The U.S. 2012 Presidential Election Campaign Has Started

The rise of wariness against China

Prior to analyzing Obama’s policy toward Japan, let me comment on the history of U.S. policy toward Japan after the Second World War. “Containment”, which deprives Japan of autonomous national defense capacity, has been the U.S.’s basic policy since then. Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, in which the renunciation of war, war potential and the right of belligerency are stated, was fixed to reflect the policy.

At first, the U.S. adopted “double containment” which is the policy to prevent Japan from becoming a real independent state, and then containing the Soviet Union that used to oppose the U.S, by making use of Japan. For that purpose, the U.S. made Japan establish the Self-Defense Forces, which functions as a supplementary unit for the American forces. It enables the U.S. not only to deprive Japan of an autonomous defense capacity, but also to gain influence over the Soviet Union. The double containment policy began in the era of President Truman, and continued until the early stages of the Nixon Administration.

After the latter half of the Nixon Government, the U.S. then changed the policy to “joint containment” whereby the U.S. and China collaboratively contain Japan. The two nations conspired for their mutual benefit and agreed on the following points:

  • *Not allow Japan to hold a nuclear deterrence capability.
  • *Block Japan from holding an autonomous defense capacity by continuing the stationing of American forces in Japan.
  • *Not allow Japan to have a voice in the issues of the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan.

Since then, the joint containment has underlain the U.S.’s policy toward Japan, although it was temporary returned to the double containment in the era of President Reagan.

The Obama Government is also adopting the joint containment policy, with the idea that the stability in East Asia can be maintained in cooperation with China, because for him, the primary unstable factor in East Asia is Japan. In the past two years and a half, the increase of the production of nuclear warheads by North Korea has been ignored. It is because there is a policy that the U.S. does not arm Japan with nuclear weapons, even if North Korea has them.

However, the top brass of the U.S. Navy and the Marines have been dissatisfied with the policy. They think that the unstable factor is China, not Japan, and have increased the armaments of the Marines. Indeed, in recent years, the expansion in armaments of the Chinese army is remarkable, and it has developed new weapons, assuming conflict with the U.S. In addition, the current war expenditure is twenty-two times as much as that of twenty-one years ago. The pace of the increase is double every four or five years. If the current pace continues, the scale of China’s real war expenditure will be the world’s highest after ten more years. China does not need to do that if it has no intension of challenging the U.S. Thus it is clear that China is thinking of driving the U.S. out of East Asia.

Considering the above-mentioned facts, the American people have become skeptical about the joint containment policy toward Japan, and a suspicion and rival consciousness against China has arisen. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander in chief of the United States Pacific Fleet remarked: “I am suspicious about China’s actions”. Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs is also the China skeptic. Such important changes are beginning to take place.

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The U.S. 2012 Presidential Election Campaign Has Started
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