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Koizumi's Policy Hits Dead End

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi portrayed the Japan-US alliance on Wednesday as the foundation for better relations with China and the Republic of Korea (ROK). The remark, however, does not justify itself because of Japan's current tense ties with other Asian countries.

After his meeting with US President George W. Bush, Koizumi spared no effort to laud the "most indispensable" friendship with its decades-old ally.

Bearing that notion in mind, Koizumi has taken pains to meet the demands of Washington from Japan's assistance in the war in Afghanistan to the dispatching of troops to Iraq.

"The stronger the Japan-US relations, the easier it is to build good ties with China, the ROK and other Asian countries as well as the rest of the world," the prime minister said.

In contrast to Koizumi boasting of the rosy relationship with the United States, Japan's ties with China and the ROK have run aground.

On the one hand, Koizumi has repeatedly emphasized the importance of good relations with Asian neighbors. On the other hand, he has repeatedly visited the Yasukuni Shrine that honors leading Japanese war criminals.

The lip-service-paying practice has tremendously hurt the feelings of the people in the Asian countries once victimized by Japan's aggression.

If Koizumi does not reverse his wrong attitude toward the history, the relationship between Japan and China and between Japan and the ROK will by no means develop healthily no matter how strong the Japan-US relations would be.

Even Bush himself expressed concerns about Japan's distressing relations with China and the ROK before the president embarked on his Asian tour.

Koizumi's remarks also incurred immediate criticism at home. Seiji Maehara, leader of the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said that the prime minister's comments had suggested that Japan cannot maintain close ties with Asian nations on its own accord but only through its alliance with the United States.

Ichida Tadayoshi, secretariat head of the Japanese Communist Party, said Koizumi clearly showed that he sees the world only through the lens of the United States.

By actively promoting the realignment of US troops in Japan, Koizumi intends to build a legacy of carrying out military operations with the United States across the world.

Analysts here pointed out that Koizumi's remarks had revealed that he is obsessed with the alliance and despises relations with neighboring countries.

But facts have proven that the Japan-US alliance cannot determine every aspect of Japan's foreign policy. If Koizumi keeps taking such a position in foreign relations and tampering with the history issue, Japan's diplomacy in Asia will continue to hit a dead end.

(China Daily November 19, 2005)


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