October 07, 2005
Rumsfeld will bypass Japan amid relocation stalemate
Asahi Shimbun reported on Thursday U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has canceled a visit to Japan planned for later this month because of a stalemate in talks on where to relocate a U.S. military base in Japan.
Bloomberg said Rumsfeld's decision not to visit Japan reflects U.S. frustration over the pace of negotiations on relocating a military heliport in Okinawa quating Koji Murata, a professor of diplomacy at Doshisha University in Kyoto, ``Washington expects Tokyo to take prompt action to promote better U.S.-Japan relations. There's likely to be some disappointment.''
Professor Murata analyzed ``Bush's domestic political situation is quite tough, while Koizumi's domestic situation is quite favorable. The U.S. waited and put off pressing Koizumi until the postal issue was resolved. Now, ashington expects action.''
Sankei Shimbun, a Japanese conservative paper, worried it might cloud the future of U.S.-Japan alliance.
The two allies had planned to draft an interim report on the realignment by the end of October so it could be approved at a summit between Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush expected in mid-November. But Sankei said this summit might be cancelled because of realignment issue.
Koizumi, who has been busy with domestic issue such as nation's postal system, has made very few statement on this military realignment issue. Sankei quoted a former Cabinet official as saying that "Koizumi sits on a good personal relationship with Bush," and concluded that it might be difficult to resolve this issue with Koizumi's time.
The current discussions on base realignment are also aimed at improving U.S-Japan military cooperation and giving Japan a bigger role as a strategic hub from which U.S. forces can respond to regional and global threats.
Posted October 7, 2005 12:42 PM
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