February 28, 2003

Nishida Speaks On Japan/U.S. Relations

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Ambassador Yoshihiro Nishida, Consul General of Japan in New York, spoke to a full Uris Hall G08 yesterday.

The lecture, entitled “Japan-US Relations: Global Partnership in a Post-9-11 World,” included such topics as Japan’s relationship to the United States following Sept. 11, Japan’s relationship with North Korea and Japan’s position on Iraq.

“Since 9/11, we’ve very much wanted to have a representative of Japan speak with us,” said Prof. John Whitman, linguistics, and director of the East Asian program.

Nishida noted that North Korea is a huge danger to the peace and stability of the Asian-Pacific region. “Of all the challenges facing the Japan-US alliance, the thorniest is that posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [North Korea],” he said.

Nishida also observed that there are serious problems with normalizing relations with North Korea because of its abduction of Japanese citizens.


“[Japan’s] Prime Minister [Junichiro] Koizumi has made it crystal clear that Japan will never provide economic assistance until normalization talks are successfully completed, adding that this can never come to pass unless the security issues and abduction issues are fully resolved,” Nishida said.

According to Nishida, the United States would play a very important role in addressing this problem due to the special relationship that the United States and Japan have. This relationship is a result of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Under the treaty, which Japan agreed to after World War II, the United States will defend Japan if it is attacked. Japan, for its part, will provide logistical support to the United States troops.

“Few would dispute that the Japan-U.S. security treaty has been the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asian-Pacific region,” Nishida said. “The basis of mutual cooperation and security provided by the treaty has helped Japan develop an international agenda that is devoted to economic assistance … and human security,” Nishida added.

Japan’s role in the world has changed greatly since the events of Sept. 11, which left 24 Japanese citizens dead — 23 at the World Trade Center and one in the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. After the attack, Japan’s government, private sector and citizens contributed over $50 billion for disaster relief.

“On Oct. 29, 2001, after much debate, the Japanese Parliament approved the Anti-Terrorism Special Measure Law. “It enables Japan, for the first time since World War II, to dispatch its self-defense forces, planes and ships beyond its immediate surroundings,” Nishida said.

He also stated that Japan stands with the United States on the issue of Iraq. “We must work together to make concerted and unified efforts to address it,” he said.

“It is Iraq that holds the key to whether or not this issue can be resolved peacefully, and time has just about run out.”

Nishida added that the international community must be united. “It is also crucial that the United Nations Security Council act to put strong pressure on Iraq. If the Security Council fails to do so, it will not only damage the credibility of the United Nations, but will also send the wrong message to Saddam Hussein.”

Archived article by David Hillis