Thursday, May 20, 2010

Given recent form of the Hatoyama government, don't get excited

Japan, Australia sign bilateral defense logistics agreement
Japan and Australia signed a bilateral defense logistics agreement Wednesday in Tokyo to strengthen security cooperation between the two nations.
Er, "defense"??

Not exactly. As that article goes on to reveal,
"The Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, signed by Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa and their Australian counterparts, would enable the two governments to provide food, water and medical services"
As BusinessWeek explains,
"The agreement follows talks that began in February and builds on the Australia-Japan Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation signed in March 2007 covering areas such as law enforcement, border security, counter-terrorism, disarmament, disaster relief and peacekeeping."
Indeed, BW particularly points out,
"The accord differs from the 1996 agreement Japan has with the U.S. that deals with the use of force and security in areas surrounding Japan, as well as goods and services, Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said at yesterday’s news conference."
Japan has dithered, procrastinated and all but disavowed the US 1996 agreement, only to waffle its way into something that resembles, but may not be, a capitulation over that one:

Japanese PM's Reversal on US Base May Have Political Cost
The U.S. Marine Corps Futenma air station on Okinawa has long been a target of protesters. A large city has grown around it over the past 50 years, and residents complain the base's aircraft are noisy and dangerous.

Okinawa hosts about half of the 49,000 U.S. troops in Japan, on several bases, as part of an alliance forged after World War II.

In 2006, after years of negotiations, the U.S. and Japan agreed to move Futenma to a coastal area in northern Okinawa, and to move about 8,000 other Marines to the U.S. island of Guam.

But Mr. Hatoyama's Democratic Party won a landslide victory last August, boosted partly by pledges to move Futenma entirely off Okinawa. He had promised a new plan for the base this month.

Tomohiko Taniguchi, adjunct political science professor at Japan's Keio University, says Mr. Hatoyama repeated the pledge "dozens of times," and has embarrassed himself by backtracking.

"It is none other than himself who dropped a huge stone on his own feet … he's made an absolute about face," said Taniguchi.
Japan's current Government obviously can't distinguish between "security" and "food, water and medical services". Perhaps, in a sort of Chamberlain-esque sense, Hatoyama's government figures humanitarian aid suffices for security arrangements.

If Guambat's comments have stomped on any geta, gomenasai.

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