10/29/2009, 00.00
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Hatoyama: Tokyo will review alliance with the United States

The opposition party asks him to for clarification ahead of Obama's visit to Japan on 12 and 13 November. The Japanese would like to reduce the American military presence, which is estimated at 35 thousand units.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama reiterated today that his government "will review in full" the alliance between Japan and the United States, but will continue the relationship “on different levels”. Hatoyama said that he will review the alliance next year, 50 Years on from the revision of the bilateral treaty between Tokyo and Washington. Nevertheless, he reiterated before the parliament that "the Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of our foreign policy."

The Liberal Democratic Party, now in opposition, has accused the prime minister of having sent "wrong messages" to the United States and demand that Hatoyama clarify his plans before the U.S. president Barack Obama visits Japan on 12 and 13 November next.

The review of the relationship with the United States was one of the flagships of the Hatoyama campaign, and was also mentioned in his initial statements after his victory last August.

Among the issues the premier wants addressed is a review of U.S. forces on the Japanese soil. In 2007 there were 33,453 U.S. military in Japan, in addition to more than 5 thousand Ministry of Defence employees. Japan maintains this presence by paying about 32 billion dollars a year. Many Japanese citizens appreciate the presence of the U.S. for safety reasons (after the Second World War, Japan was ordered not to have a military attack force). But many others are critical and they want a reduction in numbers.

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