Friday, September 23, 2005

Icing on the cake

or in Japan I guess it would be a sweet bean roll. The LDP victory has influenced the DPJ party in ways positive for the U.S.:

"For much of the past two years, Koizumi's DPJ critics have squealed about Iraq and questioned his buddy-buddy rapport with President Bush. In its recent election manifesto, the DPJ pledged to withdraw Japanese troops from Iraq by Christmas. Meanwhile, party leader Katsuya Okada signaled his opposition to America's Futenma Air Base being stationed in Okinawa.

Immediately after the Koizumi landslide, Okada resigned as DPJ boss. His replacement, Seiji Maehara, 43, is a well-known security expert and longtime favorite of U.S. Japan hands such as Richard Armitage. The new DPJ chief favors a more robust Japanese military posture overseas. To that end, he has repeatedly suggested tinkering with Article 9 of the constitution--which renounces war--to afford Japan the right of collective self-defense. Tsuneo Watanabe, an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, reports from Tokyo that Maehara is 'a very strong supporter of the U.S.-Japan alliance.'"

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