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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 September 24 - 30  > Japanese prime minister uses his U.N. speech to preach about virtue of Japan-U.S. alliance
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2008 September 24 - 30 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Japanese prime minister uses his U.N. speech to preach about virtue of Japan-U.S. alliance

September 29, 2008
Japanese prime minister uses his U.N. speech to preach about virtue of Japan-U.S. alliance

Aso Taro delivered his first speech as Japanese prime minister at the United Nations General Assembly on September 25 (local time). It was an extraordinary statement that extolled the virtue of the Japan-U.S. military alliance, not of the United Nations, as the most important aspect of Japanese diplomacy.

Aso stated, “Japan has come a long way, with the Japan-U.S. alliance as an unchangeable cornerstone, while steadfastly enhancing relationships with neighboring Asian nations.” Although he went on to say, “Japan strongly emphasizes the importance of the United Nations,” he stopped short of referring to the raison d’etre and the role of the United Nations to enforce international law and work for peace and human dignity.

‘Unchangeable cornerstone’

The ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties on September 23 agreed to continue with their coalition government, stating that they will “develop a proactive diplomacy that puts emphasis on Asia with emphasis on a solid Japan-U.S. alliance while maintaining the principle that the United Nations should be given a central role.”

However, the fact of the matter is that Aso used his U.N. speech to emphasize the Japan-U.S. military alliance as the “unchangeable cornerstone” of Japanese diplomacy. This amounts to proclaiming that Japan’s emphasis on the United Nations and Asian diplomacy depends on the Japan-U.S. alliance.

What is more, he said, “I am determined to work in solidarity with countries holding fundamental values in common,” thus denying the concept of developing “dialogues between civilizations with different values”, a concept presently discussed and promoted in the United Nations.

Aso flew to New York immediately after taking office as the prime minister. The Japanese prime minister’s U.N.G.A. speech was the first by a Japanese prime minister in four years. However, many seats in the General Assembly hall were empty, and his speech reportedly elicited little reaction from the audience.

It is extraordinary for a Japanese prime minister to so candidly state in an U.N. policy speech that the Japan-U.S. military alliance is the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy. Even former Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichiro, who praised the Japan-U.S. alliance, focused on the United Nations and its reform in his speech in 2004 without referring to the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Aso’s U.N. speech can be seen against the background of his perverted view that the Japan-U.S. military alliance is of absolute necessity. He defines the Japan-U.S. alliance, which was founded by his grandfather and ex-Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru, as an asset shared by Asia and the rest of the world. He says that Japan should no longer be a follower of the United States and that the two countries should jointly be in charge (Aso Taro, Arc of Freedom and Prosperity, 2007).

At U.S. beck and call

This is the position from which Aso at the U.N. referred to the Japanese Self-Defense Forces’ refueling operation in the Indian Ocean to assist in the U.S.-led war of retaliation against terrorism. In defiance of the Japanese people’s and opposition parties’ strong objections, Aso internationally pledged to continue the fuelling mission, saying that Japan would “stand side by side with the international community and participate proactively in the fight against terrorism.”

Japan has squandered tax money to deploy the Self-Defense Forces to assist in the U.S. war. Clearly, this represents extent of the extraordinary subservience to the United States under the Japan-U.S. military alliance. Prime Minister Aso is thus extolling the Japan-U.S. alliance only to reveal another example of the extent to which the LDP government is in a no-way-out situation.
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