A lantern dedicated to victims of the earthquake and tsunami

that struck Japan during the Na Lei Aloha Lantern Floating at

Ala Moana beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, May 30.



Nishinippon Shimbun, Japan

It's Imperative for Japan to Look Outward Again


"Even as Japan has been rushing to deal with the earthquake and nuclear accident, the international situation has been rapidly evolving. Ö While other countries are sympathetic to Japanís plight, they are also casting a critical eye on the situation. It has been nearly three months since the earthquake: continued diplomatic stagnation cannot be permitted."




Translated By Violet Knight


May 30, 2011


Japan - Nishi Nippon - Original Article (Japanese)

Under intense pressure at home over what many percieve to be his inept handling of Japan's earthquake-tsunami-nuclear crisis, Naoto Kan is looking for support wherever he can get it, particularly from Japan's global allies and neighbors.


RUSSIA TODAY NEWS: Before the recent G8 Summit in France, Japan and Russia held talks in 2009 on the disputed Kuril Islands, occupied by Russia since World War II, May 12, 2009, 00:03:12RealVideo

"All the leaders expressed words of sympathy for the earthquake and tsunami. I was reminded again of the strong bond (Japan has) with countries around the world," Prime Minister Naoto Kan remarked at the G8 Summit in Deauville, France.


During the summit, the prime minister spoke to the leaders of the other major countries about his determination to rebuild Japan after the earthquake, and held one-to-one talks with U.S. President Obama, Russian President Medvedev of Russia and others.



Last week at a summit in Tokyo with South Korea and China, there were indications that Mr. Kan is trying to rebrand Japanese foreign relations as "reconstruction diplomacy." While Japan struggled to respond to the earthquake and nuclear accident at the Fukushima no. 1 power plant, international relations took a back seat. But now the government is attempting to kick-start its diplomatic activity.


During a series of meetings and conferences, Japanese delegates have sought to explain how they handled the nuclear accident, while those of other nations have expressed support for Japanís efforts to rebuild. The "strong bond," the prime minister spoke of, or solidarity toward Japan, has been reconfirmed during the course of this "reconstruction diplomacy." But on foreign policy issues that were at issue before the earthquake, virtually no progress has been made. Symptomatic of this was the top-level meeting with the U.S.


At the meeting, President Obama invited Prime Minister Kan to visit the United States in September, effectively postponing a visit that was arranged for earlier in the year. The protracted confusion over relocating the Futenma Naval Air Station may have helped convince the Americans that the visit would fail to move matters along.


[Editor's Note: The inhabitants of Okinawa have been furious with the American military presence for decades, and for the past few years, the Futenma Naval Air Station has been the main focus of Okinawan ire.]



During their meeting, the two leaders agreed to adhere to the bilateral agreement signed last May to relocate the base within the prefecture. On the subject of the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement, Prime Minister Kan said that he would "reach an early conclusion" on whether Japan would participate. However, neither have much of a chance in the near future of making headway domestically. Some observers have even remarked that the U.S. postponed Prime Minister Kanís visit to determine his prospects - as his political base is shaky after widespread criticism over his response to the earthquake.


During the Japan-Russia talks, Prime Minister Kan expressed his disappointment about the occasional visits to the disputed northern territories by senior Russian officials since President Medvedevís visit to Kunashir Island in November 2010. The president stuck to his usual response, saying "it is important to conduct talks in a calm atmosphere."


[Editor's Note: Since the end of World War II, the Kuril Islands have been occupied by Russia and claimed by Japan.]



Even as the Japanese government has been rushing around dealing with the earthquake and nuclear accident, the international situation has been rapidly evolving. At the G8 summit, Japanís post-quake reconstruction and financial recovery were cited as risk factors, along with Greece and Portugalís debt crisis. While other countries are sympathetic to Japanís plight, they are also casting a critical eye on the situation. It's been nearly three months since the earthquake: continued diplomatic stagnation cannot be permitted.


Managing the aftereffects of the earthquake-disaster is hard work, but it is troubling to see the government continue to turn inward. Japan must be shrewd enough to leverage the diplomatic bonds strengthened by the earthquake to help it resolve long-standing problems. The world wonít wait on Japan forever.



Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan: Japan Must Repay World's Kindness with Engagement
News, Switzerland: Swiss Approach to Radiation Safety: Cancel The Simpsons
Nishinippon, Japan: Japan Authorities Must Offer Total Nuclear Transparency
The Telegraph, U.K.: Workers Using Newspaper and Sawdust to Block Pipes
Akita Sakigake, Japan: G7's Yen Intervention a Step Toward Decisive Cooperation
Die Welt, Germany: Japan's Nuclear Wreck: The 9-11 of Global Energy Policy
Mainichi Shimbun, Japan: Rescuers Find Going Tough; Many Victims Remain Cut Off
Akita Sakigake, Japan:
After the Great Quake, Let's Do Our Utmost to Help!
Asahi Shimbun, Japan: Quake-Prone Japan Must Reconsider Use of Nuclear Power

Daily Mail, U.K.: Chilling Echoes of Hiroshima in Images of Tsunami's Aftermath
Der Spiegel, Germany: Nuclear Disaster 'Will Have Political Impact of Sept. 11'

Guardian. U.K.: The World's Nuclear Fate Rests in Japan

The Japan Times, Japan: Nuclear Power Industry is in Disarray


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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US June 9, 12:29am]


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