WASHINGTON--Japan should act in accordance with its world standing and address problems in its relations with South Korea, according to a report on the future of the Japan-U.S. alliance by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
South Korea has long accused Japan of failing to acknowledge fully its responsibilities dating from its 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean Peninsula.
"It is essential for Japan to confront the historical issues that continue to complicate relations" with South Korea, the report says.
It says the trilateral relationship with the United States is suffering too, and urges Washington to "exert full diplomatic efforts to diffuse tensions" between Tokyo and Seoul.
Titled "The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Anchoring Stability in Asia," the report is co-authored by Richard Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state, and Joseph Nye, a professor of political science at Harvard University. Both men are respected for their grasp of issues concerning Japan.
The authors address a broad range of issues, including energy, trade and security; and offer comprehensive recommendations on what can be done to improve stability.
This includes expanding informal contacts, such as private talks by a tripartite dialogue of experts, to help resolve historical problems.
Meanwhile, the report says the three nations have common interests in the region and will have a more effective foreign policy when they apply it together.
"Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul should pool their diplomatic capital to jointly deter North Korean pursuit of nuclear weapons and help shape a regional environment best suited to respond to China's" emergence as a major power.
It says Beijing may be expanding its list of core territorial interests, and appears to be on the verge of adding both the South China Sea and the disputed Senkaku Islands to declared interests such as Tibet and Taiwan. The Senkaku islands are administered by Japan; they are called Diaoyu by China, and are additionally claimed by Taiwan.
Citing the uncertainties that hang over China's political and economic reforms, the report says Tokyo and Washington "must develop capabilities and policies adaptable to China's changing trajectory and a broad range of possible futures."
Meanwhile, the report says Japan, the United States and South Korea could create common rules on the use of nuclear energy and overseas development assistance.
It urges Japan to restart nuclear reactors idled since the Fukushima disaster last year, in order to sustain its economic vitality and guard against a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.
"Cautious resumption of nuclear power generation is the right and responsible step for Japan," the report says.
It says demand is rising in Japan for natural gas--including shale gas, which is seeing a development boom in the United States--and calls on Washington to relax its export restrictions to Japan.
The report, released Aug. 15, is the third in a series. Earlier assessments were published in 2000 and 2007. It can be downloaded from csis.org/publication/us-japan-alliance-1.
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