For over 50 years, one party ruled Japan virtually uninterrupted. During that time, Japan remained a loyal ally and supporter of U.S. policy. This month, a historic event took place.
Japan has new leadership. In a landslide victory, a new party has done the seemingly impossible. A new freshman class of leaders now governs the Land of the Rising Sun. The effects are already rippling across the Pacific toward America.
Yukio Hatoyama is Japan’s new leader. He officially took office last Wednesday, and he is already 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. The U.S. government 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. What would that mean? America gets more expensive consumer goods, higher unemployment, and currency inflation. If other nations like China follow suit, we would be looking at a currency crisis—Zimbabwe-style.
The new government in Japan has also pledged to diversify its foreign currency reserves away from the dollar. This means that 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.
More alarming for American policymakers, 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 take a second look at 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.
On Wednesday, an even bigger torpedo hit. Both U.S. and Japanese officials confirmed that discussions were underway to remove all U.S. fighter aircraft from Japan.
So many alarm bells have been clanging in Washington that the Australian reports the U.S. administration has requested “immediate clarifying discussions” on just how far Japan wants to take the disengagement. But there may not be too much America can do if Japan is intent on reducing America’s presence in Japanese territory. Regarding the U.S.-Japan 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. Losing it would be devastating to U.S. security.
Japan 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.
At a time when China is increasingly challenging American authority in the East and South China Sea, when North Korea is brandishing nuclear weapons, and 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.
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).
Being allied with America has become a problem for Japan.
The new prime minister is no doubt asking himself: How do I protect Japan’s interests? The distant Americans sit 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean. One billion 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.
In the same article, 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.”
“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 .…” Hatoyama even said that 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 doesn’t just think 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.
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 in 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 only son is attending a prestigious Russian engineering university. And he is 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 Asia—and winning friends on the Asian continent.
America is about to lose its Japanese ally. “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.”
But that change will not be healthy—especially 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 altogether.
America’s ship of state is sinking. Japan’s lifeboat has already left. ▪