Recently I have been asked by Australian academics, policymakers and diplomats: "What Japan intends to do for Pacific security?", or "What the Sasakawa Peace Foundation plans to do in the south Pacific?"
Unfortunately, neither the Japanese government or our foundation has any plan to come south of equator.
Even new ODA proposal suggested relaxing military ban, or exercise the right to collective self-defense will be approved, as I assume.
I pointed out to them that it really depends on the political will of ANZAC. As I reported within my blog, when the Sasakawa Peace Foundation started the Micronesian sea surveillance project in 2008, we received strong reservation from the Australia government while the US on the otherhand was very encouraging. Although the Australian negative attitude had changed with the Abbot government, Defence personnel still tried to stop our project in an unfair way.
Our Prime Ministers agreed list of collaboration including defence. One of the projects of the list has not yet been covered by the media or academics. That is:
13. Prime Minister Abbott welcomed Japan’s willingness to send a Maritime Self-Defence Force vessel to participate in the Albany Convoy Commemorative Event in late 2014, which will mark the centenary of the departure of the first convoy of ships, escorted by the HIJMS Ibuki that carried ANZAC forces to World War I.
Joint Press Release on Japan-Australia Summit Meeting (7 April, 2014)
Quite few people from Japan, Australia and New Zealand are aware that Churchill requested Japan to protect the Pacific, ANZAC and others under the Japan-Anglo alliance during WWI. The reason the Prime Minister William Hughes did not tell his people about the Japanese support was tied to the "White Australian policy" racist attitude towards Japan. The fact of Japanese naval support for the conveying of ANZAC tropps to Europe, protecting their women and children from German, has been erased from history.
When I told of this rude attitude of Australian and New Zealander to the former Professor of the National Defence Academy, Yoichi Hirama, he shared his experience in 1962, when the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force visited Sydney.
When the Japanese crews were walking the streets, many Australians swore at them. One of them spat at the Japanese crew. The sailor that was spat at did not react, but just took his handkerchief wiped off the spit and then left. An Australian young lady saw this event and felt embarrassed and shame on what happened, and she wrote an article to newspaper describing what happened. This event received and huge response from Australian citizens. The Royal Australian Navy apologized to the JMSDF, and also arranges first class hotel which JMSDF was refused to use for their ceremony. The next day there was queue of cars of citizen who wanted invite the personnel of the JMSDF as their guests and apologize for the Australian mans rude attitude.
Since 1962, the ANZAC perception for Japan has not changed, as evident by the swearing to me on my raising the help which Japan gave to ANZAC during the WWI,and unfair interruption from RAN. The Allied forces killed half to one million Japanese citizens including babies, children and women on our soil during WWII, even after the war too. I do not know of any case so far where any Japanese has spat or swore at any ANZACs because of this.
- - - Reference - - -
"Japanese naval assistance and its effect on Australian-Japanese relations"
The Anglo-JapaneseAlliance 1902-22 (Routledge Curzon, 2004).