|AEI Conference October 25 2005
Seiji Maehara, President of the Democratic Party of Japan
|Agenda for Strengthening Japan-US Alliance - Achieving World Peace and Happiness through Prosperity
|The world in the 21st century will become extremely dynamic. This is particularly true of Asia. Economic activity is becoming increasingly vibrant, the movement of people has grown, and a world in which a variety of values, cultures and religions are mixing together is already being realised. I am convinced that the role of the Japan-US Alliance in this dynamic world, and in Asia, will become even more important. The people of Japan and the United States overcame the legacy of World War II to form an alliance which has brought prosperity to both nations. Their citizens enjoy peace and have come to lead rich lives. It also goes without saying that, during the Cold War against the Soviet Union, the Japan-US Alliance formed an ideological, strategic and diplomatic bulwark against the Communist bloc. However, the Japan-US Alliance has not continued for around half a century simply by serving as an anti-Soviet alliance. Both countries are also linked by the common values of democracy and the free-market economy. Consequently, the Japan-US Alliance, backed as it is by democracy and the free-market economy, has made a significant contribution to the peace and stability of the Asian-Pacific region. Its significance has not decreased since the end of the Cold War. In the post-war era, it is Japan who has most enjoyed the benefits of democracy and the free-market economy. I think that what is called for from now on in the 21st century is for Japan to contribute to the peace and stability of Asia and the international community, while holding firmly to the "anchor" of the Japan-US Alliance. I believe that Japan should actively embrace the concept of the "peace dividend". The construction of a peaceful and rich world and Asia through prosperity is the ultimate national security, the ultimate defence, for Japan and for the regional community.
1. The Challenges of 21st Century Asia
However, we have now entered the 21st century, and are confronting unprecedented challenges. Achieving prosperity is not an easy task. Although 21st century Asia can be expected to develop dramatically, it also contains a variety of problems, including confrontations and friction. In other words, it can be said that the higher the possibility of rapid progress, the greater the strains and resistant toward change that this will generate. Here, I would like to discuss the three greatest changes which I believe will occur in Asia in the forthcoming 10 to 20 years of the 21st century.
(1) The Rise of China
The first of these is the rise of China. China is now strengthening her political, economic and military presence within the international community. The question is: how will China come to act as a responsible player in the Asian-Pacific region, and in the international community as a whole. That is a challenge for China herself, but it is without a doubt a matter of concern to the international community. That is particularly true for neighbouring countries. In some quarters, there is a tendency to view China as a potential enemy, as people see her strengthening her military power. However, I do not regard China as a potential enemy. In fact, I believe that we must not turn China into an enemy. Of course we must not leave ourselves unprotected in the face of China?不 increasing military power, and to this end we need to firmly maintain the Japan-US Alliance. However, regarding China as an enemy and creating an environment that instigates a military buildup would not be to the advantage of anyone in this region. (It might be rather disappointing for those European corporations hoping to sell weapons to China however!). How can we create friendly relations with China? How can we create a "working partnership" in order to manage the stable growth of the Asian-Pacific region? That can be said to be the touchstone for Japan?不 future diplomacy, and it is also a huge challenge for the leader of Japan.
(2) The Advance of Globalisation - Movements of People, Goods and Money
I believe the second change will be the acceleration of globalization. As we see an increase in the population of Asia and an increase in cross-border movement, we are also seeing a deepening of mutual interdependency in a variety of fields, such as energy, the environment, infectious diseases, and finance and economics. An incident happening in one country spreads to other countries at a single stroke, and the rate at which this happens is also becoming ever faster. While the advance of globalisation has given increased momentum to movements to build and strengthen regional frameworks, there is also a sense in which it risks generating friction and confrontations as each country and corporation tries to secure systems and agreements that will be of benefit to itself.
Let us take the energy consumption of China, which is experiencing continued economic growth, as an example. In 2002, this consumption was roughly 1.5 times that of 1990. At present, a large proportion of this is occupied by coal, but if things continue as they are, oil dependency is likely to become higher. In 1993, China's oil imports exceeded her oil exports, and her oil import dependency actually increased from 7.6% in 1995 to 31% in 2000. If no countermeasures are taken and this growth continues at the same rate, some estimate that China?不 oil dependency will be near to 60% in the year 2020. As an extension of this trend, it can be envisaged that energy security issues such as securing resources will become of increased importance for China and for Asia as a whole. China's provocative actions over the development of the East China Sea, could be cited as a notable example of energy friction.
Furthermore, regional environmental issues are also becoming more serious. The sudden economic growth of China and the region has led to environmental damage and, if things continue in this way, will have a serious impact on the region as a whole. If we do not rethink the way in which economic growth is conducted, there is even the possibility that this issue contains the seeds that will lead to the collapse of Asia's development. For example, sulphur dioxide emissions (emission cap) and carbon dioxide emissions will double by 2020. This will not just lead to air pollution in China, but will also have a negative impact on the prevention of global warming, and thus is a dangerous situation for the world as a whole. The problem confronting the leaders of Asia is to establish how the nations of Asia can cooperate together to resolve these problems.
(3) "Trans-dimensional" Threats
The third change occurs in conjunction with the second change, but still I would like to mention it separately. This is the rise of non-state actors. As globalisation advances, non-state actors, who operate, crossing national borders at will, are becoming large enough to have a greater impact on the international community. In particular, since the end of the Cold War, we can see a tendency for one such kind of non-state actor, international terrorist organisations, to use the wave of globalisation, which exceeds all bounds placed on people, goods and money, to create their own networks, and enhance their activities. The incident in which Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan was found to have operated a nuclear black market clearly shows how important it is to curb illegal actions by non-state actors from the point of view of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As the influence of such non-state actors, who are not restricted by geographical boundaries, increases, the globalisation of threats hitherto perceived as "local threats" or "threats affecting distant lands" is progressing, and has come to have a direct impact the national security of individual countries. In other words threats existing in each of the global, regional and national dimensions are encroaching on each other, and a "trans-dimensional" international security environment is emerging. The question of how to combat such "trans-dimensional" threats in Asia, while cooperating with the international community, is something which Asian leaders must also think very seriously about.
2. An Indicator for Japan - Making the Japan-US Alliance an Anchor for the Asian-Pacific Region
How will Japan deal with the new challenges confronting her? At the start of my speech, I said that the Japan-US Alliance would have an even more important role to play from now on. The Alliance will be the core for resolving the challenges of the 21st century. The 1996 talks between Prime Minister Hashimoto and President Clinton affirmed that the Alliance would be used as a public good for the stability of the Asian-Pacific region. The character of the Alliance as just such a public good is being enhanced.
(1) The Issue of US Military Realignment
In order for Japan to more actively engage in the challenges particularly affecting the Asian-Pacific region, while continuing to hold to the anchor of the Japan-US alliance, a strategic and autonomous foreign and security policy is necessary. One such policy is the issue of the US military realignment in Japan. The issue of US bases in Japan relates directly to the very core of the way in which Japan's defence should be conducted. We should correctly analyse and evaluate current and future threats, and undertake the appropriate reviews. In addition, before this is carried out, it is essential that the governments of both countries move to implement the 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) agreement, and in particular quickly implement the return of facilities that pose a danger to local residents. Those items for which circumstances have changed dramatically in the past nine years should be further reviewed in the undergoing process for the transformation of the US military in Japan. I believe that it is desirable for Japan to create a blueprint detailing what kind of presence, composition of military forces and base system is desirable for the US military in Japan and for each side to clearly recognise the "role and mission" of the other when consulting with each other regarding this blueprint.
(2) Response to the Issue of North Korea
East Asia is a region in which the legacy of the Cold War still survives in the problems of North Korea and the rise of China. North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles are a real and direct threat to countries in the region, such as Japan. The forum of the six party talks was created as a framework to respond to this threat. I believe that finding a resolution through a multilateral regional framework in this way will be helpful not only in resolving this problem, but also in building trust in the region. In particular, the fact that China is playing a constructive role in the six-party talks and taking the initiative regarding the issue of North Korea is important when evaluating the question of how China will become a responsible player in the future. A Japanese diplomacy that encourages positive participation from China should be developed, so that China, which has influence on North Korea, including the ability to broker a resolution to the abduction problem, can make a positive contribution to the peace and stability of the region.
(3) Promotion of an Effective Regional Framework
I believe that the framework for the six-party talks, and the strengthening and development of existing regional frameworks such as ASEAN, ASEAN+3, APEC and ARF, will become even more important for an Asia experiencing eye-opening economic growth in the midst of globalisation. This is because I believe that we need to arm ourselves with tools to manage friction and confrontations. In that sense also, I do not deny the value of constructing an East Asian Community, but I believe that it is desirable, even from the point of view of such a Community achieving its objectives, that the United States should be a significant player in this framework. Furthermore, free trade agreements (FTAs) are being signed one after another between Asian nations aiming for the further development of the Asian economy, but Japan's engagement in such FTAs lacks strategy. FTAs with other countries keep on being delayed, but the problem is that the Japanese government's policy and stance regarding an FTA with the United States is totally unclear. I believe that it is important to form an environment that links the US economy firmly first with Japan, and then with Asia in a broader sense. This will widen economic activity, and even contribute to deepening the mutual interdependency of Asia in economic terms.
(4) Strengthening the Gathering, Analysis and Evaluation of Intelligence
n order for Japan to fulfil the role of a responsible player in the Asian-Pacific region it is necessary for her to be able to make accurate judgements regarding events occurring in various regions around the world. In particular, I believe that there is an urgent need for Japan to strengthen her system for gathering, analyzing and evaluating intelligence now that she is being called upon to give constructive contribution and support in fighting terrorism and problems in distant lands. This is because intelligence plays a vital role in participation in preventive diplomacy and international peace-keeping activities and in supporting the overseas activities of NGOs. We realised the risks of relying on the US for intelligence following the questions surrounding Iraq?不 possession of weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussein. Should Japan possess more accurate intelligence, including HUMINT, this would also be beneficial for the United States. This is because it will be possible for each nation to prevent dangerous outbreaks of terrorism by cooperating together through comparing intelligence that each has obtained separately. I believe that intelligence cooperation is growingly important in this 21st century world, where "trans-dimensional" threats are increasing.
Currently, the environment facing Asia and the world has many unstable elements and the challenges confronting us are by no means small. However, I believe that if all citizens who long for peace and happiness join together and work to deal with such issues, there is no problem that cannot be overcome. Furthermore, I think that it is the responsibility of politicians to lead the people of each nation to prosperity through cooperation. Churchill said, "If the nations that were conquered one by one by Hitler had firmly united from the first, they might have been able to save themselves and save the world from this catastrophe" (draft translation: unsourced quote) If the nations of the Asian-Pacific region join together to exert their full wisdom and courage they can overcome the challenges of the 21st century and definitely go on to create further prosperity. I would like to close my speech by emphasising once again my conviction that the Japan-US Alliance will serve as an anchor for such prosperity.
(Thank you very much for your attention)