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Japan’s Cooperation with NATO’s Asia-Pacific Strategy: Intensifying Regional Tensions and Damaging Stability

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Title: Japanese Cooperation with NATO Raises Concerns over Regional Tensions, Says Visiting Professor

Date: July 12th, Tokyo

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency, Professor Saizonji Akira of East Japan International University voiced concerns over Japan’s recent move to enhance cooperation with NATO, citing the potential for increased regional tensions.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s attendance at this year’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Vilnius has given rise to suspicions of Japan’s inclination to interfere in Asia-Pacific affairs in collaboration with NATO. Professor Saizonji warns that such a move may exacerbate military tensions and jeopardize regional stability.

Professor Saizonji, who specializes in international relations, highlighted the historical significance of Prime Minister Kishida’s presence at the NATO summit, pointing out that no Japanese prime minister had previously attended such an event. He suggested that this decision reflects Japan’s eagerness to align itself with the United States in its efforts to contain China’s growth and maintain US hegemony through military cooperation.

The professor further emphasized that the United States‘ strategic initiatives aimed at countering China in the Asia-Pacific region have contributed to regional tensions. However, he noted that most Asia-Pacific countries are reluctant to align themselves closely with the United States and prefer to maintain independence. Therefore, Japan’s proactive engagement with NATO, a European military alliance, is seen by many as a misguided and potentially harmful move that runs counter to regional aspirations.

Professor Saizonji argued that NATO, being a product of the Cold War in Europe, has no relevance to the Asia-Pacific region. He asserted that given the end of the Cold War, the trend of the times should focus on easing tensions and promoting peaceful coexistence. Instead, Japan has chosen to strengthen its military alliance with the United States and align itself with NATO, creating new military blocs in the Asia-Pacific, which goes against the current trend.

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The professor stressed that the people of the Asia-Pacific region aspire to a peaceful and prosperous environment that promotes economic cooperation. Consequently, Japan’s collaboration with NATO in intervening in regional affairs risks introducing military confrontation and conflicts into the region. Professor Saizonji underlined that Asia-Pacific countries firmly oppose such an approach.

He called on Japan to reflect on its history of militarism and aggression, learn from past mistakes, abandon Cold War mentalities, reject hegemony, and embrace pacifism. By adopting these principles, Japan can contribute to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Japanese authorities have not yet responded to the concerns raised by Professor Saizonji. As tensions continue to rise in the Asia-Pacific region, governments will be scrutinizing Japan’s latest moves and their potential impact on regional stability.

[Responsible editor: Xu Dan]

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