Sunday, June 13, 2010

Japan-U.S. relations cry out for new management, dialogue

The Japan Times published an op-ed written by Kazuo Ogoura, a former Japanese diplomat, on June 13, 2010. According to him, the rise of China was not only reshaping the world, it was also reshaping the relationship between Japan and America.

“Vaguely but perceptively, many Japanese have begun to sense the long-term strategic differences vis-à-vis China, which may have already arisen or potentially will arise between Japan and the U.S.,” said Ogoura.

In the future, Ogoura hinted that Japan might prioritize its policies on education, welfare, and the environment over the alliance with America.

To deal with all these issues, Ogoura argued that the alliance between Japan needed new management and new forums to communicate.

In the past, a group of experts managed the relationship between Japan and America behind the scenes. Today, however, Japan and America should solve their problems in a more transparent way, according to him.

“It is indeed deplorable that two democratic nations that are supposed to share fundamental values of human rights should not have a deeper, wider and more farsighted dialogue between various layers of society,” said Ogoura.

To deal with the situation, Ogoura proposed creating two new discussion forums. He wanted a forum in which a group of experts from both sides would meet and talk “boldly and frankly” about the alliance. He also wanted an “action-oriented intellectual citizen-to-citizen dialogue.”

I’m not sure Ogoura had me in mind when he wrote this article, but I’m pretty sure that America did.

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