Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

An Equal Alliance: Learning from Canada's Wisdom
NUMATA Sadaaki  / Special Advisor for CULCON, The Japan Foundation

April 20, 2010
Japan cannot really be "equal" to the United States, the military superpower, in terms of national strength. What, then, is meant by an "equal Japan-U.S. alliance"? There are a few hints to be drawn from the experiences of Canada, where I was posted.

America is Canada's giant neighbor, ten times as large in terms of the population and the economy. In the 1960s, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said that Canada's relationship with the United States is like that of "a mouse in bed with an elephant…no matter how friendly the beast… one is affected by every twitch and grunt." According to Derek Burney, Ambassador to the United States in the early 1990s, Canadians define themselves as being "not American". And yet, Canada and America are truly inseparable. During the Cold War, Canada provided some 14,000 km of early warning and response space over the North Pole in the event of Soviet missile attack. A Canadian general is the second-in-command at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado. The United States occupies 70 % of Canada's export and 60% of its imports.

Canada's foreign policy has oscillated between two distinct poles; idealistic multilateralism centered on the United Nations and other international organisations, and continentalism focusing on the relationship with the United States. In the 1950s, the golden age of Canada's multilateral diplomacy, Lester Pearson, the External Affairs Minister, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the solution of the Suez crisis. In the 1990s, Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy was known for his pursuit of "human security", with the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Landmines to his credit. The leader who veered close to the U.S. was Brian Mulroney from the mid 1980s to early 1990s. His Conservative administration concluded the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1987, and, getting Mexico on board, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. After the simultaneous terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien chose not to participate in the war in Iraq, but dispatched Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan. The Conservative administration of Stephen Harper, who came into power in 2006, placed its priority on the United States, and has dispatched 2,500 troops to the most dangerous region around Kandahar, and the toll of Canadian Forces personnel killed has mounted to 142 to date.

Japan's circumstances differ from those of Canada. However, Japan and Canada have at least three points in common. Firstly, both are advanced industrial countries committed to freedom, democracy, the respect for human rights and the rule of law. Secondly, Japan's foreign and security policy, like Canada's, has also been pulled between the two poles of idealistic multilateralism (faith in the United Nations) and realistic bilateralism (alliance with the United States). Thirdly, neither presumes to become a superpower, but both aspire to punch above their weight, in collaboration with other countries, to influence the international community.

In a recently published book called "CANADA AMONG NATIONS 2009-2010" (edited by Fen Osler Hampson and Paul Heinbecker, McGill-Queen's University Press), Ambassador Burney suggests, regarding the U.S., that sensible advice – support where warranted, constructive criticism where Canada has a genuine difference of view – can give Canada opportunities for influence. Michael Kergin, Ambassador to the U.S, before and after 9.11, avows that, in Canada-U.S. relations, the smaller partner, always the most adversely affected by a mutual problem, must be the first to devise and argue the solution. Underlying all this is a rigorous assessment of the national interests of both sides, especially of shared interests. Such wisdom manifested itself in the FTA and NAFTA to obviate the protectionist pressures from the U. S. and the dispatching of Canadian troops to Afghanistan after refusing to join the war in Iraq.

I cannot but note the absence of a comparable perspective in the ongoing debate on the Japan-U.S, alliance in Japan. What we need is Japan's own ideas, not an outpouring of emotions, derived from a reasoned consideration of our national interests, and backed up by sufficient domestic debate, preferably resulting in a bipartisan consensus. The starting point should not be the urge to distance ourselves from the United States, but the recognition, shared by the United States, that the presence of the U.S. Forces based on the Security Treaty will continue to function as a public good in the Asia-Pacific region.

Further, the United States' shift towards multilateralism under President Obama has made the twin pursuits of alliance with the United States and multilateralism more compatible for Canada and Japan. It has thus become all the more necessary for Japan to come up with positive ideas and translate them into action with respect to such issues as peace-building in Afghanistan and Pakistan, climate change and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The writer is a former ambassador to Canada, ambassador in charge of Okinawan affairs, and ambassador to Pakistan.
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

沼田 貞昭 / 国際交流基金日米センター特別参与

2010年 4月 20日




最近出版された本(CANADA AMONG NATIONS 2009-2010)の中で、バーニー元大使は、カナダは、必要な時に米国を支持し、真に意見が異なる時は建設的な批判をするとの「分別のある」アドバイスによって米国に影響を与えることが出来ると述べている。また、9.11事件当時駐米大使を務めていたマイケル・カーギンは、同盟に何らかの問題が生じた時に被害をこうむるのは力の弱いカナダだが、だからこそカナダの方から解決策を考え、米国を説得していく必要があると述懐している。その根底にあるのは、双方の国益、なかんずく共通の利益についての冷徹な認識である。そのような知恵が、米国の保護主義圧力に対するFTA、NAFTA、そしてイラクへの参戦拒否に代るアフガニスタン派兵等に表れて来たのであろう。



一般社団法人 日本英語交流連盟

English Speaking Union of Japan > Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW) > An Equal Alliance: Learning from Canada's Wisdom