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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 13:45 10/04/2007
News Review #414: October 4, 2007

Fukuda Says Japan Should Consider Cutting Myanmar Aid

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Fukuda Says Japan Should Consider Cutting Myanmar Aid (10/03/2007)


It is reported in the newspaper (see the link above) that Prime Minister Fukuda said the Japanese government should consider cutting at least some aid to Myanmar, because the Myanmar government's handling of the killing of a Japanese journalist is not satisfactory at all. His statement came one day after Foreign Minister Komura's announcement on cancellation of plans to give about 550 million yen to build some public facilities in that country. At the same time, however, Prime Minister Fukuda added that we should "carefully consider" such a measure because of the humanitarian nature of Japanese aid to Myanmar.

In such an ambivalent statement, we can see the dilemma that Prime Minister Fukuda is facing in the field of foreign policy, especially toward Asia, which is often regarded as one of his strong points, compared to the former Koizumi-Abe administrations. In fact, the dilemma is not just with Myanmar, but has now become apparent in dealing with North Korea, as the US is said to be on the verge of agreeing with North Korea on the cancellation of labeling that country as a terrorist nation, regardless of whether the abduction issue with Japan is resolved or not. If that happens, what would Mr. Fukuda do? He would have to do something politically, but it is not clear at all what he could ever do in that kind of situation.

Many observers have pointed out that Mr. Fukuda's weaknesses are in the area of domestic policies such as public pension and agricultural problems as well as Japan-US relations such as anti-terrorism activities in the Indian Ocean. However, it is now a distinct possibility that Prime Minister Fukuda could fail in his Asia policy, as more urgent problems relevant to Japan are unfolding in Asia than anywhere else.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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