Japan’s Reorientation

The recent election broke a 50-year pattern. The effects are already rippling through Asia and across the Pacific.
From the November 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

For over 50 years, one party ruled Japan virtually uninterrupted. During that time, Tokyo remained a dependable supporter of U.S. policy. In September, a historic event took place: Japan elected new leadership.

In a landslide victory, a new party did the seemingly impossible. A new freshman class of leaders now governs the Land of the Rising Sun. The effects are already rippling through Asia and across the Pacific.

Economic Independence

Yukio Hatoyama is Japan’s new leader. He is threatening to split with the United States.

Hatoyama blames America for the global economic crisis and says that the U.S. is responsible for “the destruction of human dignity.” He campaigned on protecting traditional Japanese economic activities and reducing U.S.-led globalization.

During the run-up to the election, Hatoyama’s finance minister told the bbc he was worried about the future value of the dollar, and that if his party were elected in the upcoming national elections, it would refuse to purchase any more U.S. treasuries unless they were denominated in Japanese yen.

Japan is the world’s second-largest economy. It is also America’s second most important creditor. Washington owes Japan over $724 billion. The only nation America owes more money to is China ($800 billion). The U.S. also imports $140 billion worth of goods from Japan each year.

If Japan were to follow through with its threat to only lend in yen, the dollar would probably fall hard. That would mean more expensive consumer goods, higher unemployment, and currency inflation in America. If other nations like China were to follow suit, we would witness a currency crisis, Zimbabwe-style.

The new government in Japan has also pledged to diversify its foreign currency reserves away from the dollar. Thus, at some point, it will need to dramatically reduce how much money it lends to America. America is planning to borrow record amounts over the next couple of years, so something isn’t adding up here. Where will the money come from?

“The financial crisis has suggested to many that the era of U.S. unilateralism may come to an end,” Hatoyama wrote in an August 26 New York Times article titled “A New Path for Japan.” “It has also raised doubts about the permanence of the dollar as the key global currency.”

But Hatoyama isn’t just charting a separate economic course for Japan. His campaign also promised a more “independent” foreign policy from Washington—and closer relations with Japan’s Asian neighbors.

Losing an “Unsinkable Aircraft”

Hatoyama has authorized a wide-ranging review of the U.S. military presence on Japanese soil. He is reexamining the agreement that permits U.S. warships to dock at Japanese ports and has said Japan should reassess why it is spending billions to house and transfer U.S. troops between its islands. Hatoyama has also moved to quickly end Japan’s fueling support for the U.S. naval anti-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The day Hatoyama assumed office, U.S. and Japanese officials confirmed that discussions were underway to remove all U.S. fighter aircraft from Japan.

These dramatic moves are triggering alarm bells in Washington. The Australian reported the U.S. administration has requested “immediate clarifying discussions” on just how far Japan wants to take the disengagement. But America may not be able to do much if Japan is intent on reducing its presence there. Regarding the two nations’ security relationship, Richard Armitage, former U.S. deputy secretary of state, said: “If the government of Japan asked us to change things, we’d argue, we’d kick and scream, but ultimately we’d have to do it.”

Japan is a major platform for American power projection. It is America’s most important forward base in the Pacific. It is an unsinkable aircraft carrier from which American task forces can operate to secure the flow of trade and resources across the Pacific. Losing it would be devastating to U.S. security.

At a time when China is increasingly challenging American authority in the East and South China Sea, when North Korea is brandishing nuclear weapons, when Islamic terrorism is on the upswing in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, America can ill afford to lose Japanese military and logistical support.

But it is losing it.

The Future Is With Asia

Clearly, Japan is rapidly losing interest in being allied with America. More so than at any time since World War ii, it is identifying far more with its Asian neighbors.

Simply put, the new prime minister wants Japan to chart its own course and seeks to protect his nation’s interests. Very practically, American sits 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean. The Chinese could fly to Tokyo for breakfast, Taiwan for lunch, and back home for kung pao dinner before America’s fastest jets could make it much past Hawaii.

More poignant, however, is a simple fact: America’s star is descending. Asia’s is rising.

In his New York Times article, Prime Minister Hatoyama asked, “How should Japan maintain its political and economic independence and protect its national interest when caught between the United States, which is fighting to retain its position as the world’s dominant power, and China, which is seeking ways to become dominant?” (emphasis mine throughout).

Hatoyama answered his own question: “[W]e must not forget our identity as a nation located in Asia,” he said. “I believe that the East Asian region, which is showing increasing vitality, must be recognized as Japan’s basic sphere of being.”

He continued with some hard but undeniable words: “I also feel that as a result of the failure of the Iraq war and the financial crisis, the era of U.S.-led globalism is coming to an end ….” Thus, Hatoyama concluded, Japan must “spare no effort to build the permanent security frameworks” essential to creating a new anti-dollar regional Asian currency shared by China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Hatoyama not only believes America’s economy and power are fading fast, he’s publishing it in the New York Times! He sees Japan’s future as being with Asia. And he’s right.

Some analysts might argue that Hatoyama’s anti-U.S. rhetoric is primarily political posturing. But the truth is that Japan was already heading in this direction before the election—the previous party just wasn’t moving fast enough for the people! The last several administrations illustrated a clear desire to revamp Japan’s pacifist constitution. In fact, Japan has amended its antiwar constitution 50 times since 1989 to allow for greater military usage.

Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force ranks as the second most powerful navy in the world. When ground and air forces are factored into the equation, many analysts rank the Japanese Self-Defense Forces as the fourth most powerful overall military on the globe. Japan also has some of the most technologically advanced defense companies. In May, the Times reported that Japan’s industrial giants are pushing hard for permission to sell their hardware on the world stage. Meanwhile, certain prominent Japanese politicians are moving to reopen debate about whether Japan should seek nuclear weapons. One minister went so far as to say that Japan could produce several thousand nuclear weapons in a relatively short period of time if it felt threatened.

Plain and simply, Japan no longer needs American protection. And American involvement is just seen as a provocation to Japan’s most important regional partners, Russia and China.

There is a bold movement occurring in Asia. Old animosities are being forgotten or resolved. “I believe that regional integration and collective security is the path we should follow,” Hatoyama reiterated. Only “by moving toward greater integration” can Asia’s problems be solved, he said.

This movement toward greater Asian cooperation will soon speed up drastically. Not only do the facts prove it, biblical prophecy forecasts it. A major military alliance between Russia, China and Japan is about to be locked in. (Read about this specific prophecy by ordering a free copy of our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.)

Prime Minister Hatoyama may be the most pro-Asian Japanese prime minister yet. He has pledged to ignore Japan’s World War ii shrine that honors the country’s war dead to avoid offending Korea. His son attends a prestigious Russian engineering university. And he was the first Japanese prime minister to receive election coverage by any Chinese print media—and it was front-page news in the Communist Party’s People’s Daily. Also, for the first time, a Chinese television station provided live coverage of the election that saw Hatoyama take power.

Japan’s new policy is focused on winning friends on the Asian continent. America is about to lose an ally.

A Prophesied Siege!

“The U.S. has been critical of new trends in Japan, but we are not a colony of Washington and we should be able to say what we want,” said Makoto Watanabe, a professor of media and communication at Hokkaido Bunkyo University in Japan. “[W]hile under previous governments Japan had become a yes-man to the U.S., this suggests to me that healthy change is taking place.”

That change certainly will not be healthy for America.

The Bible describes a time when America will be besieged by its former trade partners. This siege, warned about in Deuteronomy 28:52, is both economic and military in nature. “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.”

America is about to be blockaded. For this to occur, Japan would need to take a radical turn from its recent historical political and economic persuasions.

It is radically turning. Today we are witnessing a dramatic fulfillment of this prophecy. America is about to become perilously isolated. The nation with the single largest merchant fleet in the world will turn its back on an economically waterlogged America. And America, without its most important military bases in Asia, will be one step closer to being pushed right out of the Asia Pacific region altogether.

America’s ship of state is sinking. Japan’s escape boat has already left.