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    Are we dancing now?

    Meaty Fly (who’s commented on a few posts below and will presumably be another reader who can tell me when I mangle my translations from Japanese) has this post about Sino-Japanese relations and how their development affects US interests. He (I assume) quotes several Japanese news sources to make the following point, specifically with regard to a proposed natural gas pipeline but also with wider implications. I’ve left out the links in his original post:

    The United States is the world’s biggest oil consumer; China is in second place and rising. Japan depends on the Middle East for 90% of its oil. Thus, the stakes are high in all directions. The pipeline to Japan may also serve U.S. interests, because it “would also be a strategic asset for Russia, allowing it to export to other Asian countries and perhaps the US west coast.”

    Tensions between China and Japan over energy don’t stop there. Japan is embroiled in a dispute with China over offshore natural gas fields.

    Since US businesses and MBA programs stopped thinking of Japan’s management and bureaucratic practices as sexy, and there are no more human interest features to write about how Japan, Inc., is going to leave the hard-working American family impoverished, events in Japan don’t seem to make the news as much in the States anymore. Even here, little incidents between Japan and Korea, or Japan and China, over disputed islands and ships passing in the night are so frequent that they can obscure potentially big stories like these. One hopes that the US government is giving them due attention.

    I don’t really expect things to spiral out of control soon, given present conditions. Still, resentments run old and deep in this part of the world, even if you just think back as far as World War II. The generation that actually lived through the War is dying off, but in the last decade, several high-profile controversies–the proposed reparations suit by Korean comfort women, the dismissive trashing of Iris Chang’s book The Rape of Nanking by Japanese historians, the whitewashing of Japanese aggression in its public school history textbooks–have kept the ill-feeling simmering. As far as strategic allies in the Pacific Rim go, China has a regime we flat-out can’t trust; Korea and Taiwan (the latter of which could be forgiven for not trusting us entirely) have their own very immediate defense problems to worry about and won’t have the ability to project much force for the foreseeable future. Japan is still basically the only game in town, no matter how fast the Chinese economy is growing.

    2 Responses to “Are we dancing now?”

    1. Meaty Fly says:

      What is up with the daily yomiuri english version? If you try to link to it, the link ends up taking you to their home page instead of the article you wanted.
      Anyway, you should check out the article “China scores own goal” or something like that. It’s about the strong anti-Chinese sentiments expressed at Japan’s soccer matches.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Yeah, that’s the way they’ve got it (the Yomiuri page) set up; you just change fields within the page. I’ll look for the article.
      Actually, my assistant at work was originally a China specialist before he married a Japanese woman and settled here. He’s been saying since a few years ago that his friends who still see a lot of China have noticed a real upswing in on-the-street aggressive nationalism. That’s just anecdotal, obviously, but given the swiftness of the economic changes, it wouldn’t surprise me. And Japan has it’s own issues in reverse, of course.
      All of which is to say: I’ll look at the article; thanks.