Celebrating the U.S.-Japan Alliance

February 17, 2010
Ambassador Roos Delivers Speech at Waseda University

About the Author: Matthew G. Fuller is a Foreign Service Officer working as Ambassador Roos' staff aide at U.S. Embassy Tokyo.

January 19, 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, and the United States Embassy in Tokyo has been deeply engaged in celebrating the U.S.-Japan Alliance and explaining its meaning and importance to the Japanese public. On the anniversary date of the signing, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, John Roos, published an op-ed piece in a leading Japanese newspaper and on Friday, January 29, he delivered a highly anticipated policy speech on the role of U.S. forces in Japan and their importance to security and prosperity in both Japan and the region.

The Waseda University Organization for Japan-U.S. Studies hosted the event, giving Ambassador Roos the opportunity to speak to Japanese college and graduate students about security and their future. Arriving at the campus, he met with university administrators prior to the event, discussing his goal of increasing exchanges and the numbers of Japanese students studying in the United States. Proceeding to the auditorium, the Ambassador stepped forward, with cameras rolling, and addressed the 400-plus audience of students, faculty, guests and journalists, focusing on the stability the U.S.-Japan alliance has brought to the region over the last 50 years, the threats facing Japan and the region today, and the importance of maintaining the alliance for the future.

Following the speech, he promised Waseda students and administrators that he would soon return and continue the dialogue on both education and the future of the U.S.-Japan Alliance. You can find more articles related to the alliance, along with a video message from Secretary of State Clinton, on a special page of the U.S. Embassy Tokyo website.



Poivre K.
February 17, 2010

Poivre writes:

This alliance between Japan et Us is very good for economy.

New Mexico, USA
June 6, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

It seems to me that our relationship with Japan is itching to take the next step many decades after WW2, and this can be noted in the voices of the people who live on Okinawa as one aspect of a broad transition. Indeed as a facet of US military transition internally in its force posture debate amid national security posture review. Comes along with the greater global posture Japan plays in security for the region, and I can only see this as a natural evolutionary process, though the focus has been on the particulars.

One might reasonably ask, "If we've got a "nuclear umbrella" over our allies, do we really need the base if it isn't integral to that umbrella?

I say the less we place targets in civilian populated areas, the more we will be serving the concept of "protecting populations".

"Off the cuff" I'd say Japan's new PM, Mr. Kan has a situation on his hands that lead to his predeccessor's resignation, and only the US can help him solve it before he too loses face.

Given the current security situation posed by North Korea I can fully understand all the reasons for it to remain operational. But are there alternatives that will adequately meet the need?

I'm sure folks have looked into it.

Well here's a theory...

There will no longer be a need to have a base on Okinawa if 'lil Kim's heir apparent "Don" of the North Korean mafia were to decide to pull a "Sidharta".

When Jong-eun considers living as his people do, perhaps the young man will find his own path to tread rather than his father's and his father before him. I don't pin any hopes at all on it, but it seems striking parallel in the curcumstantial opportunity presented to both he and a teacher of mankind. Well, we know one fellow's legacy of wisdom passed down the ages, and I doubt if Jong-eun is tooled-up to equalling the task. Back in the now, we have a little Hitler in the making.

If the rumors are true, apparently one has to kill folks and cause an international incident in order to gain "party loyalty" and ascend to power among the baddest of the bad.

But if one were looking for silver linings, investigate the many ways this young fellow can undo years of programming to think of the US and S. Korea as "the enemy".

So I want to pose a thought to him publicly along these lines...

Jong-eun will graduate to leadership status among the family of nations when he discovers the true nature of the following "life question";

"When Battleships give way to sailboats, how does the world realize its true self?"

New Mexico, USA
June 11, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Excerpt from Media Roundtable with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates from London, United Kingdom
Thu, 10 Jun 2010


Q Our new Japanese cabinet has started this week. Could you give us your reaction? And new prime minister is saying that he will go on with the agreement last month about the basing issue, and he and the defense minister and foreign minister remain in administration, which sends, I think, a kind of message to the United States. What expectations -- if you have any concerns of base issues, please give us.

SEC. GATES: Well, first of all, I'm very pleased that Minister Kitazawa is going to remain as minister. I think that the stability and continuity is of value. I've also had the opportunity now to meet with him a number of times and feel like we have a good relationship.

I think that, first of all, I applaud the prime minister's statements in terms of the basing. But now I think we have an obligation to work with our Japanese partners to see how we can together mitigate the impact in Okinawa of our military presence, whether it's having more training outside of Okinawa, whether it's noise-abatement procedures. I think there are some things that we need to look at in terms of how we can be helpful. And I think that's what we'll be doing going forward.

--End excerpt--

What impresses me most about a world leader is how willing they are to take the hard issues head on right out of the starting gate.

This is partly why President Obama has earned my trust, the other is the continuity of policy, programs and personel (including Robert Gates) that are now in their "second incarnation" under this current administration. ( In Sec. Gate's case, he may well opine that the number of his "incarnations" rivals that of the Dali Lama, but I won't presume to speak for him on that.)

I think our president will find in PM Kan a fellow just as willing as he is to risk political capital for the good of the nation.

Given what I said in this following post, I suppose that if this is a case of parallel thinking, it wouldn't be the first time it's happened on Dipnote.


"Given the security issues and the escalating tensions in the region, the circumstances don't give the Japanese PM(*) much of choice in order to provide for continuity of defensive infrastructure to safeguard the Japanese people from the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear idiocy.

Since we are going to be in Okinawa for the forseeable future, perhaps State and DOD can get together and develop a community outreach program that will endear us to the locals and mitigate the resentment of our presence.

Little league baseball or something that we can sponsor, or scholastic scolarships, cultural exchange programs...I'm sure State can come up with something not already attempted that will make a difference in local public opinion."

*( Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who was still the PM when I posted this.)


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