With increasing international momentum for an oil boycott on Iran in light of the Tehran regime’s relentless pursuit of nuclear energy capability, Japan’s leaders must pause and reflect on the unbearable cost of Iranian oil. By cost, I am not referring exclusively to yen and rials, but to the political, moral and opportunity costs as well.
Global politics is often compared to chess, a game invented by the Persians. That’s because, when making political decisions, one has to take into account the intrigue and complex network of connections and possible consequences as in a game of chess.
It is not difficult to see how a continuance of the oil trade between Iran and Japan, China and India (the top three export destinations for Iranian oil) could jam the wheels of the American-led initiative to discourage the Ayatollah regime from developing an offensive nuclear weapon. Successful development would rupture the diplomatic relationships between Japan, on one hand, and the United States and the European Union, on the other. On top of that, a failure to deal with this global threat could greatly weaken the U.S. politically and thus leave Japan without the support it needs to face the growing territorial demands from China and Russia.
Neither global politics nor global trade is known for taking the high moral ground, but Japan, the only pacifistic country, has pledged to become a beacon of peace to the world. Resetting the “doomsday clock” at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum every time the U.S. had a nuclear experiment was a great initiative. If the radical Shiite Islamic regime in Iran achieves a nuclear capability, a new nuclear arms race in the Middle East is inevitable. And would Iran then provide terror organizations such as al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Hamas with dirty-bomb capabilities? That concern is in addition to Iran’s constant threats made against Israel’s existence.
Decision makers in Japan must understand that its continued support for the Ayatollah regime in the form of oil imports helps Tehran continue its atrocities against the Iranian people.
Japan, following the Fukushima disaster, has an historical opportunity to enact feed-in-tariff regulations that can end its dependence on polluting foreign oil. If policymakers can rise above industry interests and politics, Japan could be well on its way to a substantial renewable energy industry, much like the one in Germany. Less and less dependence on foreign oil would mean more reinvestment at home in research and development so that Japanese firms could turn to exporting their domestically developed technologies as an economic driver.
Japan’s leadership has an opportunity to take a stand that will shape not only the history of nuclear weapons and the Middle East, but also the energy consumption habits of future generations of Japanese as well as their pride in their heritage.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.