The Wall Street Journal recently printed an article saying that Japan does not need the extra corn. Even major Japanese political figures are saying that Japan does not need it in the objective sense:
Deploying rhetorical gymnastics, Abe is helping Trump create the illusion that Tokyo will essentially bail out US farmers going broke amid America’s trade brawl with China. Rather than deny Trump’s claim that the Japanese private sector will buy “hundreds of millions of dollars of corn,” Abe cited an infestation of “insect pests” impacting Japan’s own – tiny – corn sector.
That was news to farmers and those who watch the industry.
In August 2019, I wrote that the US Corn deal with Japan is about preparing Japan for a return to militarism, as it is the preparation of grain stocks in order that Japan will be ready to feel her people and her soldiers when food becomes scarcer in a time of war. I noted that while both China and Japan are vulnerable to food price increases, China is far worse, as her larger population and poor agricultural resource management place her in a very weak position where even a small increase, let along a decline in quantity, in the price of food products could cause a revolution.
Japan’s decision here is not something new. In fact, she has been looking at boosting her grain reserves for a very long time based on this exact reason.
In 2012, the Japanese-language section of the Canon Institute for Global Studies published a paper which noted that Japan’s food crisis was going to be a long-term issue. However, it said the focus should not be on the crisis, but on the vision for the future. It noted too that a potential war would be an issue in which Japan would need to be “food ready”:
The food crisis that occurs in Japan is a situation where even if there is money, the logistics are disrupted and food is not available. This happened in the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the most serious case was that even if the world had sufficient food production capacity, a military conflict occurred in Japan and the sea lane was destroyed, and food was loaded from overseas. The situation is that the ship is not close to Japan. In other words, for Japan, food security is the question of how much of the country’s agricultural resources can be used to supply the nation with food when food no longer comes from abroad. For this purpose, it is necessary to maintain agriculture, but as a means of doing this, there is also a method of paying directly from the finance, not a method of protecting with customs duties. I think we should discuss what kind of policy is desirable, not the food crisis. (source, source)
Japan is a small nation, the size of California, with three-to-four times the population. There is only so much agricultural room. Japan cannot grow, in the way that she uses it, enough food to maintain her standards of living. However, what she lacks in space she compensates for with efficiency. Given her militarist tendencies, Japan will need to be able to set the conditions to have enough food ready, stored up, that she can deliver it to her people before expanding outward to seize food supplies to continue her warpath. It is a similar situation to Germany and Azerbaijan, whereas Germany needs to control as many routes to Azerbaijan so that following a return to militarism she can easily seize the oil there for her economy, Japan needs to have easily accessible routes to seize farms and agricultural resources to prevent herself from starving in a conflict.
Likewise, the concept of “food security” includes not just corn, but also wheat, soy, and other grains. It is not that corn is a “cornerstone” of Japanese food reserve, but one of several items just as it is in the US, and this is pointed out as a measure of national security in Japanese government reports.
Yoshiji Nogami of the Japanese Institute of International Affairs wrote in 2011 of “recovery” in Japan in the context of “international behavior” in the presence of other nations, and how she wants to return to being a “honorable member of society”:
How long does it take for Japan to recover? In the first place, what does it mean to “recover”? Anyone who can say definitive things at this stage there will be a “no”. However, for the time being, Japan will have the power to revive with the power of being in unity and having a total mobilization. We must pay attention to reconstruction. Naturally, it has to constrain Japan’s international behavior.
Japan is based on the constitutional constraints not found in other countries, but in accordance with the spirit of the new constitution. This direction has been consistently expanded after the war. It might have been a cochlear step. But that this is also a task that involves a wealth of intellectual activities, in which Japan that lost the war is once again an international company. The Japanese people’s desire to return to the honorable member of the society was projected (source)
This is code talk for militarism. Japan is referring to the emergence of a “multi-polar” world that has been spoken of by many politicians in many nations, which is a criticism of American power not in so much as one directed against legitimate abuses by the US, but that the other nations doing said criticism would be able to fill any vacuum created as replacement empires. This is consistent with the 2009 European Commission statement by Bernard Connolly that the nations of Europe want to return to their old empires. Japan is an imperial nation, and she wants again to return to her old ways. According to the Japanese Security Strategy Institute:
The Emperor decided to end the war without mentioning food. However, we are always interested in food and agriculture and understand that food is indispensable for the governance of the country and the continuation of war, recognizing that the current situation and outlook are already critical, keeping food in mindIt can be inferred that it was a “saint” In response to NBC broadcasts and interviews in 1975 it can be fully confirmed that “food shortage” is cited as “motivation” (source)
Japan herself notes that the US uses food as a weapon:
“In recent years when abnormal weather conditions have become constant, it is no wonder that any unexpected situation will occur. In the current food market, prices are likely to skyrocket if there is a shock in supply and demand. money is more and more enter. Then producer of grain in the anxiety starts to export restrictions in an attempt to protect their own food. Sonaruto I gave how much money, will you’ll “not buy from anywhere
in the first place the United States and the EU, for the food It has a different perception from Japan.
“The United States recognizes that“ food is a weapon ”. It is the three pillars of the nation’s existence, along with military and energy. Despite the fact that the EU is also a community, countries maintain a high level of food self-sufficiency in cereals because it is dangerous to prepare for emergencies. ”(Mr. Suzuki)
According to a report from the Japan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, it does not suggest that there will be a “conflict” with the US, but suggests that it may happen in the future. From what the report says, Japan’s alliance with the US is based on the expediency of the US to helping her with her overall ends especially against China, which Japan sees as her main drive in the future of her relations with the US:
Even if Japan continues to grow steadily, Japan-US relations are the most important bilateral relations for Japan in 20 years.There will be no change in being a person in charge. Its relative importance is due to structural changes in international politics. It will be reduced. Among the new problems facing the international community, there is an alliance between the two countries. There is a tendency to reduce the problems that can be dealt with by resolution and processing capacity. In a time when it is not enough to just define “cornerstone” of peace and security in the region already rushed. Nevertheless, as we move toward these new problems,Close Japan-US relations are a big plus for both sides. That is, both the US and Japan are deeply connected, and democratic values that support the political systems of both countries are desirable this is because they share a basic image of the international order. Japan and the United States s a desirable regional order in the Pacific region, the liberal open international order (liberal sharing the vision of “international order”).
…in Japan, there is a strong tendency to consider the rise of China in connection with military threats. This over the next 20 years, the balance of power between Japan, the US, and China will change dramatically. This transformation is linear is not connected to the destabilization of Japan-US relations, but its potential you should be fully aware of. (source)
The Japanese are well aware of what they intend to do. They recognize that at the current time, it is not possible to attempt to return to an empire. However, in order to so do, they need to take full advantage of the situation they were forced into with the US on account of the Second World War. A major factor in this is going to be using the US to build up her supplies and help her with her needs. Eventually, it seems that the long-term goal will be a potential “re-posturing” with the US on the assumption that her power will eventually wane and Japan can naturally “step in” to the vacuum created.
This “corn deal” is just a part of the larger picture. Japan has a very slow, long-term approach to her rebuilding and empire, and this corn deal is just a small but important part of it.