Turbulent times

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-03 07:49
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Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's resignation, announced Wednesday, is likely to churn the island nation's political establishment.

The expected turbulence, it is hoped, will be contained and efforts made to retain all of his major policies, especially in the foreign relations sphere.

Due to Hatoyama's flip-flop on the issue of relocating a US air base in Okinawa, support for his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) had plummeted to an all-time low.

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The ensuing political and public fallout meant a key ally, the Social Democratic Party, quit the coalition early in the week. It is now set to oppose the DPJ in polls scheduled for July 11, which Hatoyama's party has to win in order to secure a majority in the Japanese parliament, the Diet, so as to push forward important legislation. Otherwise, political instability will likely continue even longer.

Hatoyama's resignation has come at a critical time.

For one, the Japanese economy has only just begun to show strong recovery momentum. Turbulence in the political arena may negatively affect economic development.

Second, the leaders of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea had just met Sunday and announced a fresh blueprint for enhancing trilateral cooperation.

The blueprint is expected to have far-reaching impact on trilateral relations and regional integration.

Premier Wen Jiabao too had just conducted fruitful talks with Hatoyama during his visit to Japan early this week. The visit was successful in expanding political trust between the two and consolidating friendship between the two peoples.

Although Hatoyama is the fourth Japanese prime minister to quit in as many years, Sino-Japanese relations have, in general, improved in the period. Keeping such a favorable momentum going is in the interests of both nations.

Hopefully, Hatoyama's political successor will honor the Japanese government's commitments as far as foreign policies are concerned.

(China Daily 06/03/2010 page8)