Home · Weather · Forum · Learning Chinese · Jobs · Shopping
Search This Site
China | International | Business | Government | Environment | Olympics/Sports | Travel/Living in China | Culture/Entertainment | Books & Magazines | Health
Home / International / International -- Opinion Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Fukuda's US trip a difficult mission
Adjust font size:

Warm handshakes and smiles for the cameras will abound when US and Japanese leaders meet today for the first time since Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda took office, but the brief summit stands little chance of resolving the security headaches bedeviling the alliance.


Japan's stalled naval mission in support of US-led operations in Afghanistan and Tokyo's worries over Washington's warming ties with North Korean will top the agenda when Fukuda makes his diplomatic debut at a summit in Washington with US President George W. Bush.


The 71-year-old Japanese leader, who took over in September when his predecessor suddenly quit, is likely to come back empty-handed to Tokyo, where a standoff with opposition parties controlling parliament's upper house is paralyzing policy.


To the dismay of US policy makers, Japan was forced this month to halt its refueling mission for US and other ships patrolling the Indian Ocean after opposition parties refused to agree to a new bill to allow the operations to continue.


For its part, Tokyo fears that Washington may further improve its ties with North Korea in talks over Pyongyang's nuclear program, leaving Tokyo out in the cold in its spat with Pyongyang over the fate of Japanese nationals kidnapped by North Korean agents decades ago.


Fukuda said he would have "frank" talks with Bush to boost bilateral ties.


"Unless we have solid Japan-US relations, we can't fix our diplomatic stance on Asia," Fukuda said shortly before leaving for Washington. "We must strive to further strengthen Japan-US relations and expand bilateral exchanges. Based on that premise, we want to proceed with our Asia diplomacy."


Norihiko Narita, a political science professor at Surugadai University, who served as an aide to former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa in the early-1990s, when US-Japan relations were also fraught, said Fukuda was on a particularly difficult diplomatic mission.


"I can't recall in my memory a Japan-US relationship so full of problems," he said.


"The US visit is going to be a heavy burden for Fukuda," Narita added. "He faces a tough domestic political situation, so his options are very limited."


Parliament's lower house this week approved a government bill to restart the naval mission, but its enactment is far from certain given that the main opposition Democratic Party and its smaller allies, who can delay legislation, are against it.


"The passage in the lower house is a 'gift' that Fukuda can bring to Bush, but it is a very small one," said Toshikazu Inoue, a political science professor at Gakushuin University.


The ruling coalition could use its two-thirds majority in the lower house to override an upper house vote, but the rarely used tactic could spark a backlash and even trigger a snap election.


(China Daily November 16, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Username   Password   Anonymous

China Archives
Related >>
- Japanese PM arrives in US for first visit
- Japan officially ends MSDF's refueling mission in Indian Ocean
- Bush invites new Japanese PM to visit
Most Viewed >>
-Chinese compatriots withdraw from Chad
-Gabon's Jean Ping elected as AU Commission chief
-Baghdad market blasts kill 72
-World Bank chief to assess floods in Zambia
-Kenya's rivals agree to end deadly violence
> Korean Nuclear Talks
> Reconstruction of Iraq
> Middle East Peace Process
> Iran Nuclear Issue
> 6th SCO Summit Meeting
- China Development Gateway
- Foreign Ministry
- Network of East Asian Think-Tanks
- China-EU Association
- China-Africa Business Council
- China Foreign Affairs University
- University of International Relations
- Institute of World Economics & Politics
- Institute of Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies
- Institute of West Asian & African Studies
- Institute of Latin American Studies
- Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies
- Institute of Japanese Studies
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback

Copyright © All Rights Reserved E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号