In a provocative article entitled "Will Japan Become a Chinese Colony?," Forbes' weekly Asia columnist and author of the recently released The Coming Collapse of China, Gordon G. Chan, suggests that it will unless the U.S. does something about it. I believe a more pertinent question to be "Will Japan Remain a U.S. Colony?," with the answer being not if its new government has its way. Potential changes in the U.S. mercenary and/or defense force in Japan reveals an assumption Chang, and U.S. policy makers, seems to make.
U.S. Admiral Timothy Keating, who heads the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command covering East Asia, is in his own words "very confident, almost certain, that there will be -- maybe some discussions about certain aspects of US-Japan military alliance -- but writ large no significant change." Speaking in Washington at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tank, Keating was preparing for a meeting with Japan's new government, lead by the left-leaning Democratic Party of Japan.
The U.S. currently has some 47,000 troops in Japan, there since the end ofWorld War Two (1949). Bases are spread throughout the country, but over half the U.S. presence is on the small island of Okinawa. Yukio Hatoyama, Japan's new prime minister who recently trounced the government which has ruled since 1955, has in the past encouraged a move of U.S. troops from Okinawa to the U.S. territory of Guam. Insofar as U.S. military presence is concerned, there is little difference between "U.S. territory" and "colony," if there is any with "Japan."
Keating called Japan the "strategic lynchpin for us [the U.S.] in the Western Pacific." Hatoyama has made it clear that he wants to strengthen ties with China, presumably at the expense of the U.S. This is why Chang asks if Japan will become a Chinese colony, overlooking the fact that militarily at least Japan remains and is likely to remain a U.S. colony. In any case, debating a potential historic pivot for Japan from the U.S. to China overlooks the fact that as a current event creating the future, Japan is and is likely to remain a U.S. colony militarily