Thursday, September 30, 2010

Japan's Finally Got Balls!

It seems Japan is finally burying the ghosts of its defeat in the World War II. Japan's new found assertiveness was on prominent display in the last few weeks, shedding its traditional, pacifist image.
The assertiveness was on show at the Senkaku Islands, which is at the centre of a three-way dispute between Japan, China and Taiwan, though the islands are currently under Japanese control.
A Chinese fishing trawler off the coast of the Senkaku Islands was ordered to stop fishing by the Japanese Coast Guard, when the trawler collided into the coast guard vessel. The captain was arrested and was released only after 2 full weeks of detention by Japan.
China did the predictable. It resorted to economic arm-twisting by restricting exports of critical rare earths for the Japanese electronics industry. Despite the release of the trawler's skipper, China has consistently demanded an apology from Japan, which is unlikely to be forthcoming.
And last week, Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev visited China - the agenda included energy security and a joint declaration to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, which ruffled Japanese feathers!
Medvedev was scheduled to return to Moscow via the Kuril Islands, which is at the centre of a half-century old dispute between Russia and Japan.
Japan did the unthinkable by issuing a terse démarche to the Russian envoy in Tokyo. That was indirect message to China - that even the possibility of Sino-Russian alliance is undoubtedly not kosher at all!
Japan has finally rediscovered its balls.
Japan's attitude augurs well for Asia, where a potential NATO-type alliance centered around South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and India can be an effective counterweight to Chinese hegemony till the next superpower-in-waiting, India, is ready to take global centerstage!

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