With the departure of Taro Aso, the 59th Prime Minister of Japan, who had only proven to be just a "flash in the pan" and a major let down for many including his staunchest supporters, Yukio Hatoyama has now assumed the helm as The Boss.
Japan is now faced once again with the same bleak prospects of having to choose which resource laden country it wants to foster relations with, along with whatever concessions that comes along with those choices. Once again, Japan is placed in the international spot light of having to either play the traditional double hegemony role between America and America's foes in a bid to bolster its fledgling economy and its depleting natural reserves, or to seek a new direction, one that could possibly usher in a new era of prosperity for Asia through the possible emergence of a new and dynamic type of Asian co-prosperity sphere where America plays a supporting role rather than a leading one.
Never in all of modern history as Asia ever been poised to take front and center stage as the new “Rome of the East” and the leaders of the free world through its aggressive style of market economics. Japan has been the missing link, which has weakened the progress of this Asian economic unity. However, The Boss is looking to the East, and like the late Emperor Showa who once shared an affinity with the last Emperor of China, Puyi, is now embarking on reconciling those relations with the new leaders of China who too are eager to embrace Hatoyama’s Japan as the prodigal son and the missing economic link to all of Asia.
China, with its economic and military might, could be a formidable backer for Japan’s political interest in areas that it had traditionally depended heavily on the U.S. for, like its bid to secure a seat on the U.N. Security Council whereby China could reverse its previous decision to reject Japan’s bid, could now see Japan as a formidable Asian ally in an all “white” dominated security council. And quite possibly the interest of Asia can be front and center once again while restoring dignity to the world by lessening America’s power base.
It’s America that’s indebted to China, not the other way around. There are huge stakes in keeping America afloat, though, but this time with, and I’m sure the Europeans would also agree, a less powerful and less influential America is better for world peace.
(“ Striking while the iron is hot!”)
The question still remains, though. Is Japan ready to make its own foreign policy decisions for its own economic interest, even in the face of scrutiny, or will it once again bow down to the West...? Not under Yukio Hatoyama’s watch! but then again, that's what I said when Taro Aso took office and look at what became of him and his administration.
However, in recent years, Japan has been fine tuning its double hegemony practices by exploring oil interests in Libya, a country with 39 billion barrels of crude oil reserves, and a country once regarded as an enemy of the United States, a terror state. For the first time in history five Japanese oil firms were awarded contracts to drill for oil in Libya. Now, from an economic stand point this presents a long term benefit for the country. As to what impact these contracted oil fields will have is left up to speculation, though.
Now, back in 2004, there was another project to tap Iran's giant Azadegan oilfield, a deal that was worth 2 billion dollars. Japan came under strong condemnation by the U.S. for making back door deals with America's enemies. Thankfully Japan didn't back down under U.S. pressure over its own deals. Thank goodness Japan was able to show some balls on this one and to not allow itself to be intimidated and bullied by America’s interest.
The big question now that’s facing Yukio Hatoyama’s Japan is how far it is willing to develop its relations with China, a country which has had a long and thriving relationship with Iran, for centuries even. Iran aligns itself politically with the PRC and the PRC supports Iran’s interest in nuclear energy, which the U.S. claims is nothing but a cover up for Iran’s attempt at acquiring a nuclear weapon. China condemns this claims as a groundless accusation by the United States and its Allies, and has asked that such rhetoric be rejected from discourse on Iran. “Way to go,” I say. Noone ever questions America’s nuclear arsenal, America should follow suit and not question other nations.
It’s this rejection of the West that I am liking now. Asia is showing that it has teeth and that it can create and carry out its own initiatives. I think Mr. Yukio Hatoyama was right in choosing to deal first with his Asian neighbors, and by choosing to do this is showing that he is willing to break from tradition, which shows that he is a maverick in his own right.
I do believe that in the next six months some major policy shifts will begin to take form. With wars waging in Iraq and Afghanistan America has its hands tied in one of the biggest quagmires since the Vietnam War, even bigger perhaps. And while thousands of American soldiers who have all died spilling blood for oil in vain, with purple colored trigger fingers, Asia remains capable of solving it’s own issues, especially in regards to N. Korea, and some smaller Asian nations in the South-East. Asia has my VOTE of full confidence to be the next leaders of the world.