Japan and France Pledge Allegiance
Japan hosted the French and American armies in ground military exercises on May 11. Some exercises included simulations of island defense and ship interception. The drills, in Nagasaki Prefecture’s Camp Ainoura, were scheduled to last a week. Camp Ainoura is the headquarters of Japan’s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. Other exercises took place in Kirishima Training Ground in Kyushu, as well as offshore. This was the first time the three countries had such high-level military exercises together.
Large-scale military exercises between the United States and Japan is nothing new. Washington and Tokyo are military allies. The U.S. has promised to defend Japan if it is ever attacked. Considering Japan is a only boat ride away from China, Russia and North Korea—all American adversaries—this makes sense.
But how did France get involved?
While other European powers like Spain and Germany lost their colonial empires long ago, France has hung onto a few of its overseas possessions. These include the island of New Caledonia east of Australia, French Polynesia in the South Pacific, the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, and others. These French islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans have over 1.5 million people. Because of this, France considers itself an Indo-Pacific power. It has interests in what happens in that part of the world.
Tokyo, while no military lightweight, is nervous about some of its neighbors’ behavior. Nuclear North Korea is just as dangerous and unpredictable as it has ever been. China is busy gobbling up other nations’ islands and arbitrarily redrawing maritime borders. Russia’s military drills continue to put Japan on edge.
Because of this, Japan has been scrambling to find military partners. It has agreements already with India, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Japan and France are both democracies with strong militaries, strong economies and strong international influence. It makes sense for Japan to want France as a regional partner.
“France shares the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. “By strengthening cooperation between Japan, the United States and France, we’d like to further improve tactics and skills of the Self-Defense Forces in defending remote island territories.”
But what is France’s stake in this?
Many view the latest military exercises as a way to counter China’s island annexations. But none of France’s overseas regions are anywhere near China. China recently overtook America to become the European Union’s largest trade partner. Why would France bother involving itself in a military confrontation with a nuclear superpower when it doesn’t have to?
Japan isn’t the only Asian country France has been making military overtures to. France also has an “amphibious ready group” on a six-month tour to Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
“This is not just a training mission, but a true operational deployment that is a part of France’s defense strategy in the Indo-Pacific,” read a statement from France’s Defense Ministry. “This strategy intends to reaffirm France’s interest in this zone through a strengthened presence and intensified bilateral and regional cooperation activities.”
Ever since his election, French President Emmanuel Macron has been fighting to restore France as one of the great powers of the world. He’s spearheaded the EU’s fight against Islamic terrorism. He’s held a naval standoff against Turkey to protect the interests of fellow EU member Greece. After the August 2020 Beirut blast, he’s had oversized influence in Lebanon’s government.
These policies involve countries in France’s backyard. But France used to have an empire that stretched around the world. Perhaps Macron is trying to bring back some of that French influence and prestige in Asia.
“New Caledonia and French Polynesia are part of the French territory, with French troops stationed there,” said France’s chief of naval staff, Pierre Vandlier. “The nations of the Indo-Pacific are our neighbors. The stationing of our troops is for the purpose of securing the presence of France and the safety of our exclusive economic zone in the region.”
The Bible prophesies that Europe and Asia will intertwine their affairs heavily in the near future. While France and Japan may be helping each other militarily right now, you can expect much more economic cooperation as well.
A prophecy in Isaiah 23 reads: “The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them. Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished. And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue; and she is a mart of nations” (verses 1-3). Different translations render verse 3 as “a marketplace for the nations” (New King James Version) and “the merchant of the nations” (Revised Standard Version).
This is discussing a super-alliance of various nationalities to form one giant economic bloc. But there are no countries called “Tarshish” or “Chittim” today. Who do these names represent?
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry identifies “Tyre” as a united Europe in his free booklet Isaiah’s End-Time Vision: “The spiritual center of [Europe] is called Babylon in your Bible (Revelation 17:5; 18:1-3). But here in Isaiah, the Bible refers to Tyre (and its allies Zidon, etc) as the commercial center of this European power. By understanding the spiritual and the commercial powers, you can understand what a colossus is rising in Europe.”
Herbert W. Armstrong, editor in chief of our predecessor magazine, the Plain Truth, wrote about Tyre in his free book Mystery of the Ages: “It was the commercial metropolis of the ancient world, even as Babylon was the political capital. Tyre was the New York, the London, the Tokyo, or the Paris of the ancient world. The ancient Tyre, port of the world’s shippers and merchants, gloried herself in her beauty, even as Paris in our time.”
What about Tarshish? Mr. Flurry continues: “Herbert W. Armstrong’s Ambassador College taught over 40 years ago that Tarshish is Japan in Bible prophecy for today. So this verse is referring to the supertanker fleet of Japan. Even in 1980, you could see one of these tankers every 25 miles on the high seas. The Japanese are the inhabitants of the ‘isle,’ or island, of Japan.”
Put this together, and it means that Europe and Japan (as well as other Asian countries) will create a giant economic power bloc that will transform world commerce.
One may think that an economic alliance between Japan, France and other liberal democracies would be a good thing for Western countries like the United States. After all, strengthening the capitalist countries against a common enemy seems to be in America’s interests.
But as Mr. Flurry warns, this won’t be good news in the long run—especially for America and the British Commonwealth.
Order your free copy of Isaiah’s End-Time Vision to learn why.