Proposal for a Japan-Palau Friendship Treaty
It was in 1997 when the Japanese government took the initiative in the world by organizing the very first Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM1). In the 21st century, this commitment has successfully evolved into the ongoing Free and Open Indo-Pacific Initiative. Among many Pacific island countries, the Micronesia region - a former Japanese mandate - is held a very special place in the amicable heart of Japanese for over 130 years. The Micronesia region's growing geopolitical importance has been spurring the United States - a Japanese ally - into deploying its defense-related activities around Palau and the second island chain. The United States, however, may not fully be grasping the region's economic status, possibly due to its sheer distance of being on the other side of the planet. Those small island nations, with constant financial problems, are prone to fall prey to shady businesses such as casinos, drugs, and money laundering. In fact, the Palauan parliament is reportedly collaborating with Chinese mafia groups and their owned-and-operated casinos, just to make up for the government's pension shortfall. A friend in peril is in need indeed. Time is ripe for us to propose the establishment of "Japan-Palau Friendship Treaty" that not only takes the two nations beyond ordinary bilateral relationship, but can also contribute to considerable stability and development of the Western Pacific region at large.
Contents of the Treaty
- (The United States) The treaty supplements and strengthens the various efforts made by the United States to achieve the status quo after the war. Periodic consultation with US representatives should be essential.
- (Sovereignty) The treaty should strengthen Palau's sovereignty. Healthy inter-state relations of mutual understanding and cooperation should be promoted with respect to Palau's unique history, culture, and values, while maintaining safe distance away from typical dominant-subordinate interactions between partners of different economic scale.
- (Duties and Rights) The treaty seeks to agree that Japan's provision of permanent support to Palau is deemed as duty, while receiving of such support is deemed a right for Palau. This is to avoid the past catastrophic paths of providing ad-hoc supports that often led to instability of the region including Palau.
- The agreement should be based on mutual trust of the two countries, and be flexible enough to incorporate various crucial points as seen in the New Zealand - Samoa bilateral treaty, to be contained in a 3-4 page document.