Permissible Arms

Japan and Afghanistan

Posted in afghanistan by Karaka on 13 October 2009

I was commenting with Madhu from OnParkStreet about the dearth of news on Japan (and India)’s involvement in Afghanistan, and this morning the Guardian decided to take up the charge:

Japan’s determination to offer new, non-military solutions to Afghanistan’s problems was evident at the weekend when the foreign minister, Katsuya Okada, made a surprise visit to Kabul to discuss long-term reconstruction with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. Japan has already committed itself to paying the Afghan police force’s salaries for six months and is funding several education projects that it hopes will weaken the lure of the Taliban among disaffected Afghan men.

Although the US and Britain have urged Japan to extend its refuelling mission beyond January, Washington has indicated it will accept a withdrawal in return for deeper involvement in Afghanistan’s reconstruction. Among the extra measures being considered by Japan, which has pledged $2bn in aid over the last eight years, is job training for former Taliban fighters.

For foreign affairs nerds, the changes coming out of Japan post-election are really fascinating. Japan and the US have had a pretty interdependent relationship since post-WWII, and it looks like PM Yukio Hatoyama’s DJP are committed to shaking things up. But it’s worth noting that Japan has had a monetary investment in Afghanistan from 2002, and this would represent a fairly significant uptick in Japan’s involvement there, particularly since it would include personnel.

And furthermore, Japan is looking to boot out more of the US presence in its own nation; it’s something that has been talked about for years but never implemented. Hatoyama seems so far to be sticking to his political commitments.

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2 Responses

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  1. onparkstreet said, on 13 October 2009 at 17:05

    Hey, cool post (obviously I would say that).

    I also saw this at the AEI defense blog:

    “China’s growing influence in Sri Lanka is consistent with the PRC’s efforts to expand its economic influence in poor and developing countries around the world, most notably in Latin America and Africa. But the case of Sri Lanka merits special attention. One important factor is its strategic location–the country is situated at the intersection of many critical sea lanes: to Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and South East Asia. Furthermore, Colombo is only a few hours by air from several important hubs including New Delhi, Dubai, Jakarta, Singapore, and Karachi. It’s no wonder that the country served as an important trading post for centuries, and that the Dutch, Portuguese, and British all treasured the island.”

    Hmmm, the world sure is changing and changing all the time…..

    – Madhu

    • karakapend said, on 13 October 2009 at 18:13

      I saw that this morning too–I kind of take what comes out of the AEI with reservation, but it was a pretty good take on the situation.

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