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Japan maintains diplomatic relations with: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Baluchistan, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Slovakia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malaysia, Manzhouguo, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Soviet Union, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tibet, Thailand, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam.



The following is a brief resumé of the state of Japan’s relations with the countries that, in the opinion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are the most important for the Japanese diplomacy.




[Australian flag]



(Commonwealth of Australia)




Since the end of the British-Japanese Alliance, the relations with this former British colony have turned from good to distant: the Australian concern for the Imperial Japanese Navy’s bases in Indonesia is mirrored by Japanese uneasiness generated for Australian support for the U.S. diplomatic and military intrusions in the region. The close economic relations between these two countries have not ameliorated the growth of mutual distrust.







(República Federativa do Brasil):




Brazil was the principal destination of the Japanese diaspora, and the descendants of the early immigrants have become one of the most wealthy and influential minorities in this South American nation. Therefore, there exists a mutually beneficent cultural and commercial exchange between both countries, and Japan’s relations with Brazil are more intimate and extended that with any other Latinoamerican country: the region is totally immersed in the U.S. influence and mistrust against Japan is rife. The paramount event in their bilateral relations was the abrupt Brazilian financial crisis in the year 2000, which forced many Nikkei-jin (Brazilians of Japanese ancestry) to travel to Japan in search of jobs. The Japanese government, wishing to stimulate such immigrants, has amended immigration laws, and had arranged several assimilation programs.




[Flag of  Canada]



(Dominion of Canada)




This country generally have a less extremist opinion of the Japanese than the U. S., due to the long alliance between Britain and Japan; in consequence, relations are relatively warm. In the last decade, there has been an increment in joint investment, specially in mineral extraction operations, and both governments maintain a productive security dialogue due to both countries’ interest in the future of the Pacific archipelagos.




[Flag of Taiwan]



(Chung-hua Min-Kuo)




After the withdrawal of Japanese troops from China and the sign of the “Reconciliation and Friendship Treaty” in 1939, Japan and China became allies in their opposition to Soviet encroachment of Chinese territory (including the instalment of their Manzhouguo client state and the outright annexation of Sinkiang). But either side had any illusion about this alliance: both sides remembered too well the Second Sino-Japanese War, and many Chinese blamed Japan for its territorial losses at the hands of the Communists. Therefore, China looked for a ally outside Asia, and founded it in Germany: both nations feared the Soviet Union and shared a long border with such country. Since then, the German presence in China surpassed these of any other country, and military cooperation between the two was one of the catalysers of the Merdeka War.


Japan and China continued with their thorny relations along the 50s to the 80s: China copied several of the reforms implanted in Japan in 1950, especially those in the agricultural field, and both countries continued to share intelligence data about Soviet military capabilities in the Far East. When in 1960 the Japanese Empire granted independence to Taiwan, the Chinese government warmly saluted the event, and mutual relations improved. (However, China has not cessed to claim Taiwan as an “integral” part of the country).


Japan helped China to finance its military build-up and modernization as a counterweight to the Soviets’ overwhelming advantage in land forces, and Japanese private capital entered China for the first time since the 30s when the Japanese company Sumitomo bought the Shanghai Banking Group in 1979. In the 80s, the improving Sino-Japanese relations known a stumble, when the Chinese economic ties with Manzhouguo helped to alleviate its mutual animosity, and China established diplomatic and economic relations with Korea. But none of these events caused any crisis, and even in 1995, there were rumours about a “Two Suns” alliance, a formal military alliance between Imperial Japan and KMT China. But then, the Soviet Union started its long decomposition.


When in 1996 a low intensity civil war engulfed the U.S.S.R. and later when the shaky Soviet government prove itself barely able to maintain a semblance of order across the country, Mongolia and Manzhouguo found themselves with a debilitated patron and facing a China that claim both countries as “long lost provinces”. Until now, China has not made any aggressive move against any of these countries, or the S.S.R. of Uighuristan (Sinkiang), only due to the still intact Soviet nuclear deterrence and the control still exerted by Moscow in Siberia and Uighuristan. Another reason is the Chinese unwillingness to damage the economic and social structure of these countries, rather they favour an “association” policy towards them. But the U.S.S.R is quite unstable, and maybe it’s just a matter of time when Manzhouguo and Mongolia should confront China alone.


Of course, the prospect of a Greater China right next to them has scared the Japanese government, and they had openly support the Red Army forces in the Far East and other unidentified Soviet military cabals in Siberia and the Far East. Also, Japan has sent –officially for humanitarian reasons– Imperial Japanese Naval Infantry forces to help local Soviet forces to keep control over Kamchatka and the Pacific coast of Siberia, generating vehement protests of the Chinese and Korean governments, and the Chinese press has returned to the “Japanese imperialists” rhetoric of the thirties and forties, and has accused Japan of having intentions to keep Kamchatka for itself and install a new “Far Eastern Republic” in the Maritime Province, claims ardently denied by the Japanese government. Today, Tokyo maintain a complex and problematic relation with Xian in spite of their growing economic bounds.







(al-Jumhuriya al-Arabiya al-Misriya)




Egypt is the most populous and influential of the Arab countries, and the Japanese Foreign Ministry felt it was important to maintain relations with this country. In the other hand, the Egyptians wanted a non-European partner in several key industries (electrification, agriculture), to serve as a counterweight for the overwhelming British presence in the country. Relations between both powers are conducted mainly through the Koa-in, other aid agencies and private firms.






(Yatyiopia Manguist)




It was until 1991 when Japan established diplomatic relations with this country, one of the “new” African nations. The Ethiopian Republic, former Italian colony, has been the most favoured by Japan in terms of investment, loans and technology transfer. Although Ethiopia, an impoverished, land-locked country, has not much to offer to Japan, it serves as an “experimentation ground” for Japanese diplomacy in Africa: through Addis Ababa Japan conduits its diplomacy in sub-Saharan Africa, and has become another link between Japan and Italy.




[French Flag]



(République Française)




When in 1943 the risk of war in Europe dissipated, the French could direct more attention to colonial affairs, and Indochina became one of the more bitter points of disagreement between Japan and France. The Japanese intents to compensate the loss of her Manchurian and Korean markets, and its strong relationship with Thailand, made a combination that didn’t pleased the French. The French declared something close to an embargo to Japanese products in Indochina, and in consequence the Japanese was forced to respond with support to Thailand’s border revisionism. Bilateral relation were extremely cold until 1963, when the French was forced to grant independence to Vietnam. The French influence in Indochina lasted until 1969, when Bao Dai was dethroned and the military Junta in power asked the French armed forces to leave.


Since then, the Japanese and French political classes found several points of coincidence: both are post-imperial powers that have managed to retain great influence in its former colonies, and at the same time, can maintain an overwhelming economical and political influence in a limited geographical zone, and diplomatically both are relatively isolated. Besides, both countries wanted to exploit the economic potential of their Pacific colonies. So, after the Vietnamese regime change and the consequent expulsions of France from Southeast Asia, the last obstacle in their relations disappeared, and both countries had cooperated in several ways in the last years, specially in economic and military enterprises. Among the latter can be mentioned their joint development of the Otochi/Moineau missile platform, and their anti-ship missile system, the Dauphin/Iruka.




Far Eastern Republic


(Dalne Vostochnaja Respublika)




Until now, no country, not even Japan, has recognized this secessionist movement. It claims the coastal and Amur valley provinces of the U.S.S.R. However, the presence of Japanese troops in the Soviet Far East’s territory has given other countries the opportunity to accuse Japan to try to arrange a protectorate over the valuable Siberian coast and the strategic port of Vladivostok, that serves as nominal capitol of the Far Eastern Republic and now is occupied by Japanese troops.






(Republik Deutschland)




The political relations with this Great Power are unstable, since the Merdeka War. Then, many people in Germany pressed for war against Japan, but fortunately cooler heads prevailed; and even when their diplomatic and commercial relations were mended years ago, many Germans still resent the Japanese attacks on German troops in that war and want nothing to do with Japan. From Japan’s point of view, Germany’s long presence in China has represented an intrusion and even a menace, and it served to soured the German-Japanese and Dutch-Japanese relations to the point of war. Many Japanese think of Germany as just another European imperialist nation who want to expand its influence into Asia in detriment of Japanese interest.


But, in spite of public sentiments on both sides, commercial relations are profuse and fruitful, and Japan maintain an extended diplomatic and business presence in Germany, from where Japan extends it to the East European countries over which Germany maintains a more or less benign hegemony. It can be said that bilateral relations are distant but productive. It is rumoured that, in the last two years, Germany and Japan had maintained a confrontation in regards of the Soviet Union: they say Germany desires a balkanised USSR in order to eliminate the Soviet menace and gain influence –or even a protectorate– over the westernmost Soviet successor states. On the other hand, they say Japan is trying desperately to keep the Soviet Union debilitated but in one piece to serve as a counterweight to the growing power of China, and while Japan supports the central government, Germany supports the separatist, specially the Ukrainian guerrillas. These rumours had affected domestically both governments.




[Flag of the United Kingdom]

Great Britain


(United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)




The Anglo-Japanese Alliance lasted until 1970, year when Malaysia gained independence and both countries decided to maintain more limited and less formal alliances. Since then, both countries had enjoyed friendly but not too close relations, the more productive are scientific and economic cooperation agreements regarding their Pacific archipelagos. Since the 1980s, the warming in the British-U.S., relations has distanced both nations, especially the fact that U.S. Navy ships visit with increasing frequency the British naval bastion of Singapore. But this fact hasn’t affected the ongoing cooperation projects in the remaining British Asiatic colonies and dominions: agricultural projects in Myanmar, Special Forces training in Baluchistan, experimentation in fish-breeding in the Maldives and Nauru, etc.










Before the Japanese intervention in Sri Lanka, bilateral relations were quite good, as India became the first decolonised Asiatic country, an event celebrated by Japan as a death-blow to European colonialism. But, ever since, relations with India had been clearly hostile, and the Japanese naval presence in the Indian Ocean has been watched with preoccupation and anger by India, unable to counter the Japanese in what they think is its natural sphere of influence. The Indian government has taken the lead in the group of Asiatic countries that criticises the Japanese economic pre-eminence in Asia and its alleged military adventurerism, criticism that have found support in Korea and Malaysia. In the last three years both countries had kept minimal contacts about the creation of a Concert of Asia, but such contacts had proven unfruitful.




[Jack of Indonesia]



(Republik Indonesia)



Relations with Indonesia had been very close since the Merdeka War. Japan has proportioned the capital to allow Indonesia to industrialize, and in exchange Indonesia has constituted a trustworthy diplomatic and military ally and supplier of raw materials. The economic and military bonds between them serve as the cornerstone of the continued Japanese presence in the vital sea lanes of communication to the Middle East. In recent years, Indonesia has taken a more independent posture, and maintain contacts with Thailand that Japan fears could start a war in South East Asia. Nonetheless, the rapprochement between Australia and the U.S. has served as an insurance of a continued and strong Japanese presence in Indonesia.




State flag



(Keshvaré Shahanshahiyé Irân)




The Pahlavi rulers of Iran has found in Japan a suitable partner: geographically distant, affluent, technologically advanced, politically savvy and needy of a Middle Eastern ally. Japan has found in Iran a resource rich, politically stable, diplomatically isolated and strategically placed partner.


Their mutual relations, inexistent until 1962 (year when the British quit their informal protectorate over Iran), has grown better and better every year. Iran provide Japan not only with oil and gas: IJN ships found a secure haven in Iran’s Persian Gulf naval bases, and serves as the third point in its Indian Ocean naval strategy (the other two points are Sri Lanka and Indonesia); also, Iran is the main buyer of Japanese armament. Japan has served Iran as a quite useful diplomatic ally, helping her to resist U.S. and Soviet bullying, as a model of a successful Imperial form of government, and as a provider of commercial and military technology.


Another issue in which both countries agree is India: this regional power, in spite of its domestic problems, surges as a troubling neighbour for Iran, and Iran has wrested from Japan security insurances in exchange of preferential oil and gas prices. Relations between Tokyo and Teheran are quite good.






(Regno d’Italia)




Since the 1940s, relations with Italy has been polite but distant, and this situation didn’t change until the 1990s. Since then, relations between Rome and Tokyo have grow very close, specially in the cultural field, due to the influence of Soletta Orihime. Soletta is a half-Japanese, half-Italian young singer, who has popularised in both countries a new music genre known as “Enka-rock”. Her success in the second half of the 90s in both countries has suddenly reopened the eyes of the Japanese people to their old Anti-Comintern Pact ally and vice versa, and a growing cultural exchange is taking place right now.


In other issues, in the last decade Japan and Italy are collaborating closely in investments in the recently independent African countries, particularly in the former Italian colonies of Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea, and in the Croatian and Albanian kingdoms. Therefore, the Japanese Embassy in Rome is well staffed, principally with Cultural Affairs personnel.




[Korean Worker's Party]



(Choson Minchu-chui Konghwa-guk)




It is an understatement to describe the Korean-Japanese relations as “cold”. Not only there’s not direct diplomatic relations since the Soviet-Japanese War, there exist also a technical state of war between both countries, and unlike the relations with the Soviet Union, the mutual antagonism have degenerated in very frequent naval clashes, specially around Saishu island, claimed in its entirety by Korea. Other Japanese islands claimed by Korea are the Matsushima and Takeshima islands. But since the start of the Soviet Civil War in 1996, Seoul’s anti-Japanese rhetoric had mellowed a bit, and the loss of its principal commercial partner has forced Korea to seek Japanese help to lessen its economical downturn.




[Malay Flag 1905-1950 (Malaysia)]



(Persekutuan Tanah Malaysia)




Japan’s close relation with Indonesia has hindered Japanese relations with Malaysia. Since its independence, Indonesia has expressed its Pan-Malayan ideology, and claim Malaysia as part of a “Greater Indonesia”. This, and the Malayan-Indonesian naval clashes in the waters around the Natuna and Spratley islands had turned, in the common Malaysian citizen’s mind, the Japanese as their main enemy after the Indonesians. Therefore, relations between Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo are extremely cold. The recent military contacts between Malaysia, Australia and the U.S. has just worsened bilateral relations.






(Manzhou Jen Min Kung-Ho Guo)




After Japan was expulsed from Manchukuo, the Soviet Union abolished the previous authoritarian Manchukuan government and it its place implanted a totalitarian Communist country. Since then, the Manzhouguan government has kept a decidedly anti-Japanese stance, exacerbated by the Japanese refusal to send former Manchukuan Emperor Pu Yi back to Manchuria for trial in the 1950s. Bilateral relations were almost inexistent, generally conducted through the Soviet embassies, and only a handful of Japanese and Manzhouguans had visited each other country in the last fifty years. As long as China kept its militant anti-Communist position, Japan didn’t care to mend its relations with Manzhouguo: after all, the Manzhouguan government maintained economic relations almost exclusively with the Soviet Union, and therefore there were inexistent opportunities of investment.


However, when the Manzhouguan government renounced to its isolationism and began to open to the outer world, Japan showed some interest in improve bilateral relations. Diplomatic relations were established in 1993 and a minimal economic exchange began. Probably this situation would continued in that way if only the Soviet Union would have not fall into a low-level civil war. Since then, Manzhouguo faces the possibility of a forcible union with China, and had desperately searched for foreign backers. The Japanese government is eager to help, but fifty years of anti-Japanese and anti-communist rhetoric and war’s bitter memories stand in the way. Until now, the only way both countries had cooperated is the common effort to keep the Trans-Siberian railroad open, allowing the Soviet Union’s central government to maintain a secure contact with the rest of the world.




[Flag of Mongolia, 1949-1992]



(Bughut Nairamdakh Mongol Arat Ulus)




Since the Soviet-Japanese War, relations with Mongolia were even more distant than with Manzhouguo, actually there wasn’t any contact between Tokyo and Ulan Baator in all those years. It was until 1997, when was obvious that the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a functional state, that the Mongolian and Japanese government re-established diplomatic relations. Unlike Manzhouguo, Mongolia ceased entirely its anti-Japanese rhetoric in the 1950s, and therefore, it was much easier to resume bilateral relations. Both countries has cooperated with Manzhouguo to keep open the Trans-Siberian railroad, and Japanese companies had developed a growing interest in Mongolian natural resources and cheap manpower. The Chinese menace to Mongolian independence is, for Ulan Baator, a powerful motive to look for stronger ties with the outside world in general and with Japan in particular.






(Pyee-Daung-Su Myanma-Nainggan-Daw)




The Union of Myanmar, part of the British Commonwealth, maintains a relatively distant relationship with Japan, due to the heavy Indian influence in its economy and internal policies, that limits its contacts with Japan, India’s naval rival in the Indian Ocean. However, the Japanese government, mainly through the Koa-in, maintains an important influence in Myanmar’s rural development, and several Japanese firms has invested with some success in the local agricultural market.






(Republika ñg Pilipinas)




Since its independence in 1947, the Philippines maintain a highly unstable relation with Japan. To the present day, the Philippines are nothing but a U.S. client state, hosting powerful U.S. aeronaval bases and blindly follows the U.S. diplomatic and economic lead, a situation that had turned the Filipino government unpopular among several Asian countries, and the most resolute critic of these situation is Japan. Its resistance against the U.S. intrusion in Asian affairs and bullying has gained Japan the sympathies of Filipino nationalist, and in the 1980s, when the U.S. grip over the country alleviated to some extent, the Philippines and Japan conducted several joint economic projects.


On the other hand, the Japanese military doctrine, that call for the neutralization, by any means necessary, of the U.S. bases in the Philippines in case of war with the former country; the unconditional Japanese support to Indonesia, which maintain an ideological and border dispute with the Philippines; and the U.S. interference in Southeast Asia serve as an obstacle for better bilateral relations.




[Flag of USSR]

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


(Sojus Sovietskij Sotsialisticheskij Respublik)




After the Soviet-Japanese War, direct diplomatic relations between both countries were inexistent until the year 1965, when their were re-established. However, both countries remained in a technical state of war due to their territorial dispute concerning northern Karafuto. In the first two decades after the war, the Soviet Union was the main security concern of Japan: their relationship improved after the 1963 “Second Russian Revolution” (or “Soft Revolution”), and their divergent military doctrines served to defuse tensions. Nonetheless, they kept their military rivalry until 1996, when the Soviet state nearly collapsed and a low intensity civil war started. In order to avoid the Soviet Civil War to spill out of the Soviet borders, the Japanese government ordered the Imperial Japanese Naval Infantry to establish a Security Zone, in combination with local Soviet commanders, which included the entire Sea of Okhotsk coast and the southern half of the Kamchatka peninsula. However, there were numerous Soviet factions that has found foreign backers, including Japan. Until now, the Japanese government haven’t made public if is supporting any faction or factions besides the Central government.


The Soviet central government still keeps control over most of the Soviet territory, principally urban centres; the rural zones of Ukraine and the Central Asian republics host several separatist guerrillas, while in Russia proper the Red Army fights several political factions and terrorist groups. In recent years, the main features of the new regime are their loyalty to the principles of the “Second Russian Revolution”, the determination to regain control over the entire Soviet Union and their sinophobia. Even when the former two would be enough to keep Japan sceptic about a close relationship, the increasing boldness of the U.S. foreign policy, the dangerously unstable Soviet nuclear deterrence, and the prospect of a Greater China including not only Manzhouguo and Mongolia, but Siberia as well forced Tokyo to look for ways to stabilize the U.S.S.R. and then convince the Soviets to align itself with the East Asian Security Treaty. Besides Japan, only Mongolia and Manzhouguo keeps pro-Soviet forces in Soviet territory in behalf of the central government, and Japan is pressing Taiwan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Iran to do the same.




Sri Lanka


(Sri Lanka Sarkar)




The relation with Sri Lanka is similar to the relation with Iran. Sri Lanka proportioned Japan with naval facilities in their port of Trincomalee in exchange of a security arrangement: Indian chauvinist ideologues dub Sri Lanka as a “renegade territory”, and the mere existence of an independent Sri Lankan state is an affront to them. The only way to deter India to renew its aggression are the several regiments of IJNI troops present in the island. Besides their mutual security concerns, Sri Lanka and Japan maintain excellent cultural relations and a growing commercial exchange, and an important research project in rice genetic manipulation. Also, Sri Lanka has applied for membership in the East Asia Security Treaty, solicitude that is being studied in Tokyo, Taipei and Yakarta.






(Taiwan-Hua Min)




Taiwan is the country who maintain the most intimate relation with Japan. This former Japanese colony maintain unconditional political and military alliances with its former metropolis, and even when petty disputes (as migratory and economic policies) appear from time to time, nothing has altered the excellent bilateral relations between both nations.




[Flag of Siam (Thailand) 1916-1917]



(Muang Thai)




The military contacts, economic bounds and economic ties with Thailand has increased considerably since the 40s. In those years both nations maintained friendly if distant relations, but Thailand watched carefully the reforms enacted by the Imperial Rule Committee in order to survive the after-effects of the Soviet-Japanese War and the entirely new international and domestic situation. Japan was adopted as a suitable model by Thailand, that implanted its own limited reforms. In spite of their distant relations, many foreign policy experts in Japan accurately predicted the future necessity to gain a foothold in this promissory nation, and in consequence, both countries initiate a modest rapprochement in the 1950s, aimed to maximize the productivity of the Thai rice field and its exportation to Japan. Bilateral relations showed a steady grow until the 1960s, when first the Merdeka War, then the alliance between Indonesia and Japan forced Thailand to reconsider its relations with Japan and with the rest of the region. However, Thailand and Japan cooperated in supporting the Cambodian and Laotian independence guerrillas against the Vietnamese Empire.


After the Vietnamese independence, Thailand revived its territorial dispute with this country, and in 1972 they declared war on Vietnam. The war raged for a year without a clear winner, and in 1973 Japan brokered first an armistice and in 1980 a definitive peace treaty. The Thai territorial gains in the peace accord (the Lao provinces of Sayabouri, opposite Luang Prabang in the north, and Champassak, opposite Pakse in the south; and the Cambodian provinces of Battambang, Sisophon, and Siem Reap) served to improve the image of Japan in Thailand and since then, both countries had prosecuted joint commercial ventures and kept a clearly anti-Malaysian position.


In the last four year, Japan and Thailand had conducting talks aimed to the latter’s entry into the East Asia Security Treaty (Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia): Thailand entry would represent a complete change in the geopolitical scenario of South East Asia in Japan’s favour, and will serve as a counterweight not only against a possible Sino-Vietnamese alliance but also against the incipient Australia-Malaysia-U.S. alliance. Unfortunately, the Thai government insist in demanding support for its ongoing border dispute with Malaysia (Thailand claims the northern Malay states of Kedah, Perlis, Trengganu, and Kelantan), a demand that hasn’t found much support in Japan. In consequence, Thailand is conducting its own secret negotiations with Indonesia: the Japanese government fears that a war between Malaysia and a Thai-Indonesian alliance could degenerate in a general war in South East Asia, and worse, involve the U.S. In consequence, the bilateral relations in this moment are quite tense.




[U.S. flag]

United States






The anti-Japanism manifested by the U.S. can be traced to the racism systematically played up in newspapers owned by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, around 1906. Hearst urged the reinforcement of U.S. naval power to counter Japan: he backed Congressman Richmond P. Hobson, a Captain in the naval reserves and a hero of the Spanish-U.S. War, in a tour all over the United States to advocate anti-Japanism and promoting Japanophobia. Between 1910s and 1920s, many anti-Japan book included Banzai by F.H. Gautoff, The Battle for the Pacific by Rowan Stevens, and The Valor of Ignorance by Homer Lea, the latter attracting the most attention by its racial overtone.


Since then, periodically the U.S. has created crises with Japan. The writings of Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (specially “The Open Door Policy”, which became a bible of U.S. diplomacy); the “Yellow Peril” myth propagated by the Germans; the start of the Great War and the Japanese occupation and annexation of the German Pacific Islands north of the equator in 1914; successive supporters of U.S. military build-ups; the mirage of the Chinese market (that never live up to Japan or U.S. expectations and only deepened the confrontation between the two countries); the pro-China lobby in Washington; and the pro-Communist elements in the successive U.S. governments; all those factors resulted in the apparition of a “Mirror Effect”: the tendency to escalate criticism by repeating mutual overreactions of those criticisms resulting from poor understanding between the two countries.


The newest example is the recent (December 2002) Taiwanese-U.S. standoff on the Tungsha-Tao Islands. In order to strengthen its position in the Philippines, Malaysia and Australia, the U.S. constantly send ships and planes over trying to provoke an encounter. Until now, the members of the East Asia Security Treaty (Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia) has made absolutely clear that his generals and admirals must specifically state every single month that their units will not attack unidentified contacts nor targets including “visiting U.S. vessels’. No matter what the U.S. does to provoke an incident that could serve as a pretext to augment its regional forces, Japan will not bite, and its commanders will not make errors permitting “accidents” or “incidents”. Bilateral relation are tense, as they have been the last hundred years.




[Nationalist Government under Japanese rule]







After the French granted independence to Vietnam in 1963, the relations between Hanoi and Tokyo were very strained: the almost absolute Emperor Bao Dai’s dependence from Paris, the leasing of the Da Nang and Cam Rah ports to the French Navy, the good relations with Bangkok, and the application of the “Fukuzawa Doctrine” in support of the independence of the Laotian and Cambodian populations (specially in the form of funds and weapons) made bilateral relations almost inexistent.


However, after the fall of Bao Dai in 1969 and the instauration of an extremely Francophobe military junta, relations between both nations had improved, mostly their economic relationship. However, the apparent Japanese support to Thailand in the negotiations that ended the Thai-Vietnamese War, the sympathy felt by many Japanese for the oppressed Laotians and Cambodians, the fund-raising activities conducted by pro-independence activist in Japan, the growing weakness of the Vietnamese government and the resultant Vietnamese rapprochement with China keep relations distant.