GLOCOM Platform-IISE Joint Seminar: Summary
Takahiro MIYAO (Professor, GLOCOM, and Head, Japanese Institute of Global Communications)
Yoshihiro Tsurumi, Professor of the City University of New York, gave a talk on "Iraq and Japan-U.S. Relations" at the New Year's Special Seminar, jointly hosted by the Japanese Institute of Global Communications and the Institute of International Socio-Economic Research (IISE) at GLOCOM Hall on January 29, 2004. After a brief introduction by Tadahiro Sekimoto, Chairman of the IISE, Professor Tsurumi made an hour-long presentation and held another hour of extensive discussion with the audience, moderated by Takahiro Miyao of GLOCOM. The following is a summary of Professor Tsurumi's talk:
"Regarding Iraq, it is a fiction that the Bush people decided to attack Iraq after 9.11. They prepared a blueprint for occupying Iraq right after the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, and waited until the right moment to exploit it for their political purposes, such as controlling both Houses by Republicans and reelecting Bush as President. What they are trying to achieve is to make Iraq a permanent military base for the U.S. and also to control the output and price of crude oil. On the other hand, Democrats are becoming increasingly critical of the Bush administration's handling of Iraq and the economy, and more united around John Kerry as a credible and electable candidate. As a result, the presidential election is probably not going to be as one-sided as some people predicted."
"Regarding Japan's role, it is a mistake for Japan to send its Self Defense Forces to Iraq without the legitimacy of the Iraq war and Japan's troop dispatch. For that purpose, it is essential that the U.N. be involved more fully in the Iraq affair. At the same time Japan should maintain its own stance towards the Middle East and other regions with crude oil, which is so crucial for Japan's survival. Above all, Japan should take the initiative to deal with North Korea by telling the U.S. to have direct negotiations with North Korea for a mutual non-aggression treaty in return for North Korea's abandonment of missiles and nuclear weapons, while Japan can give economic and technical assistance to North Korea if it helps to solve those problems. However, these steps are not being taken by the Koizumi administration because it lacks a clear vision for Japan. There is a problem with Japan's political leadership, and political change is necessary both in Japan and in the U.S."
After Professor Tsurumi's presentation, a lively discussion took place, mostly focusing on the military condition in Iraq and the political situation in the U.S. Although some participants seemed to be taking different positions from Professor Tsurumi's, there was a clear sense of appreciation and satisfaction among the audience after listening to such a candid talk and participating in such a frank discussion on the crucially important issue for today's Japan.
(A Japanese summary of Professor Tsurumi's talk is available at http://www.i-ise.com/jp/symposium/sym_20040129.html)