Japan's gross national product has been expanding at the scarcely believable rate of more than 10 percent annually. It is evident that growth of this sort means major changes in quick succession. By the mid-1970s, if Japan sustains its current economic pace and the rest of Asia also continues at its present rate, Japan's GNP would virtually equal that of all other Asian countries combined, Mainland China included. Herman Kahn has pointed out that projection of present trends will give Japanese a per capita income equal to that of Americans soon after the year 2000.
Even if we assume that these projections will not be fully realized, Japan is already the third economic power in the world and seems to be on the verge of still greater achievement. Yet Japan's concern with the world outside has been largely confined to selling its goods and making money. Such a policy was acceptable when Japan was recovering from its defeat in the War of the Pacific, but the nation cannot continue in this fashion. As President Nixon wrote in Foreign Affairs in October 1967, "Looking toward the future, one must recognize that it simply is not realistic to expect a nation moving into the first rank of major powers to be totally dependent for its own security on another nation, however close the ties."
Prime Minister Sato has stated that Okinawa is the most important foreign policy issue for Japan in 1969. For after 1970 the Japan-U.S. Mutual Security Treaty may be abrogated on one year's notice. Implicit in the Prime Minister's statement was the awareness that the Okinawa problem is essentially up to the Japanese to solve. The Japanese themselves, and only they, are capable of determining their own destiny: What do they want? And why? And how do they propose to accomplish their aims? It is, essentially, a question of national self-definition.
The present leaders of Japan (who will continue to hold power in the early 1970s) have personally experienced the Pacific War and
Loading, please wait...