Noda goes to Washington – Japan-U.S. Summit expected to produce Asia-Pacific realignment


Japanese Prime Minister Noda and U.S. President Obama meeting last November during the Asia-Pacific economic summit in Hawaii

TOKYO (majirox news) — The Washington DC summit between Japanese Prime Minister Noda and US President Obama, which will take place between April 29 ann May 2, is expected to reveal a re-ordering of relations in the Asia-Pacific region.

They will discuss a number of bilateral, regional and global issues, including the economy, trade, energy, space and the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, including the planned transfer of U.S. forces from Okinawa.

The bilateral summit is the first to be held in Washington since the Democratic Party of Japan took power in 2009, ending nearly half a century of rule by the Liberal Democratic Party.

There will a strengthening of the the relationship between Japan and the United States in regard to the economy and security, according to Masaru Sato, assistant press secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“In the Asia pacific, we are going to compare notes and discuss how we view the security in the region,” he said. “We believe a positive U.S. Alliance is critically important. It is a public good for insuring peace and stability in the region and to appropriately respond to the drastically changing situation. We may also discuss our joint response to the missile launch that was carried out a few weeks ago by North Korea and collaborate further bilaterally on the issue.”

Sato sees this as being an important event. “This is going to be a very significant visit in terms of announcing to the rest of the world where our future alliance will be headed. This will be done in an appropriate form, but I cannot announce by getting ahead of them, please wait until the summit takes place.”

There are those, however, who see this summit as being merely a ceremonial occasion that will not achieve anything of lasting value.

According to Takeshi Koyama, a professor of Foreign Policy at Akita University, “We have problems with the TTP, Trans Pacific Partnership, with the U.S. Futemna Air Base and the relocation to Guam, so we cannot expect too much from those issues. But the relation between the two countries has dramatically improved since the issue of the Senkaku Islands and the earthquake and tsunami in which the U.S. sent Marines to help the Japanese victims there.”

Of all those leading the Democratic Party of Japan, Noda, whose last meeting with Obama was last November during the Asia-Pacific economic summit in Hawaii, is said to have the friendliest attitude toward the U.S.

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