Japan angry on nuclear shift
Dennis Shanahan; 15/3/10
Diplomatic relations between Australia and Japan are spreading beyond the emotional issue of whale hunting in the Antarctic, as Japanese resentment grows at Kevin Rudd’s decision not to attend a nuclear disarmament meeting in Washington next month. Tokyo’s anger over the Rudd government’s renewed threat to take it to the International Court of Justice over whaling has fuelled disappointment at the Prime Minister’s shifting emphasis on nuclear non-proliferation. Last week, senior Japanese officials circulated an assessment of Japan-Australia relations after the first visit of new Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, which praised progress on trade, defence, disaster relief and nuclear non-proliferation. But the assessment contained blunt views about the Australian government’s threat to take Japan to the ICJ and the refusal to cite the legal grounds for any action outside the International Whaling Commission talks. It also stressed the importance of continuing discussions on the nuclear issue.