I have some problems with your article, "Poodle or Pekingese?"
They are not few.
1) America does not have 134 bases in Japan. According the Ministry of Defense, U.S. Forces Japan has 85 bases and areas of operation in Japan.
2) The total land area of U.S. bases in Japan is not "one-and-a-half times the size of Tokyo." According to the Ministry of Defense, the total land area of U.S. bases and areas of operations, is 309 square kilometers. The total land area of Tokyo, according to the Geographic Survey Institute of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, is 2,103 square kilometers. Even if you limited yourself to the 23 central wards of the Tokyo Metropolitan District, the assertion is still wrong. According to the TMD website, the nijūsanku together cover 622 square kilometers.
Here is a bonus. The total land area of Japan is 377,945 square kilometers. Run the numbers and you will find that U.S. bases and areas cover a whopping 0.08% of Japan's total land area.
3) You have never heard of Douglas MacArthur' great gaffe. Otherwise you would have never dared print a paragraph like this (color scheme, mine):
His main foreign-policy goal is to establish a more “equal” partnership with America. This, however, puts him in the predicament of a rebellious youth desperate to break out of its parents’ clutches—but unable to afford it. He has expensive campaign promises to meet, such as expanding social welfare and child support, and little scope to spend more on rearming.What you have committed with this little turn of phrase is what we in this blessed land call "a self-inflicted injury."
4) You call Japan the main Asian ally of the United States in the Cold War. I believe the South Koreans, who have fought alongside their U.S. allies in a bloody conflict on the Korean peninsula, sent fighting men and women to Vietnam (and Iraq, for good measure) and who have allowed their forces to be commanded by a U.S. general, might find your assertion a bit...obtuse.
5) You write that:
One of those parties consists of former socialists who have staunchly opposed keeping American troops on Japanese soil. Only after lengthy bargaining did it agree to water down its anti-American stance.One of the parties, the Democratic Socialist Party of Japan, is a not a party of former socialists (small "s"). It is a party of real, present day socialists (small "s").
As for the second assertion, that the DSPJ watered down its anti-American stance after lengthy bargaining, it did no such thing. It retains its anti-American stance, undiminished.
7) I am not quite sure of your grasp of history, either of the world or of Japan.
Throughout its history Japan, when it has not closed its doors to foreigners altogether, has tended to seek out and support the dominant or rising powers of the day, be that middle-kingdom China, Nazi Germany or post-war America. China's emergence thus presents its diplomats with something of a novelty: the task of balancing relations between two powers at once.I have to think of the last time a government based in Japan has sought to support any of the dynasties of "middle-kingdom China." O.K, the Ashikaga bakufu, maybe. No, it really is hard to see how this claim of accommodating the rising or dominant powers can be squared with Japan foreign policy since, oh, let us say the time of Sugawara no Michizane (845-903) to the arrival of the black ships of Commodore Matthew Perry.
As for "something of a novelty: the task of balancing relations between two powers at once" -- how are you characterize the interwar years in East Asia, where Great Britain and the United States were the two regional colonial big shots? What about balancing in between the U.S.S.R and the U.S.A during the Cold War?
6) I am trying to figure out your final aside in this paragraph.
Mr Hatoyama has made a strong commitment to improve relations with other Asian countries, and has a chance of easing decades-old tensions because of his party's history of sincere apology for Japan’s wartime atrocities.The DPJ has a history of sincere apologies for Japan's wartime atrocities? Individuals within the DPJ, possibly...but the party as a whole? I am willing to be proven wrong on this one...or on any of the rest of the points I raise above.