Prime Minister Taro Aso indicated he seeks to establish solid working relationships with the new Obama adminsitration, but he will have problems in achieving that goal. The Japanese prime minister had close working connections with Bush and is unclear as to whether Obama’s policies in Asia will be in line with his goals. Obama needs to focus on rebuilding the American economy, and Japan has enough of its own financial crisis to be of much assistance. Japan is still very much concerned about the kidnapping by North Korea of its citizens, but there is little likelihood this will be of much concern to the Obama administration. Obama wants to end North Korean nuclear programs and will undoubtedly make that his priority, which means he will regard lesser issues of no importance and will avoid dealing with them if they hamper achieving the goal of ending nuclear weapons in North Korea.
The Japanese government has displayed an inept approach to many issues such as the manner in which the history of WWII is taught in its schools which has resulted in anger by Chinese and Korean officials. It is time for Japan to confront issues of the past, put them to rest, and move ahead to focus on contemporary issues. Aso’s buddy, George Bush is history, so begin making history with Obama