zoom RSS 中東と日本 傍観者でいられない

<<   作成日時 : 2016/01/12 11:09   >>

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--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 10
EDITORIAL: Japan should not be passive bystander as tensions rise in Middle East
(社説)中東と日本 傍観者でいられない

Tensions are rising in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia and Iran are at loggerheads with each other.

By no means should Japan just be looking on at a time when the Middle East is standing at a doorway to further turbulence.

During his New Year news conference, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe evoked the fact that Japan will assume the presidency at the Group of Seven summit this year and that Japan has become a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

“(The year 2016) will be a year in which Japan’s diplomacy will lead the world,” Abe emphasized in that context. “I intend for Japan to lead the world by looking squarely at the future with a global perspective and laying out the most appropriate road map in order to foster peace and prosperity in the region and around the world.”

We sincerely hope that those words will be fulfilled. And there is one thing we want Abe to do exactly for that reason.

We want him to make sure that Japan will exercise its diplomatic potential in averting a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, just as it will respond to the recent nuclear test by North Korea.

During last year’s Diet deliberations on the security legislation, Abe cited potential deployment of the Self-Defense Forces to minesweeping operations in the Strait of Hormuz as a concrete example of the ways Japan will be exercising its right to collective self-defense.

But minesweeping operations will only become necessary after a conflict has erupted.

Diplomatic efforts to prevent the breakout of a conflict are the most needed at present to face the crisis that is unfolding before our eyes.

Along with supporting the arbitration efforts by the United States, European nations and other parties, Japan should also work with the global community in trying to find out what could be done at this moment.

Japan possesses a diplomatic asset, which allows it to hold a dialogue, under a certain level of mutual trust, with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, Israel and Iran, despite the historically entangled relations between the three parties.

Unlike the United States and European nations, Japan has so far applied the brakes on using force overseas. We could now make the most of the confidence in Japan, which has played an original role in nonmilitary, humanitarian aid that is intended to stabilize the livelihood of Middle Eastern people.

We should not forget that participation of the SDF in logistical support operations for foreign troops, which will become feasible under the new security legislation, could rather undermine Japan’s moral high ground.

Military strength and geographical distance matter in military action. But nonmilitary diplomacy of arbitration is feasible even without strong military power or in far-flung areas.

Seeking a way to avert a conflict in a peaceful manner on the basis of the diplomatic asset that Japan has accumulated over the postwar years would be the best way for Abe to live up to the promises of “diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the globe” and “proactive pacifism”--both being the prime minister’s pet slogans--in the real sense of those terms.

Seldom do we believe there is any easy approach to doing so. But that is the sort of diplomacy that Japan should be seeking as a pacifist nation.

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