Mon, Nov 03, 2008 - Page 9 News List

US maintenance of Japan relations is key to region

By Richard Halloran

Thoughtful Japanese views can be found in a series of essays published in English by the Japan Institute of International Affairs, a think tank headed by Yukio Satoh, Tokyo’s former ambassador to the UN.

The removal of North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terror, said Koji Murata, a political scientist at Doshisha University in Kyoto, and the last minute notification of Japan of that action left Japanese with a “sense of abandonment” on one hand and a fear of being “entrapped” in US strategy on the other.

“This is certainly a crisis for the Japan-US alliance,” Murata wrote.

A strategic analyst, Yukio Okamoto, was pessimistic about the immediate future.

“It would be a mistake for Japan to lapse into complacency regarding the expectations a new US administration may have for the security relationship,” Okamoto said.

“A jolt of new activity, if you will, will be necessary to get the relationship off to a good start,” he said.

Richard Halloran is a writer based in Hawaii.

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