| The United States and Japan issued a joint statement Friday just before U.S. President Barack Obama left Tokyo. The joint statement was supposed to be announced right after his summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the previous day but was postponed for one day due to their differences over the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.
The statement stitched up fissures in the Washington-Tokyo alliance by clarifying that U.S. commitments under a bilateral security pact extend to all territories under Japan`s administration, including the Senkaku Islands, which China calls Diaoyudao. The statement also supported Japan`s right to collective self-defense and expressed that the U.S. expected the United Nations Security Council to be reformed to include Japan as a permanent member.
Abe received an armful of gifts from the U.S. president regarding security guarantee by including U.S. commitment to security of the Senkaku Islands. However, Abe`s liabilities to Obama grew significantly after the two failed to reach an agreement in the TPP negotiations. Some analysts say that Tokyo will inevitably have to make significant concessions in future negotiations. The statement said that the two allies see much work to be done regarding the TPP.
Obama`s empty-handed departure from Tokyo despite the gifts he gave to Japan has become more burdensome to him. The Internet edition of the New York Times reported Friday that Obama was being frustrated in Japan and the Middle East (the Israel-Palestine peace negotiations).
However, many experts say that it is only a matter of time before the U.S. has a complete victory. The statement said that the two sides "have identified a path forward on important bilateral TPP issues, which is the cornerstone for the TPP. Japan`s Tokyo Shimbun interpreted the statement as Tokyo`s concession the U.S. over a Some predict that Obama, who attempts to use the signing of a TPP agreement for the mid-term elections in November, will push Japan hard for concessions in the TPP talks in return for the U.S. commitment to the Senkaku Islands.
Meanwhile, when Obama visited Tokyo`s Meiji Shrine on Thursday, he left a note an "ema," or wooden prayer tablet, wishing for people around the world to unite to achieve justice, peace and prosperity. The message was in contrast with Abe`s remarks in defense of his visit to the shrine, which honors Japan`s war dead, including Class-A war criminals in World War II.