japan's fiscal difficulties.

This is the background that forced the two to give up publishing any joint declaration at the latest Japan-U.S. summit.

On the U.S. military realignment in Okinawa, however, Kan still expressed the intention to act based on the Japan-U.S. agreement of May 28, 2010 to relocate the Futenma base within the prefecture. This defies the wishes of the people of Okinawa who are now gearing up for the gubernatorial election with the base transfer as a major issue.

Kan is using China's response to the disputed Senkaku Islands as a pretext for a deeper and closer Japan-U.S. alliance.

Unless Japan shifts its policy from trying to replace its fragile diplomacy with military strength based on the Japan-U.S. alliance, it is not possible to create an environment of peace in northeast Asia.

The latest Japan-U.S. summit shows that the two governments are persisting to make the alliance deeper, although their attempt is backfiring due to people's criticism and resistance.

- Akahata, November 14, 2010

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