Japan must consider Regional Bank with China like South Korea irrespective of US pressure
Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The government of Japan must remind America that economic, political and geopolitical areas are not dependent on the desires of Washington. This applies to the Obama administration questioning the possibility that Japan may join the economic enterprise of China. Therefore, the final decision of Japan joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) must be made by political elites in Tokyo.
Recently, the government of South Korea announced that the AIIB made clear sense for the entire region therefore agreed to join the initiative of China. Political elites in Seoul acted in the interest of the nation state despite knowing that America is displeased about the AIIB.
This in itself should be noted strongly in Japan because clearly regional economic ventures are in the interest of the entire region. It doesn’t make sense therefore for Japan to remain outside its geopolitical reality. In this sense, America should be told strongly to refrain from any political pressure because Japan is an independent nation despite the close ties with Washington.
The Strait Times reports (AFP): “South Korea announced on Thursday it was joining the Chinese-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), despite United States opposition to the new multinational lender which Washington sees as a threat to the World Bank.”
South Korea made it abundantly clear that the AIIB was important in the area of international banking and assisting domestic companies in major infrastructural projects. Of equal importance, with South Korea being a founding member then this would enhance the influence of Seoul in the long-term.
Yun Byung-se, Foreign Minister of South Korea, stated: “It’s an Asian infrastructure investment bank, and Japan is an important part of Asia… We can cooperate together.”
America had understood that Japan would decline from joining the AIIB but a report by the Financial Times doubts this assessment. Since then, according to several sources, Washington is making it clear to Tokyo that America questions the viability of the AIIB based on several factors. However, the economic and loan issues related to the AIIB appears not to be the real reason. Instead, elites in Washington are more concerned about geopolitical factors. Therefore, Japan needs to re-think its stance and make a firm decision based on the interests of the land of the rising sun.
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