Saturday, January 23, 2010

Japan-U.S. Security Treaty 50 Years On

This past Tuesday marked the 50 year anniversary of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The last 50 years has seen our (American) relationship with Japan change multiple times and today we may again be in a transition period.

Four of the AECs including myself had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by the Japan-Society in New York City on the day of the anniversary in their building between 1st and 2nd on 47th street. As part of an audience of 60 or so other members, many from businesses and governmental organizations, we were able to see an intergenerational panel discussion about the current and future relationship between the U.S. and Japan. We heard from three speakers who have had an impact on US-Japan relations the past, as well as three younger speakers who look to contribute to the relations in the future.

Some of the talk revolved around the current Futenma issue, but the panelists stressed that the relationship is beyond Futenma. A particularly interesting comment was mentioned by Mr. Evans Revere who proclaimed that the U.S. can only go so far in pressuring Japan and that in the end it is Japan's territory. Although the U.S. Defense Department may not be extremely happy, he again pointed out that our alliance is larger than Futenma. That in itself displays some of the misunderstandings between the two sides since it seems like the Japan side is stuck pondering the implications of the actions they want to take, fearful of how the U.S. may react.

All of the panelists agreed that Futenma is just a bump on the road of our long relationship. A few pointed out that in the past we have had much bigger issues come between our two countries and we still have persevered. Another panelist exclaimed that these bumps were actually indicative of an excellent relationship between our two countries; the turbulence is a result of the high expectations on both sides from each other and the rest of the world.

All in all, I left the event looking forward to the future of the two countries. Although JASC has an incredibly diverse delegate/alumni base, I'm hopeful that we'll be making contributions to the relationship in the future in one facet or another.

You can see the official information (Who the panelists were, etc.) about the event here!

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