Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TOKYO (Agence France-Presse) | Japan’s next prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, said Monday that he is not anti-American and that his vision of a future Asian community is not intended to exclude the United States.

Speaking a day after his party’s landslide election win, Mr. Hatoyama was asked about an article he wrote that was published by the New York Times last week in which he gave a spirited critique of U.S.-style capitalism.

In the article, Mr. Hatoyama said he believed that “as a result of the failure of the Iraq war and the financial crisis, the era of U.S.-led globalism is coming to an end and that we are moving toward an era of multipolarity.”

Mr. Hatoyama also said in the article, a short version of an essay originally published in Japan’s Voice magazine, that “the East Asian region, which is showing increasing vitality, must be recognized as Japan’s basic sphere of being.”

But Mr. Hatoyama said at a news conference Monday: “The article is not intended to show anti-American thoughts.”

The leader of the center-left Democratic Party of Japan has said his government would promote the long-term idea of an Asian community modeled on the European Union with a common currency.

But, he also insisted Monday: “The idea of an East Asian community is not intended to exclude the United States.

“Against the backdrop of the Japan-U.S. relationship, it is not a bad idea to dream about creating an economic and peacefully political community.”

Mr. Hatoyama said he received three phone calls - from the new U.S. ambassador to Japan, John Roos, from South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and from Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Recounting his conversation with Mr. Roos, Mr. Hatoyama said: “I asked him to tell President Obama that we will make efforts for the development of the Japan-U.S. relationship.”

On Sunday, the White House expressed confidence that the U.S.-Japan relationship would flourish under Japan’s next government.

“President Obama looks forward to working closely with the new Japanese prime minister on a broad range of global, regional and bilateral issues.

In his conversation with Mr. Lee, Mr. Hatoyama said they had “briefly discussed how Japan and South Korea can cooperate on issues including North Korea” and reconfirmed the importance of close cooperation among Japan, South Korea and the United States.

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