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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.