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  5. Failures in the Democratic Administration?fs Diplomacy and Politician-Led Government

2013 Vol.1
Failures in the Democratic Administration?fs Diplomacy and Politician-Led Government

2013/01/01

From the outset, the Democratic administration’s diplomacy invited distrust of its ability to lead the government due to the Hatoyama administration’s confusing responses to the issue of relocating the Futenma Air Station, which has undermined the relationship between Japan and the United States. In addition, Japan has faced a series of territorial challenges from neighboring countries due partially to a weak administrative footing. Particularly with regard to the issues surrounding the Senkaku Islands, Japan’s responses in 2010 and 2012 were failures in crisis management. The relationship between Japan and China is extremely weak today, with its foundation, which was created with the 1972 Japan-China joint statement, crumbling. It cannot be said that voters wanted a shift to a Democratic administration in the hope of foreign and defense policy reform. However, with a landslide victory in a lower-house election, the Democratic administration is pursuing complete reform in domestic and diplomatic issues regardless of the high costs of policy shifts and is adhering to the notion of a politician-led government. This paper examines the diplomacy conducted by the Democratic administration based on an analysis of four cases, with a full understanding of the limitations of discussing ongoing historical events. Considered first are the issue of relocating the Futenma Air Station and the concept of an East Asian Community, and problems in the diplomatic process immediately after the change of administration are examined. The diplomacy conducted by the Democratic administration, the potential results of its defense policy, and problems in the Democratic Party’s responses to the issues surrounding the Senkaku Islands are then discussed. The concluding section considers the proper form of a politician-led government, as a lesson from the Democratic administration’s diplomacy, and it discusses Japan’s relationships with the United States and China and the direction of Japan’s policy toward the Asian region that are expected of the most recent administration.

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