Japan and Iran: Good vs. Evil?

Saw a great headline this morning:

Monday, February 27, 2006

Aso Urges Iran To Halt Uranium Enrichment, Iran Says No

TOKYO (Kyodo)–Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Monday said his country will not suspend its uranium enrichment, rejecting a request from his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso at their meeting in Tokyo, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

Mottaki was quoted by the official as telling Aso that Iran is currently engaged in ”research activities” and that halting such resumption of uranium enrichment operations is ”impossible.”

Nice try, Japan! It’s unlikely that the international community will hold this diplomatic exercise in futility against you, so no worries! Aso gets an “A” for effort:

[February 04, 2006]

Japan viewed most positively in world poll, Iran most negatively

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)WASHINGTON, Feb. 4_(Kyodo) _ Japan was most widely viewed as having a positive influence in the world, while Iran displaced the United States as the nation with the most negative rating, according to a BBC World Service survey released Friday.

Positive ratings for Japan exceeded negative ones in 31 of the 33 countries polled, with an average of 55 percent positive and 18 percent negative. The two exceptions were China and South Korea, where 71 percent and 51 percent of respondents, respectively, said Japan has a negative influence.

Meanwhile, Europe as a whole gets the most positive ratings of all, the survey results showed.

As for Iran, more respondents had negative views than positive ones in 24 of the 33 countries. On average, just 18 percent said Iran has a positive influence while 47 percent said it has a negative influence.

The United States, which had the most negative ratings in last year’s poll, ranked second behind Iran this time. But it has lost ground in some key allied countries, with negative views growing in Europe, China, Australia and Brazil.

“Interestingly, no more Iranians were negative about the U.S. role in the world than Germans or French, each with 65 percent negative,” the poll results said.

For China, ratings dropped most notably among European countries and in Canada, but positive views were particularly widespread in African countries.

The survey, conducted for the BBC by international polling firm GlobeScan and the University of Maryland, polled 39,435 people between October 2005 and January 2006.

The countries or region rated in this year’s poll are Britain, China, Europe, France, India, Iran, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Those surveyed were asked whether they think each of the selected countries has a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world, but the poll results did not reveal the reasons behind the respondents’ judgment

8 thoughts on “Japan and Iran: Good vs. Evil?”

  1. Have you seen this article from the Asahi:


    Iran dilemma
    “Iran’s publicly stated intention to advance its nuclear technology threatens a key element of Japan’s energy strategy–development of the Azadegan oil field … If Tehran does not alter its position, Japan could lose its rights to the field.”

    Can you imagine another country taking this attitude towards the Iran crisis? It speaks of a certain irresponsibility coming from Japan, who with North Korea living next door should take this a lot more seriously.

  2. Irresponsibility? Not really. A significant part of Japan’s energy supply comes from Iranian oil fields, and the two countries have surprisingly good relations.

  3. Hi.

    Your use of the “more” feature has led to a missing end-blockquote tag on the main page. So everything below the entry is treated as quoted/indented!

    You probably need to end the blockquote then use “more”, then start a new blockquote for the rest of the quote. (Not sure how that will look on this page, though…?!?)


  4. Hmm, that was actually intentional as I was quoting the entire article. Sorry for the confusion…

  5. There may be an in for some constructive engagement:

    bq. “Iran asks Japan to participate in nuclear power plant projects”:http://www.crisscross.com/jp/news/365578
    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tuesday he asked Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for Japanese participation in Iran’s nuclear power plants to generate electricity, while Koizumi said he hopes Iran will gain the trust of the international community.

  6. Also, Saru and I talked about “getting Japan to engage Iran”:http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/03/02/engaging-iran/ almost exactly 1 year ago:

    bq. […]What I think is needed is a third party to act as a go-between so as to make any promises made look like they were done on even ground. Iran does not trust the US or Britian, and the US does not trust France or Germany, so I think the go-between should be Japan, with Europe playing second. The Iranians really respect the Japanese, and the Japanese have huge investments in Iran.
    So the CIA should get on the horn to Tokyo who should approach Tehran to say that it is a concerned investor looking to strengthen Iran which will strengthen its investments. Japan can then relay _needs_ not _demands_ back and forth, and starting small I think the US and Iran can work together. For example, the US can tell Iran that it will keep Pakistan on a tight leash, and protect Iran’s west side from Arab and Israeli intrusion. Iran can ask for economic benefits, relieving of sanctions, etc and offer help in Afghanistan and Southern Iraq.[…]

  7. Keep in mind that the request came from Aso. If that man demanded that I finish the sandwich I was in the middle of eating, I would have to seriously reconsider if I even wanted it anymore.

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