最初に Financial Times から。特に、ショッキングなのはマンガだったりします。日本は米国と中国の間で三角関係を形成しつつあるようです。
US-Japan: an easy marriage becomes a ménage à trois
By Philip Stephens
Tokyo these days is full of Americans with furrowed brows. US pre-eminence in Asia is being challenged by the rise of China. Barack Obama's administration is searching for a grand strategy to safeguard its place as the region's pivotal power. Now, Japan is challenging the terms of its long-standing security alliance with Washington.
The proximate cause of the angst is an argument about the relocation of one of the US military bases on the island of Okinawa. Behind the spat, however, is an emerging divergence of perspective. Bluntly put, the new generation of politicians that has swept to power in Japan is unwilling to accept the subservient role allotted to them by Washington.
The election victory in September of Yukio Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan marked a revolution in Japanese politics after half-a-century of virtually uninterrupted rule by the Liberal Democratic Party. The US has struggled to grasp the significance of the transfer of power from its faithful allies in the LDP to a party of political insurgents.
The military base dispute has become a lightning rod for differences about how to respond to a changing geopolitical landscape. The strategic challenge shared by Washington and Tokyo is how to engage a rising China while balancing its regional ambitions. The difficult question is how.
The US-Japan relationship has thus far been defined by US occupation, the imperative of cold-war unity, and, until recently, by unchallenged US hegemony in Asia. But the world has moved on. China has entered the bedroom, turning a comfortable marriage into an awkward ménage à.
No one is talking about tearing up the 50-year-old security agreement between Washington and Tokyo. The US military presence and nuclear guarantee offer Japan security against the immediate threat from a nuclear-armed North Korea and reassurance against China's military modernisation. The alliance simultaneously provides reassurance to Beijing about Japanese intentions and the US with a big military "footprint" in East Asia.
The psychology of the bargain, though, belongs to the world before China's rise, a disjunction evident in the base dispute. Mr Hatoyama campaigned on a pledge to revisit an agreement to relocate the Futenma marine helicopter base. Much to Washington's dismay, he has so far kept his promise.
Many in Tokyo believe a compromise will be found. Japan's defence minister has broken ranks with his boss to calm US anxieties. One senior official in Tokyo told me that a deal may be struck when Mr Obama and Mr Hatoyama attend the Copenhagen climate change conference. Yet the US administration's maladroit diplomacy has exposed deeper discord. By demanding that the DPJ elevate the former government's promise to Washington above its own pledge to Japanese voters, the US has sounded an unabashed hegemon. The scolding tone of Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, has echoes of General Douglas MacArthur's postwar imperium.
Other US officials, including Kurt Campbell, the US state department official responsible for East Asia, have been more emollient. Mr Obama offered soothing language during his Tokyo visit. However, behind the scenes, the Americans have been playing hardball by suggesting the DPJ government is calling the alliance into question.
Mr Hatoyama has added to Washington's irritation by calling for a recalibration of the US-Japan relationship to give Tokyo a more "equal" say. For good measure, he has criticised US-style "market fundamentalism" as a trigger for the global crash and suggested that Europe offers better social and economic models. The controversy over Futenma meanwhile has stirred long-standing popular unease about the rights enjoyed by the US forces.
The DPJ government has also announced that it is ending its support for the Indian Ocean naval mission supplying US-led forces in Afghanistan - though it will offset this by expanding financial aid for Afghan reconstruction.
What really seems to have alarmed Washington, however, is Mr Hatoyama's intervention in a regional debate about the architecture of a new Asian multilateralism. The prime minister's proposal for a new East Asian Community centred on China and Japan seems to exclude the US. Washington has made it clear that it does not like being excluded.
The US-educated Mr Hatoyama is not anti-American. Nor is he a born radical - he hails from a wealthy establishment family. His great grandfather, grandfather and father all held high office. Japanese politics is still substantially hereditary.
Nor, as far as one can tell, is Mr Hatoyama proposing fundamentally to weaken Japan's alliance with Washington. Listening this week to an impressive line-up of experts, ministers and officials at a series of seminars organised by the Tokyo Foundation and the German Marshall Fund of the US, the impression I took away was of a politician voicing a set of impulses rather than offering detailed policies.
Mr Hatoyama has a reputation - even among some supporters - as a big-picture politician. He seems uninterested in detail and unperturbed by inconsistency. There are plenty of people in the Tokyo political establishment who predict that, while the DPJ is here to stay, Mr Hatoyama may prove a shooting star - his present brightness prefiguring a fleeting presence.
For all that, the prime minister has been articulating an inevitable strategic shift: China's rise is forcing Japan to become more of an Asian and less of a western nation. It fears China, but is also inclined to be less submissive towards Washington. Mr Hatoyama's vision of a re-engineered partnership with the US may be hazy, but his premise is surely right.
As of now, the Americans and Japanese have a different view of their roles in the ménage. The US wants to combine its alliance with Tokyo with a strategic relationship with Beijing, acting as the region's balancing power. Japan favours a different model, acting as conciliator between America and China. Real life, of course, is unlikely to allow such simple constructs, not least because the Sino-Japanese relationship has yet to escape the dark shadows of history. But things cannot be as they were. Those brows will be furrowed for some time.
続いて、Washington Post です。
Does Japan still matter?
By Fred Hiatt
U.S.-Japan relations are in "crisis," Japan's foreign minister told me Thursday -- but I would guess that few Americans have noticed, let alone felt alarm. As China rises, Japan's economy has stalled, and its population is dwindling. The island nation -- feared during the last century first as a military power, then as an economic conqueror -- barely registers in the American imagination.
But Japan still matters. And despite the "crisis" set in motion by the electoral defeat of the party that had ruled for half a century, the United States has more to fear from Japanese defeatism -- from its own uncertainty about whether it still matters -- than from the assertiveness of its new government.
At a seminar here this week organized by the German Marshall Fund and the Tokyo Foundation, and in separate interviews, one Japanese after another delivered variations on gloom, doom and pessimism. Polls confirm that this is no anomaly; in one taken by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper last spring, the three words offered most often to describe the current era were "unrest," "stagnation" and "bleak," as the paper's editor in chief, Yoichi Funabashi, noted recently in Foreign Affairs.
"Japan's presence in the international community is rapidly weakening and waning," one prominent businessman said this week. "We have to bring Japan back to high growth, but that possibility now is nil. . . . There are heaps of difficulties facing Japan . . . insurmountable . . . Japanese people are so anxious. . . . We don't need to remain a major country. . . . 'Small-nation Japan' is my thinking."
Japan's fiscal challenges are daunting, as is its declining birthrate. Yet the negativity seems overblown. Japan retains the world's second-largest national economy and will be third or fourth biggest for decades to come. It is the world's second-largest aid donor, the fifth-biggest military spender (despite a constitution that bars the waging of war) and a technological powerhouse. It is a crucial player, and frequently America's closest ally, in international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. And as the longest-standing and most successful democracy in the non-Western world, it is a hugely important role model, and potentially a leader, in supporting freedom and the rule of law.
That potential was sharply enhanced by the landslide victory of the Democratic Party of Japan in August, ending what one speaker at the seminar called the Liberal Democratic "shogunate." The Democrats have promised to disrupt the cozy relationship among bureaucrats, the ruling party and industry, and to govern with more public input and accountability.
But they're also disrupting the U.S.-Japan relationship. An agreement to realign U.S. Marine bases in Okinawa has been put on hold, despite what U.S. officials took as a promise from Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama ("Trust me," he privately told President Obama, according to Japanese officials) to implement the deal. The Democrats' coalition partners, as well as voters in Okinawa, loathe the pact.
"So we are in a situation where the U.S.-Japan alliance is being tested," Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada acknowledged.
Democratic Party officials have said they want to put the U.S.-Japan relationship on a more equal footing, and Hatoyama and others have at times gone further, suggesting a desire to improve relations with China while downgrading those with the United States. But Okada dismissed suggestions that the suspension of the base agreement reflects a deeper-seated resentment of America or a fundamental questioning of the alliance.
Citing North Korea's nuclear weapons and China's growing military, Okada said, "I don't think anyone would think that Japan on its own can face up to such risks. That is why we need the U.S.-Japan alliance. I don't think any decent politician would doubt that as a fact."
Frustrated by Hatoyama's amateurish handling of the issue, Obama administration officials are scrambling to come up with the right mix of tolerance for the coalition's inexperience and firmness on implementing an agreed-upon deal. They're right to insist on the importance of the military alliance, long a force for stability throughout the region.
But they shouldn't lose sight of the larger picture. For years now the United States has been trying to engage China's government in strategic dialogues and high-level commissions. It should do no less with Japan, its most important democratic ally in Asia, and the advent of an untested government still feeling its way provides both reason and opportunity to do so.
So far, Japan's new government has not defined policies that could restore economic growth and lift the country out of its funk. But America should be hoping that it can. And if it wants Japan to regain some confidence, it makes sense to treat Japan as though it matters. Because it does.
海外メディアの最後に、New York Times です。
Obama's Japan Headache
By Roger Cohen
President Obama has a Japan problem. I know, it's not an issue that keeps him up at night. But when U.S. ties with its most important Asian ally get ugly over security rather than semiconductors, the world must be changing.
Certainly Japan is. Having voted out the shoguns of the Liberal Democratic Party who ruled for more than a half-century, and declared war on the bureaucracy that greased the pork-barrel deals of that long dominion, the Japanese are taking a new look at the power that wrote their Constitution and underwrote their assumptions: the United States.
As a result there are troubles. Reliable Japan is now restive Japan. It's talking about a more "equal partnership" - read less subservient. Acquiescence has given way to argument.
I find that normal in that Japan has just gone through a political change as dramatic in its way as any post-Cold-War demolition of a single-party dominated, American-backed status quo.
Still, the troubles between the world's two largest economies are proving unexpectedly sharp. Ministers here shake their heads and mutter "really bad." On the face of it, Obama and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who guided the upstart Democratic Party to victory last September, have much in common, including change. Bad blood was not inevitable.
Both leaders swept into office on the back of middle class malaise at falling incomes and job insecurity. The Japanese salaryman and the American working stiff have shared a lousy decade.
Both leaders hover in the center despite left-of-center inclinations and ideals. Both face the task of adjusting their countries' expectations to a world in which their relative power is eroding. True, Obama was the ultimate outsider whereas Hatoyama is the scion of a Kennedy-like political dynasty (and heir to the Bridgestone tire fortune). But shared concerns might have trumped differences of background.
Instead, trust has dissolved faster than wasabi in soy sauce. The spark has been the future of a Marine air station in the southern island of Okinawa, where local feelings run high over the noise, crime and pollution many associate with the U.S. military presence. The deeper issue is more complex: growing Japanese restiveness over postwar dependency on Washington of which the most visible symbol is the 37,000 American troops here.
Hatoyama has given voice to that chafing. He campaigned with a pledge of greater assertiveness, questioning a 2006 deal to relocate the Futenma air station to a pristine site in the north of the island (environmentalists in his party are incensed), suggesting the base should be moved off the island or even out of Japan. He has also talked about a revision of the Constitution whose Article 9 denies Japan a full-fledged military.
"We take the U.S.-Japan alliance very seriously, it's the heart of our foreign policy, although Hatoyama used to talk about an alliance without permanent bases and that may confuse our U.S. friends a bit," said Akihisa Nagashima, the vice minister of defense. "Now I believe Hatoyama does not think we should kick out U.S. troops - never, not at all."
But doubts have been sown on the American side. They've multiplied through misunderstanding. When the president was here last month, Hatoyama appealed for trust, Obama said sure, but they never cleared up what the mutual trust was about. To Hatoyama, it was the future of the alliance. To Obama it was the implementation of the $26 billion 2006 Okinawa accord.
That was a disastrous little ambiguity. Now everyone's unhappy. A high-level working group on the Marine base, announced by Obama, has fallen apart.
My conversations here suggest Hatoyama's not going to make a final decision for months, perhaps not before upper house elections next July that could liberate him of his left-wing junior coalition partners. Richard Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state who's been running around town, is only the most visible expression of U.S. impatience. Obama shares it.
"I can't change the political situation here," Nagashima said, referring to the Okinawan anger and coalition pressure on Hatoyama. "I really want our American friends to accept and work with us despite these difficulties."
That's sound advice. Having just taken 90-plus days over an Afghan decision, Obama can't dismiss Hatoyama as a ditherer. He's taken the reins after more than five decades of the L.D.P shogunate. He needs time - and the whiff of a campaign financing scandal is not helping him.
The deeper forces behind Hatoyama's victory and the Futenma imbroglio are these. Japan, like Germany before it, wants to move out from under American tutelage. Unlike Germany, however, it inhabits a part of the world where a Cold War vestige - nuclear-armed North Korea - endures and fast-rising China with its growing military is just across the water.
In short, the need for the Japan-U.S. alliance is real even if the Japanese urge for liberation from its more demeaning manifestations is growing. That says to me that everyone should take a deep breath. U.S. impatience should be curbed along with the pie-in-the-sky "world of fraternity" musings of elements in Hatoyama's party. Be flexible on Futenma but unyielding on the strategic imperative binding America and Japan.
注目すべきなのは、Financial Times を除いて、Washington Post と New York Times は東京特派員が解説していることです。中身については、私もこれに似た経験があるんですが、試験の前に質問に来た学生に対して、「こんなことも分からないのか、アホ、バカ、マヌケ」と叱り飛ばすわけにもいかず、それなりに親切丁寧に解説を加えるものの、「どうして、こんなことが理解できないんだろう」と極めて強い苛立ちを覚える心境が、行間によく表れています。きわめて辛抱強い文章の典型といえます。