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English>>Foreign Affairs

Japan lost at sea among shifting priorities

By Zhang Yong (Global Times)

09:44, September 11, 2012

Japanese decision-makers are having a difficult time. Officials are facing many problems in foreign relations, such as Japan's territorial disputes with China, South Korea and Russia. At home, they are under the multiple pressures of post-disaster reconstruction, economic recovery and the relocation of the US marine base in Futenma, Okinawa.

Japan's political situation is unstable and its foreign relations have been frustrated. Its disordered decision-making system has attracted much criticism. Recently, Japan announced the rapid replacement of its ambassadors to China, South Korea and the US. According to Kyodo News, the replacement of three important ambassadors hoped to solve disordered diplomatic relations resulting from territorial disputes. But after this move, where should Japan go?

The current period represents a momentous turning point in the history of Japan. Japan is facing an important task of correctly locating its position on the world stage. Outdated ideas, systems and policies require reflection, amendment, and even reconstruction. These adjustments should meet the requirements of the times.

Recently, a subcommittee, which Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda belongs to, published a report. This report has pointed out clearly that in the future, Japan will face several serious challenges including a lack of decision-making capacity, inadequate input of foreign policies and a shortage of talents. Japan should overcome these difficulties and meet challenges head-on.

It should promote mutual understanding both at the national level and for ordinary citizens, as well as adjusting Japan's foreign policies.

Among all problems the report has analyzed, the lack of decision-making capacity is the most serious one. When delivering his policy speech in January, Noda has said that Japan should get rid of "indecisive politics."

Japan is at a crossroads. Although Noda has repeatedly expressed that he will follow the former prime minister Masayoshi Ohira's policy practices, it seems that he lacks wisdom in setting foreign policies. Ohira followed an elliptical philosophy of diplomacy. He took a tolerant and patient attitude in both domestic and foreign politics.

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