News / Asia

    Hagel: US Committed to Protecting Japan

    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands before their meeting at the latter's former official residence in Tokyo, April 5, 2014.
    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands before their meeting at the latter's former official residence in Tokyo, April 5, 2014.
    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is in Japan for talks with high-level officials. Upon arrival, he reassured the country that America is committed to Japan's security, but analysts say his mission is complicated by regional disputes over territory, as well as some lack of clarity in the U.S.'s own strategy.

    Hagel is in the region to strengthen U.S. cooperation with its Asian allies on military and security issues, which White House officials said is essential in keeping Asia prosperous.

    On Saturday, he said there is no evidence the U.S. is doing anything but strengthening its commitment to the security of Japan.

    The trip comes as looming territorial disputes and growing nationalism have pulled countries in East and Southeast Asia further apart. The White House has admitted that the situation is “imperfect,” but has also stated its commitment to playing a positive role.

    Alejandro Reyes, a visiting professor at Hong Kong University and studies U.S. foreign policy in the region, says that new governments in China, Japan and Korea are pushing for radical reforms at home and need to shore up the support of their own people.

    “How do you do that? Partly, as you can see it in Russia too, and in the United States, in many different countries these things happen, that in order to boost your domestic political support you can use your foreign policy if you will, not to be reckless necessarily but at least to gear up some nationalist sentiment, patriotic fervor,” he said.

    Territorial disputes

    Patriotic fervor does not bode well with security cooperation.

    Ahead of Hagel's visit, the United States decided to withdraw its participation in a ship parade held by China, after Beijing refused to invite Japan.

    The two Asian neighbors are caught in a bitter territorial dispute over small islands in the rich resource waters northeast of Taiwan.

    The United States has maintained neutrality on the issue, but as Japan's closest ally in the region, Washington has a treaty obligation to defend the country in case of aggression.

    Reyes says that budget restructuring within the U.S. military, as well as a cautious posture in President Barack Obama's foreign policy elsewhere has some ramifications in Asia as well.

    “The hard question, particularly when leaders in this region look at what is gone on in Syria, what's gone on in Ukraine, the president drawing red lines and not actually backing up its words, there are questions, legitimate questions particularly I would say in Japan what would happen if there was conflict between China and Japan? Would the United States actually come on the side of Japan as strongly as the Japanese might hope?” said Reyes.

    On Saturday, Hagel said that it is predictable that an event such as Russia's annexation of Crimea might resonate in other areas of the world, including Asia.

    He said, anytime a nation tries to impose its will to violate the territorial integrity of another nation by force, the world takes note.

    Hagel added that in such a crisis "allies are going to look at each other to be assured."

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Shintaro Sakamoto from: Japan
    April 06, 2014 4:03 AM
    Japan intends to proactively contribute to world prosperity and peace. In fact, Japan has contributed to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world. This is the historical fact for current half century.
    Japan, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not expect a war. We shall be prepared if others (China or Korea) wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just.
    In Response

    by: china guy from: beijing
    April 08, 2014 1:29 PM
    who can belive japan as it invaded into other countries and killed so many people. we people only respect the past.

    by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
    April 05, 2014 3:39 PM
    Like America committed to protect Ukraine, lol
    Yeah, America is severely punishing Russia now with sanctions on Visas.
    I am sure America will threat to stop issuing Chinese visa if China invade Japan, lol

    by: Not Again from: Canada
    April 05, 2014 3:36 PM
    You can not blame the fact that, the Western deterrence value has slid significantly on the Obama Administration, some errors have been made, but collective defence rests on all members of the collective. The failure has come about, due to the so called "peace dividend" which has blinded Western allies over the past 20+ yrs. The US is no longer the economic giant, towering well above every other country, as it was 20/30 yrs ago. The collective interests of all democratic nations, in alliances with the US, need to be fully re-examined, their contribution to security and stability needs rework. A parasitic relationship, is no longer realistic nor sustanable, the US is no longer the super economy. Every member of the collective has failed to hold up its own portion of the defensive load. In my view, both Japan and the big EU member nations of NATO have demilitarized their forces, wrt the military gains by potential regional adversaries. And this downgrading has occurred in all areas of security. They are no longer even are conducting high level exercises, maybe they do not even know where or in what condition their equipment/supplies are in. There is a need to re-examine security needs against the significant capability increases of potential adversaries, and not expect that the US must carry all the load; each nation needs to contribute in accordance with their economic, GDP, ability, and in a ratio that is not significantly less than the US; it is the only way to increase the collective deterrent value. Lack of a significant deterrent value will lead to conflicts/wars. A high deterrent value, will not prevent 100% of the conflicts, but it will go a long way in minimizing/curbing the expansionist adventurism and appetite of authoritarian leaders.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.