Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

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I’ve written several posts this year regarding the absurdity of the foreign policy of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The politicians in the party regularly read off a laundry list of popular positions, with no realistic basis of how these policies would affect Japan’s national interest. This includs the US alliance, Japan’s dispatch of forces overseas, the UN, and relations with Asian neighbors. The cornerstone of this collection of cognitivie dissonance is distancing itself from its primary ally of more than half a century without any alternative security policy—madness, pure and simple.

Here are some examples noted in my previous posts:

We want to move away from U.S. dependency to a more equal alliance… We are only looking for an equal relationship, which we believe the U.S. also prefers.

The DPJ regards the the Japan-US alliance as very important… But we think that Japan should say what it needs to say to the United States. In return, we will be involved at the frontlines in UN activities.

For for all intents and purposes, the DPJ has no foreign policy—only a random collection of popular positions snatched from opinion polls. Yet reality is now catching up to the DPJ as it faces the strong likelihood that it will take power in the election to be held next month. Specifically:

  • The party now calls for strengthening the US alliance without conditionals and hesitations previously held in official party policy.
  • The DPJ is now silent on its previous opposition to maintain naval ships in the Indian Ocean to refuel US warships used for Afghanistan security.
  • Policy concerning the deployment of ships to Somalia remains undecided, but there is no criticism of LDP policy in this regard.

On a sidenote, I also expect there will be a reduced focus on the abstract call that Japan be a more practive “member of Asia.”

Not surprisingly, the DPJ apologist crowd is calling this a welcome move towards realism. I basically agree. But where is this going? More on that as the election date of August 30th approaches.