Japan to Make “Clear Shift” Away From U.S.


Japan to Make “Clear Shift” Away From U.S.

How much longer is Japan going to be a U.S. ally?

Japan must break away from its unquestioning support of the United States, says a senior leader of the opposition party expected to take power by the end of the year.

The statement from Yukio Hatoyama, secretary general and founding member of the Democratic Party of Japan (dpj), came as polls showed the dpj has a major lead over the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

“Japan now needs to make a clear shift from diplomacy that follows the U.S. lead to diplomacy based on multilateral cooperation,” Hatoyama told a group of investors in Tokyo on Monday. “We must view the Asia-Pacific region, where we have increasingly close ties with other countries, as the place where Japan will live as a nation.”

Hatoyama accused previous governments of “virtually worship[ing] the United States in the belief that everything will be all right if Japan does whatever the United States does.” He said that Japan has “followed the U.S. subserviently in the past.” This would change under the dpj, he promised, saying that Japan would be just as likely to criticize the U.S. as praise it.

Hatoyama does believe Japan’s military alliance with America will continue, but he sees the U.S. taking on a smaller role in the world, predicting “the end of U.S.-led globalism.” He also said, “I expect to see the world move from the age of U.S. dominance to an age where power is spread across many countries.”

The dpj will probably rule Japan soon. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso’s approval ratings have sunk to 11 percent. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with both Hatoyama and the dpj’s leader, Ichiro Ozawa, when she visited Tokyo last week. This unusual move was clearly made because the U.S. believes the days of the current regime are numbered.

Japan’s days as a U.S. ally are also numbered. Watch for Japan to move further away from the U.S. and toward Asia, exactly as Hatoyama says it will.

For more information, read our article “America’s Loss—Asia’s Gain.”