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Obama’s bumpy road to Japan

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The new Japanese Government is trying to reformulate its country’s foreign policy, particularly with a view to shaking off the tutelage of the former occupying power: the United States.

For obvious historical reasons, since the end of World War II Japan has fallen within the scope of Washington’s Defense Department and not that of the State Department. Hillary Clinton reportedly intended to seize Japan’s emancipatory drive as an opportunity to recuperate the Japan file for her shop. Unfortunately, however, the new Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister, Katusya Okada (on the right in the photo) first wishes to dispose of the US military airbase in Futema (Okinawa) and, consequently, to continue for the time being to discuss with Robert Gates.

While President Obama will be received in Tokyo next week, the preparatory meeting between Clinton and Okada has been cancelled indefinitely at the latter’s request. Washington has dismissed the matter, assuring that such a shift underlines the indecisiveness - and, hence, the weakness - of Yukio Hatoyama’s government (on the left in the photo). Unless, of course, the reverse is true, i.e. that the new Japanese Prime Minister is in fact planning to raise the bar much higher during his private talks with President Obama. In this case, what might be at issue is the abrogation of the secret treaties imposed on Japan during the 1960’s.

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