“Seamless integration”: Japan to become sub-contractor for US aggression towards China

Apr 17, 2024
Japan-USA flags

‘New era for alliance’ headlined the right wing Japan Times after the Japan-US summit talks in Washington this week between President Biden and Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida.. But not everyone was so enthused.

Moscow repeated its warnings going back to 1960 that it could not sign a formal end to World War Two if Japan ever allowed a US military presence of its territory, which it has done ever since 1945. And the liberal leaning Asahi Shimbun, referring to Japan’s promises to handle repairs and maintenance for the US military equipment in Japan, said sourly that the country was becoming a sub-contractor for the US.

It went on to say that moshitora was the real reason for the plethora of Japan-US military and other cooperation agreements promised or signed in the talks (70 in all). Tora is short for Trump (it also means tiger); moshi means ‘if’ ( if Trump wins the US end-year presidential election, the current Tokyo fear). Tokyo and the less liberal media, however, insist that it is China’s ‘assertiveness’ that is bringing the two governments together.

Asahi also noted grumpily that a promise for Japan to help with major repairs to US military equipment was all very well. But the last time Japan did major repairs on an Aegis vessel the US navy refused to pay the bill.

That said, the agreement to work for ’seamless integration’ of planning and operations brings the US and Japanese militaries much closer together than ever before. But as the Asahi notes with the US command centres being based in Hawaii there is a risk of Japan in an emergency finding itself being controlled by the US.

That would be something of a reversal of the 1941 Tora Tora Tora state of affairs.

As for what Asahi states has been an official request for Japan’s participation in AUKUS, and for Japan to be allowed to become a Five Eyes member, the newspaper says the problem of shared technology secrets will require some months to solve.

In this context it was noted elsewhere in Japan that Tokyo’s record in guarding secrets has been rather sick.

President Biden presiding over the Japan – US promise for economic cooperation to create the industrial base of the future also looked rather sick alongside the news that Biden would try to save US jobs by blocking a takeover of the US United Steel giant by Nippon Steel. But that was not the only contradiction.

A major topic in this round of Japan-US talks was the emergence of a new and very pro-US Filipino leader, Bongbong Marcos -100 percent the opposite to the former president, Rodrigo Duterte, who pushed US forces out of the country and flirted with China.

Already there was talk of joint Filipino, US, Japan and Australian sea patrols in the South China sea.

The chances of a military clash with China over the Philippines claimed Scarborough Shoal in the Spratley island chain, and over Beijing dredging to create another island nearby, are great. The US, Japanese and Australian military were doubtless holding their collective breaths this week.

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