February 19, 2014 6:49 pm
Many officials in Tokyo regard Washington as having virtually capitulated to China’s unilateral move. They also regularly bemoan the absence of “Japan hands” around President Barack Obama, who has tended to surround himself with people far more steeped in China. More than one official in Tokyo speaks of a growing sense that Washington can no longer be relied upon to support Japan.
There is an irony to all of this that will not be lost on Mr Abe. Ever since 1950, Washington has been urging Japan to rearm and to adopt the sort of defence posture Japan’s prime minister is now advocating. No sooner was the ink dry on the 1947 pacifist constitution, written under the orders of General Douglas MacArthur, than the Americans regretted forcing Japan to forever renounce “the right of belligerency”. John Foster Dulles, appointed to negotiate the end of the US occupation, urged Japan to build an army of 300,000 to 350,000 men. China had gone communist and the US was fighting a war in Korea. It no longer suited the US to have a neutered “client state” in east Asia.