Obama: US and Japan "have been and will continue to be equal partners"; Obama says he will be honoured to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki;
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • US President Obama, on a visit to Japan during the week stressed that US and Japan "have been and will continue to be equal partners." Obama and PM Hatoyama discussed a range of issues including the state of the bilateral relations, Afghanistan, nuclear non-proliferation, the economic situation and the status of the US military base at Okinawa. Obama at a joint press conference with Hatoyama asserted that US-Japan relationship is "a foundation for security and prosperity."1

    There has been growing opposition to certain aspects of the bilateral ties, especially over the Okinawa base. Over 21,000 people protested against the planned relocation of the US military base within Okinawa Prefecture ahead of Obama's visit.2

    Obama, in an interview with NHK ahead of his visit, also stated that he would be honoured to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese cities devastated by atomic bombs during World War II.3

    In a related development, over 8,000 US military personnel are participating in ‘Annualex 21G’ war games off the coast of Japan, along with personnel of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF), from November 10-18. The exercises will focus on aspects of air, undersea and surface warfare, as well as command and control aspects.4

    Reports meanwhile noted that the Japanese government’s decision to give $5 billion in aid to Afghanistan may come in for criticism, because no decision was taken on sending Self-Defense Forces personnel to that country. The Japanese refueling missions in support of US-led coalition operations are scheduled to end in January 2010.5

    Tokyo termed as “extremely regrettable” and a violation of UN Security Council resolutions reports that North Korea had finished reprocessing about 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods at its Yongbyon nuclear complex.6

    In other developments, PM Hatoyama at the Japan-Mekong Summit in Tokyo from November 6-7 pledged $5.6 billion to the countries of the Mekong region. Analysts noted that the aid package was aimed at countering growing Chinese investments in the region, including mines and rubber plantations in Laos as well as increasing trade with Myanmar.7