Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Balancing Asia with an old friend


There was no U.S. representative at a recent summit of Asian leaders but, one official told me, Washington still played a leading role behind the scenes at the meetings held in the Thai seaside town of Hua Hin.

A top Japanese government official told us as we flew south with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to Thailand that his boss would tell Asian counterparts that the U.S. “involvement” would be important when he pushes for his idea of an East Asian Community. ASIA-SUMMIT

When we arrived in Hua Hin, Hatoyama did just that. He pitched his idea of forming an East Asian Community when he met with his Asian counterparts, but in almost every meeting, he started out by explaining the U.S.-Japan alliance was at the centre of Tokyo’s diplomacy.

That was in contrast to his comments at an earlier meeting in Beijing with counterparts from China and South Korea, when Hatoyama said Japan has been somewhat too dependent on the United States and wanted to focus more on Asia.