2. Will Japan seek a renegotiation o existing relocationplans or U.S. orces in Japan including the Futenma Air-base, which is located in a densely populated residentialarea?3. Will Japan ask the United States to negotiate a new dealon SOFA, opening the prospect o greater Japanese juris-diction over U.S. military ocers in Japan?Tere are obvious potential headaches over some, i not all,o the above or the Obama administration. Perhaps themost troublesome concerns the question o relocating theFutenma Airbase to Camp Schwab within Okinawa. Many DPJ and SDP supporters want Futenma out o Okinawacompletely. At the same time, the existing agreed plan in-cludes moving 8,000 U.S. Marines to Guam and the returno land south o the Kadena Air Base. Tese are signicantsteps aimed at reducing the burden on the Okinawan people.Currently, Prime Minister Hatoyama is sending mixed sig-nals on what he wants the nal outcome to look like.Futenma, o course, has been a thorn in the Japan-U.S.alliance since it was originally enacted in 1996 betweenthen-Prime Minister Hashimoto and then-U.S. PresidentBill Clinton. I Hatoyama shows a willingness to remove thatthorn, this would be a good boost or Japan-U.S. alliancemanagement. For example, the United States might acceptJapan’s civilian aid plan or Aghan reconstruction as analternative to the current reueling mission in the IndianOcean. SOFA revision may still be tough, but it would notbe impossible to at least ormulate a study group to try andresolve it.
Long-term prospects amid newpolitical realities
All in all, despite some possible conusion in the short term,I am optimistic or the Hatoyama administration’s security and oreign policy in the longer term. At the very least, thereis a good chance that Japan can break ree rom the stagnantagendas that became a act o lie or Japan’s relations withthe outside world during decades o rule by the LDP.Lest anyone orget, Japan has pursued a policy o extremesel-restraint in the use o its military. Tis, o course, hasbeen due to deeply ingrained anti-war sentiment arisingrom World War II as well as postwar political structuresdating rom 1955. Such political structures and historicallegacies ailed to oster rational policy debates in the Japa-nese Parliament based on a rounded analysis o the interna-tional environment.Te SDP, historically the largest opposition party, and theJapan Communist Party never accepted military cooperationwith the United States. Both parties strongly opposed any attempts at moves in this direction as well as those aimedat strengthening Japan’s deense capabilities. In order tomaintain smooth relations between government and opposi-tion in parliament and in deerence to deep-seated anti-warsentiments among the general public, LDP-led governmentswere never successul in changing the prevailing interpre-tation o the pacist Article 9 o the constitution. Tis hasle legal and political obstacles in the way o any Japanesegovernment wanting to send troops to conict zones.
“At the very least, there is a good chancethat Japan can break free from the stagnantagendas which became a fact of life forJapan’s relations with the outside worldduring decades of rule by the LDP.”
However, the social democratic and communistpresence in high politics continues to shrink. Telargest opposition party is now the conservative LiberalDemocratic Party. Teoretically, Japan’s new politicalrealities could allow or more rational policy choices in thesecurity arena than we have seen or much o Japan’s postwarhistory.Hatoyama has in act made positive noises in avor o amending the constitution, including Article 9. He inheritedthe idea rom his grandather, Ichiro Hatoyama, who servedas prime minister rom 1954 to 1956, and who proposedamending the constitution as well as Japanese rearmament.Another powerul DPJ leader, party Secretary General IchiroOzawa, once argued that Japan could send sel-deense