New Era of Japanese-Pak Relations
Posted on September 13th, 2012

By Afshain Afzal

Japan and Pakistan enjoy good relations since last 60 years. Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces (JMSDF) and Pakistan Navy too had good relations. The recent five days official visit of JS Kashima, Training Ship of JMSDF to Karachi has paved new avenues of friendship. It was basically due to Rear Admiral Hidetoshi Fuchinoue, Squadron Commander, who was also onboard. The Japanese delegation held meetings with Naval authorities at Karachi, in which matters pertaining to operations and training were discussed. Regional Maritime Security situation, especially in the neighbourhood also came under discussion. Japanese Naval delegation also visited Pakistan Navy units in Karachi including PNS Bahadhur. JS Kashima held passage exercise with Pakistan Navy Ships while leaving Karachi Port on 9 September 2012. This delegation is on a world tour of 14 countries including Pakistan. During their world tour they will travel 26,000 Nautical miles in 154 days. The global tour of the vessel started on 22nd May and will end on 22 October 2012. The delegation left  a hope of new era of relation between the Pakistan and Japan in the development and stability in the region as well as international peace.

 Both, Japanese and Pakistani Navies, share converging views on the maritime areas of anti-piracy, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, information sharing, amphibious warfare training and submarine rescue operations. Japan has also been an important friend of Pakistan and this friendship is likely to grow in the coming years. The kind nature of Japanese nation can be judged from the fact that few months back the Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Mr Hiroshi presented an award of excellence to Pakistan Air Force’s team over the successful transportation of 77 Japanese tourists from Gilgit to Chaklala Air Base, Rawalpindi. The Japanese Embassy was concerned after rumours that Indian and some western agents would create law and order situation by fueling sectarian hatred that may endanger the lives of foreigners. .

From Naval point of view, Japan is located in strategically busy sea waters, with interest of big powers in the area. Japan has territorial disputes with South Korea over the Dokdo/Takeshima Islands, with Russia over the Kuril Islands and China over the Diaoyu Islands. It is pertinent to mention here that there is also territorial stand-off in Panatag Shoal between the Philippines and China. US is trying its level best to isolate China and create differences between peace loving countries but Japan is trying level best to maintain its peace loving identity. Washington is critical to Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and claims that the JSDF has been controversial since Japan’s participation in the Gulf War.

 In the recent development, the US has accelerated steps to threatening to vacate bases in Japan. Obviously, in such a case Japanese would require alternative arrangement. UnderArticle 9 of Japanese constitution, the Japanese nation renounced war forever as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. To achieve this objective, the article clarify that land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. In the same regard, we have the statement of Gotoda Masaharu, a former Deputy Prime Minister, issued in 2004, in which he said, “The continued US occupation of Iraq is a new type of colonialism. Imposing one’s values on another country also constitutes a kind of imperialism. I don’t see how a country can be liberated by bypassing the UN.” In fact Japan is of the view that Cold War times “US-Japan Security Alliance” has lasted its significance and needs replacement with “a bilateral friendship treaty.” Japan is striving hard to stick to her commitment; not raise Armed Forces or participating in war. Ironically, Japanese nation has honoured her commitment but there are several western countries, which are persuading Tokyo to get herself equipped for the protection of sovereignty.

 Defense and military authorities have described all these recent friendly port calls and visits of warships, including Pakistan, as routine and has nothing to do with the ongoing tension. But many countries in the East and the West have some other plans and want to use Japan against China, Iran, Somalia and other nations. If we recall, last year, Mr Makyo Maya Gawa, Director General of Disarmament and Non-proliferation Department, Ministry of External Affairs of Japan and his Pakistani counterpart signed an agreement for nuclear non-proliferation in Tokyo. Pakistan desires cooperation in civil nuclear power with Japan. Pakistan appreciates the constructive role of Japan in the global and Asian affairs and sees Japan as an important player for peace, progress, cooperation and stability in the world. The visit of JS Kashima and Rear Admiral Hidetoshi Fuchinoue along with the delegation is being considered as good omen in Pakistan-Japanese relations. It is hoped that not only there would be intensified cooperation between the two Navies but at state level both countries would commence a new era for the development and cooperation. 

afshainafzal@yahoo.com

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