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Emperor Obama humiliates his Japanese vassal - Paul Rigby - 05-05-2010

Quote:What Nick Clegg can learn from Japan

The Japanese prime minister won on a platform of change – but was then humiliated in Washington, losing support at home

By Simon Tisdall, Tuesday 4 May 2010 20.11 BST

For a glimpse of the fate that may await Nick Clegg in Washington, were he to become prime minister, one need only look at the trials and tribulations of Yukio Hatoyama, Japan's inexperienced leader who took office last year. Like Clegg, Hatoyama proposed a more equal, less subservient bilateral relationship. He wanted to explore alternative alliances, including closer ties with China. He even suggested closing a US military base. Now he's paying the price of his effrontery.

Attending last month's nuclear summit in Washington, Hatoyama's officials lobbied hard for a one-on-one meeting between their man and Barack Obama. The request was brusquely rebuffed. Instead the Japanese prime minister had to settle for a rushed 10 minutes sitting next to Obama at dinner, making his points while his host consulted the menu. In Tokyo, his treatment was described as humiliating.

More extraordinary still, according to US press accounts, Obama bluntly informed Hatoyama that he was "running out of time" to settle the dispute over relocation of a US Marine Corps base at Futenma, on Okinawa, and asked him to his face whether he could be trusted. Japanese officials were reportedly so affronted by Obama's rudeness that they did not distribute the usual written record of the exchanges.

It got worse. Hatoyama's presumption in appearing to challenge US security interests, and Obama's rough handling of him, led Washington Post gossip columnist Al Kamen to label him the summit's "biggest loser". Kamen said Obama administration officials had ridiculed the Japanese leader as "increasingly loopy". This in turn provoked a media frenzy in Japan, as translators tried to establish exactly how insulting "loopy" really was.

A top aide to Hatoyama criticised the term as "somewhat impolite". But then, to everyone's amazement, Hatoyama went to the Diet (parliament) and suggested, self-deprecatingly, that the description may be accurate. "As the Washington Post says, I may certainly be a foolish prime minister," he said, before going on to admit that he could have handled the Futenma base issue sooner and better.

Hatoyama's Democratic party won in a landslide last August, ending 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the conservative Liberal Democrats who by and large submitted unquestioningly to Washington's will. His ideas about giving Japan a more independent voice in the world, of loosening the American harness, were actually quite modest and mostly unlikely to be implemented.

But far from respecting the voters' verdict, the US responded with bullying, name-calling, arm-twisting and exaggerated warnings about the consequences for Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, culminating in the banquet snub. Now Hatoyama's self-criticism suggests he may not last much longer.

Given his relatively more provocative views on nuclear disarmament, closer British ties with a united Europe, and the importance of upholding human rights, even in "war on terror" conflict zones, "prime minister" Clegg could be assured of a yet rougher, Kinnock-esque reception in Washington – though even brasher Americans may hesitate to suggest the elected leader of their closest military ally was off his nut.

Clegg may also wonder, in such circumstances, how long he could hold on to power. Hatoyama must certainly be wondering himself. The growing perception among Japanese voters that he is weakly bowing to US demands on Futenma, reinforced by his apologetic talk in Okinawa today about the need for compromise, has greatly undermined him.

A majority believes he should resign if he loses the Futenma fight or misses his self-imposed deadline of the end of May for settling it. In the latest poll, only nine months after he swept to victory, his approval rating is down to 21%. Some analysts say he is playing for time, hoping to fudge the issue until after July's upper house parliamentary elections. Some suggest he may be replaced.

Factors other than US pressure have contributed to Hatoyama's plight, including Japan's government debt problems (bigger even than Britain's) and a "money politics" sleaze scandal. But at the same time, Obama's hardball tactics could backfire. With the LDP opposition in disarray, the Democrats are likely to be in power for some years to come. Resentment of America, fed by sympathy for the fierce opposition of many Okinawans to the overbearing 49,000-strong US presence there, could actually solidify and spread if Japan is humiliated. And China will surely welcome, and encourage, fractures in the US-Japan alliance.

As president, Obama has gained a reputation, fairly or unfairly, for disregarding America's friends while coddling its enemies, for appeasing upstart dictators while alienating old allies. Hatoyama's crusade against Japan's "old politics" looks like being one casualty. If he were to take office, Clegg would also encounter formidable US hostility to some of his ideas. He may do well to consult Tokyo's thwarted change-maker before venturing across the Atlantic.

The Soviets retreated from Eastern Europe peacefully, for the most part. Will America end its military occupations the same way?

Emperor Obama humiliates his Japanese vassal - Paul Rigby - 06-05-2010

Quote:U.S. Military Base in Japan: Source of Friction and Mistrust?

by Michael Werbowski

Tokyo - Japan and the U.S are dead-locked over the future of a key American military base. The issue has huge domestic and foreign policy implications for one of Washington's closest allies.

There’s something distinctly troubling about the U.S- Japan relationship these days. In any case the bi-lateral arrangement is in deep flux. Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatayama may not be very popular in Washington. It appears he’s just not their man. Hatayama promised during his election campaign to "re-locate" one of the largest Pacific U.S marine-air bases , which is currently located on the island of Okinawa to an alternative site, preferably as far as Hatayama’s supporters are concerned out of Japan. If he is successful this would reconfigure America’s naval strength and air power in a not insignificant way. With the military rise of China and its own naval fleet challenging U.S dominance in the Strait of Taiwan and the "Yellow Sea" and elsewhere in the far-east, Washington is not keen on leaving the Nippon Islands soon. One of the proposed sites for the re-location is the U.S island of Guam.

Should they stay or should they go? The Japanese want to know

Japan is currently re-valuating its military ties to the U.S. As part of the process, the presence of the base has been a constant source of friction between Tokyo and its closest military alley. Crime and lawlessness have only fueled more local resentment towards the American military and naval presence.

The issue has this month come to head and created a domestic political crisis for the governing Social Democratic party. As a symbolic historical backdrop to this dispute, the 50 year old Japanese-American military-nuclear and strategic partnership hangs in the balance. Without a doubt Beijing is watching very closely how this diplomatic imbroglio pans out. On the domestic Japanese front, members of the coalition government have threatened to withdraw their support and potentially bring down the government if a resolution to the issue is not found. An end of May deadline hovers over the consultations between Japan and the U.S over the issue.

Is the U.S pressuring Tokyo to remain a supine and faithful alley?

The U.S. said it conducting apparently "closed doors" meetings with their Japanese counterparts in efforts to resolve the very thorny matter before the end of this month. There have been, so far, working-level discussions yesterday at Japan’s Defense Ministry and supports a "politically sustainable" solution to the dispute.

"As always we value our alliance with Japan. We understand that this alliance provides both benefit to the American people and to the Japanese people," U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters in Washington yesterday.

"It also levies a burden on the American people and the Japanese people, so we do recognize this; it’s one of the reasons why we’ve been involved in an intensive and lengthy process to evaluate the best way to maintain operations that are important and viable."

Perhaps part of the talks is the other prickly point: Who will pay for this massive move elsewhere of the U.S base? It seems Washington expects its alley to maintain its troop on Japanese soil or as Axel Berkovsky wrote earlier this year in the Asian Times ("Okinawa call to shape new U.S.-Japan era, Asia Tines Online, 02/06, 10):

"The longer he waits to make the "right" call -- which, as far as Washington is concerned, would be to stick to the existing agreement."

It remains unclear if Tokyo will remain welcoming to the American base for much longer, due to domestic considerations. Nevertheless, Japan is feeling the heat to stay the course and maintain the Okinawa base as where and as it is.

Hitting Japan where is hurts: Its car export to the U.S.

Enter the possible backlash in America recently, against Japan’s largest car-maker Toyota. The U.S Congress has lambasted this "crown jewel" of Nippon industry (and humiliated its CEO during harsh hearings), by castigating the auto-maker for being nearly criminally negligent. And for delays, in reporting faulty parts which caused accidents in the U.S.

Massive recalls of some of the manufacturer’s flag-ship models and million dollar fines against the company were enacted. There is some speculation, ( perhaps undue) that the on-going tiff over the base be linked to the "Japan bashing" campaign on Capital Hill. The UFPPC’s Joe Thompson said he "can't help seeing a link between Toyota's worsening recall problem and the defiant Japanese stance in Okinawa." (Could Japan’s balking at Okinawa agreement be related to the Toyota recall? If this is the case, then the bi-lateral ties between the two strategic partners may sour even more in the days and weeks to come.

Emperor Obama humiliates his Japanese vassal - Paul Rigby - 18-05-2010

17,000 Form Human Chain At U.S. Base In Japan (PHOTOS)

As ever, the patriots are in civvies, the traitors, in uniform.

Emperor Obama humiliates his Japanese vassal - Paul Rigby - 23-05-2010

Psy-op finishes off Japanese resistance to US occupation - for now:

Quote:Hatoyama Accepts U.S. Base on Okinawa, Says He Has ‘No Choice’

By Takashi Hirokawa and Sachiko Sakamaki

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama decided to move a U.S. military base within Okinawa in adherence to a bilateral agreement, saying security threats from countries such as North Korea trump local sentiment to shift it elsewhere.

Hatoyama has “no choice” but to relocate the Futenma Marine Air Base on the island, he told Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima yesterday, abandoning a campaign pledge to move the Marines elsewhere. Apologizing for the “heartrending decision,” he said it was made “given security concerns in East Asia such as the situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

The decision resolves an eight-month dispute with the Obama administration that has contributed to a plunge in Hatoyama’s popularity ahead of elections slated for July. He spoke two days after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss how to respond to North Korea’s deadly attack on a South Korean naval vessel in March.

“The North Korean attack is good news for Hatoyama in that he can say we’re in a heightened state of alert,” said Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies at Temple University’s Tokyo campus. “At least he can go into the election without this over his head, but I don’t know how much it will help him.”

‘Tough to Accept’

Hatoyama told Nakaima at a meeting at the governor’s office in Naha that Japan will move the base to the coastal area of Henoko, as envisioned in the original agreement. Thousands of residents have demonstrated against keeping the facility in Okinawa, citing noise, pollution and crime, and have voted in local politicians who oppose the base. Protesters waved banners saying “Don’t Betray Us” outside yesterday’s meeting.

Nakaima told Hatoyama the decision was “extremely regrettable and very tough to accept.” Speaking to reporters later, the governor said “There’s a strong feeling of betrayal,” given Hatoyama’s campaign pledge.

The U.S. has pushed Japan to uphold the 2006 agreement to move Futenma within Okinawa, as part of a $10.3 billion plan that would also transfer 8,000 Marines to Guam. Clinton met with Hatoyama and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in Tokyo two days ago and said both countries sought “an operationally viable” solution.

Clinton and Okada met to discuss a coordinated response to a report finding that North Korea fired a torpedo that sank a South Korean naval vessel in March, killing 46 sailors. A U.S. official traveling with Clinton said on condition of anonymity two days ago that the incident helped remind Japan of the need for an American military presence.

‘The Right Thing’

“The prime minister has done the right thing, both in his decision and in apologizing,” said Tsuneo Watanabe, author of “Japan’s New Security Strategy” and director of policy research at the Tokyo Foundation. “But there are many things he has to do now,” including finding ways to improve the situation for the people of Okinawa.

The two sides will release a joint agreement on relocating Futenma on May 28, Japanese media including the Yomiuri newspaper said last week. Under the original agreement, helicopter units at Futenma would be moved to new facilities at Henoko near the existing Camp Schwab, and a runway would be built on reclaimed land.

Public Awareness

Hatoyama’s popularity has plummeted since his Democratic Party of Japan took office in September, having ousted the Democratic Party of Japan from half a century of almost unbroken rule. He suggested in April that he may step down should he fail to reach a deal on Futenma before the end of the month, and the Social Democratic Party has threatened to quit his coalition ahead of July’s elections for the upper house of parliament, should he keep the base on Okinawa.

“The South Korean ship incident raised the public’s awareness of Japan’s security situation, but it won’t help Hatoyama convince Okinawans or help his approval ratings,” said Atsuo Ito, a Tokyo-based independent political analyst.

Okinawa, 950 miles (1,530 kilometers) south of Tokyo, hosts 75 percent of the U.S. bases and more than half of the 50,000 American military personnel stationed in the country.

Hatoyama’s approval rating fell to 21 percent, down 4 percentage points from last month, while his disapproval rating rose 3 points to 64 percent, the Asahi newspaper said on May 17. Sixty-one percent of respondents said Hatoyama would be breaking his commitment if the Marine units stay in Okinawa, the Asahi reported.

The paper obtained 2,077 valid responses in the May 15-16 poll, and didn’t provide a margin of error.

Emperor Obama humiliates his Japanese vassal - Keith Millea - 23-05-2010

Hummm,Hillary is so persuasive.It must be that derringer she carries in her garter belt(or spare torpedo parts).Will this mean Hatoyama must proceed with that "sword in the belly" ritual?I can even see an Okinawan color revolution brewing.It should be called something like the "Coral Revolution",that'll work..............

Emperor Obama humiliates his Japanese vassal - Paul Rigby - 23-05-2010

Keith Millea Wrote:Hummm,Hillary is so persuasive.It must be that derringer she carries in her garter belt(or spare torpedo parts).Will this mean Hatoyama must proceed with that "sword in the belly" ritual?I can even see an Okinawan color revolution brewing.It should be called something like the "Coral Revolution",that'll work..............

With wildly intelligent forecasts like that, Keith, you'll be getting the call from Foggy Bottom or Langley within the week.

I'll only add that this time around, the "Strike North" group will get the nod from the Anglo-American stewards.

Emperor Obama humiliates his Japanese vassal - Keith Millea - 24-05-2010

Quote:With wildly intelligent forecasts like that, Keith, you'll be getting the call from Foggy Bottom or Langley within the week.

Hey,I can put up with them spooks and their LSD.But if there is indeed a merciful God,I beg that they don't sic Hillary on me.........