INTRODUCTION AND ENDORSEMENT BY DAVID WARE
Dr. Rieko Hayakawa is a prominent scholar with a Doctorate from New Zealand. She is far more than an academic who has the ear of policy makers in Japan.
Her 30 years of developing programs in Pacific Island Countries are unparalleled. She has coordinated vital international maritime initiatives with Heads of State.
Her outstanding reputation is based upon her long term professional relationship with Japanese, American and Australian military and civilian leaders. This makes her the go-to source for recommendations of which current decision-makers on both sides of the Pacific must avail yourselves.
We here at NOQ Report are honored to be given the privilege of conveying her astute analyses to those in power in Japan, the United States, Australia and especially the leaders and people of the Pacific Island Countries.
We must all be full participants in the future of this unique region and work together. Specifically, the United States must immediately reengage with the Pacific on military, diplomatic and humanitarian levels.
Otherwise we will find out too late what hegemony by the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army Navy and their Belt and Road Initiative will do to undermine self determination in the Indo-Pacific. Japan is our strong ally in this region for world stability.
ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS BY DR. RIEKO HAYAKAWA
“We need Japan. We need the Japanese Navy to protect the vast Pacific Ocean. Japan is the only country which can protect the Pacific with the U.S. But we have tied their feet and hands.”
This is the unofficial comment by U.S. military top personnel to my Palauan friend who attended the Palau-U.S. security meeting in Hawaii, 2008. Why did I know about this very important message from the top U.S. military personnel? I had been in charge of the Micronesia Sea-Surveillance Project which I had suggested and launched by myself.
My first step was talking with a high official from the Republic of Palau whom I had known for more than a decade. I found him in Hawaii and made a conference call from the United Nations University in Tokyo which has a special network to the University of Hawaii.
“Honorable K, we would like to support maritime security in Micronesia. What do you think?”
“Rieko, we just talked about it here in Hawaii with U.S. officials. Yes, let’s go ahead. I will talk to my President.”
I could not understand for a while what Hon. K was talking about. At that time, in 2008, the U.S. top military brass fully understood the problem of maritime security of the Pacific, including the capacity of the Japanese Navy strengths and strictness. More importantly, I got confirmation that the U.S. needed Japan.
This message encouraged me to move forward because I understood what I was doing:
Step Up Japan-U.S. Alliance Towards Pacific Maritime Security
It was very stressful to have discussions with the high officials of Micronesian countries. However I had already gained trust with them through the Telecommunication Policy Project and others over many years.
The President of Federated States of Micronesia [FSM] told me:
“Rieko, our list of requests for help is too big. Maritime security is one of them. Please go ahead.”
November 2008, at the Presidential summit with Palau, FSM, and Republic of the Marshall Islands [RMI], all three Presidents agreed to request Japan’s support for their maritime security. However I encountered two strong reservations: one from Australia and the other from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MOFA].
Commuting to Canberra
After the end of the Cold War, the U.S. withdrew from the Pacific. Australia was then the only sea power who supported Pacific Maritime Security. In the 1980s when Exclusive Economic Zones [EEZ] were launched by many small island states, the Australian government launched the Pacific Patrol Boat Program [PPBP] for Pacific Island Countries [PIC].
Interestingly, in 2008 when I was trying to launch the Sea-Surveillance Project, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) issued a letter to their government stating: “Chasing fish is not the Navy’s responsibility”.
The Australian government started working on shifting the responsibility of chasing fish from their Navy to the law enforcement capacity such as border protection. However, RAN and anti-Japan former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s government finally changed their mind.
They told me that RAN had strong reservations on the Japanese presence in the Pacific!!! PPBP would then be continued within a modified framework, because if they left the Pacific, then Japan will come into their backyard – the Pacific Ocean. Good on you, OZ!
Since 2009, I had to frequently visit Canberra to talk with Pacific Maritime Security from the Royal Australian Navy [RAN], Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade [DFAT], Australian Strategic Policy Institute [ASPI] and others, especially the late Senator Russell Trood who was the Chair of the Pacific Security Committee.
I also launched a Maritime Security Study Group, inviting Senator Trood, Dr. Bergin from ASPI, U.S. Coast Guard [USCG] and scholars. In 2013, when I visited DFAT in Canberra, about 10 officials were waiting for me. I still remember that I felt I was in a different country. They welcomed Japan’s initiative, even asking my advice about Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s coming visit to Australia.
I told them “2014 is the centennial anniversary of Japan-Australia maritime cooperation.” Again I still remember that everyone fell from their chairs. But as a result, PM Abe visited near Albany where the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps [ANZAC] in 1914 departed for Gallipoli in Turkey with an escort from the Japanese Imperial Navy.
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MOFA] has never understood security. I have known about MOFA since 1989. They do not know anything about the Pacific Islands, nor Australia.
In 2008, due to efforts of the former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, we had embassies in three Micronesian nations which were once Japanese territories. MOFA was another obstacle to my efforts on launching the Micronesia Sea-Surveillance Project. MOFA, DFAT and RAN tried to stop our new challenge, while leaders of Micronesia fought their interference into their sovereignty.
Micronesian countries have a unique security arrangement with the U.S. as a Compact of Free Association [CFA]. So if America agrees and supports them, Japan should join their security.
Top personnel of the United States military mentioned, as noted above, that they are eager for Japanese participation in this region. Australia did a great job; however, they have limited capacity to look after the whole Pacific.
Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono talked about my ambition at Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS]. I could have launched the Micronesia Sea-Surveillance Project with support from the pro-Japan government of former Australian PM Tony Abbott and Japanese PM Abe’s administration.
I could arrange for a maritime coordination building in Palau.
In 2017, I was invited by two Japanese Parliament Members from the Maritime and Islands Committee with proposed focus on maritime security for Indo-Pacific Strategy.
The Abe administration took that direction. In the recent January 2020 CSIS [Center for Strategic and International Studies] event, I was astonished to listen to our Defense Minister, Taro Kono, talk about a Security Conference inviting Pacific Defense Ministers plus U.S., U.K., Aust, NZ and France respective officials.
I remember the comment of the U.S. military top personnel about Japan in 2008 – “We need Japan. We need the Japanese Navy to protect the vast Pacific Ocean. Japan is the only country which can protect the Pacific with the U.S. But we tied their feet and hands.”
Finally, I could now untie the feet and hands of Japan Defense capacity towards the Indo-Pacific. Japan and U.S. should accelerate security cooperation for the Indo-Pacific, especially the Western Pacific, where the United States arranged the CFA with Micronesian countries plus the Taiwan Relations Act.
Currently CFA is architected under the Cold War mentality, but the next renegotiation of CFA should focus on the people of Micronesia, with support from Japan who is a steady and powerful U.S. ally.