News

Security Issues Expected to Top Obama-Noda Meeting

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (file photo)
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (file photo)
Kent Klein

An agreement to remove almost half the U.S. Marines from the Japanese island of Okinawa could lead to progress on other issues when Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visits Washington on Monday.  

Analysts say the disagreement over the U.S. forces on Okinawa has been an irritant in relations between Washington and Tokyo for years.

The deal, reached Thursday, would move about 9,000 Marines from Okinawa to Australia, the U.S. territory of Guam or the state of Hawaii.

A senior White House official said Friday that the breaking of the stalemate over Okinawa allows both countries' leaders to focus on other security issues.

Japan's U.S. Ambassador, Ichiro Fujisaki, said Thursday at a forum sponsored by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies that  the agreement will improve U.S. protection of its Asia-Pacific allies.

"There will be more distribution of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific, which will fortify the U.S. presence, I think, and which will add to the fortification of deterrents in that area, so we welcome that," he said.

When President Obama and Prime Minister Noda meet in the Oval Office on Monday, North Korea and its nuclear ambitions are expected to be near the top of the agenda.

The recent attempted rocket launch by Pyongyang caused concern in nearby Japan and other Asian neighbors.

The U.S. and Japanese leaders may also discuss Tehran's nuclear ambitions.  Analyst Sheila Smith at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations says Tokyo has also been working to help tighten sanctions on Iran.

"Japan’s energy dependence on Iran has been slowly reduced since the sanctions in 2006," she said. "Forty percent of Japan's oil was imported from Iran.  Now I think it is less than 10 percent.  So Japan works very closely with us in terms of our U.N. Security Council conversation on Iran as well."

Also likely to come up in Monday's meeting is Japan's role in helping to rebuild and stabilize Afghanistan.

Another priority will probably be the state of the world economy, and Japan's recovery from last year's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Perhaps the ceremonial highlight of the prime minister's visit will be the U.S. gift of 3,000 dogwood trees to be planted in a park in Tokyo.  

Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell says the gesture comes on the 100th anniversary of Japan's gift of cherry trees to the United States.

"And we hope that, as a gesture, it will be something that our children and our children's children, both in the United States and Japan, will have the opportunity to enjoy and treasure, just as we have had the opportunity to treasure the cherry trees," said Campbell.

Despite some disagreements, such as the deployment of U.S. Marines in Okinawa, a senior Obama administration official says U.S.-Japan relations are strong.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in a statement Thursday, called Japan "not just an ally, but a close friend."  

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs