Over the past several months while trying to learn more about why Japan is cautious about allowing migrants from Muslim countries into Japan, it seems that Japan has had a very long relationship with Pakistan. This might explain why there are so many people from Pakistan in Japan many working in the automotive industry. Currently, 46 percent of imports to Pakistan from Japan are automobile related. This also explains why there are an estimated 70,000 practicing Muslims along with roughly 60 mosques located throughout Japan. Japan and Pakistan actually have a very long and cordial relationship, however, since most Japanese would never tolerate a multi-cultural society, Pakistanis in Japan face many obstacles as well as discrimination. I think Islam in Japan for now pretty much remains a marginal issue, but one which still has the potential to develop in many directions, particularly related to Japan’s energy needs. Most foreign Muslims probably come to Japan for economic opportunity and the peaceful stability of Japanese society. A brief summary (diplomatic speak) of the Pakistan-Japan relationship:
Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the two countries enjoyed cordial and friendly relations. At the 1951 San Francisco Peace Conference, Pakistan was the only major country invited from South Asia (as China was not invited, and India and Burma stayed away from the Conference for their own reasons). At the conference, Pakistan delegation led by Foreign Minister Sir. Zafarullah Khan strongly argued for treating Japan with respect. Sir Zafarullah made a historical speech noting that “The peace with Japan should be a premised on justice and reconciliation, not on vengeance and oppression. In the future, Japan would play an important role as a result of the series of reforms initiated in the political and social structure of Japan which hold out a bright promise of progress and which qualify Japan to take place as an equal in the fellowship of peace loving nations”.
My impression is that most Japanese are indifferent to the existence of Muslim migrants in their country, and that it isn’t very likely the Japanese will become interested in Islam considering all the news coverage of Islam being “connected to terrorism”. For the time being, Japan’s relationship with Islam seems to be very odd especially considering Japan’s response to the “war on terrorism”. But only “odd” up until Japan’s need for energy and resource requirements, like from the region of Balochistan in Pakistan. Most people don’t have a clue about this region of Pakistan particularly the Japanese unless it is in energy and resource diplomacy. Diplomatically, Japan has a key interest in maintaining stable relations with Balochistan as evidenced by continuing technological, engineering, management and science exchanges. As admitted by Japan, their only interest in becoming involved in infrastructure development is for the major reason of being able to exploit Balochistan’s energy and mineral resources as discussed in a Tribune article published in March, 2015. Japan releases ODA funds for infrastructure in Pakistan with very little released for Balochistan because of what Japan refers to as the “law and order situation.” Instead of repatriating profits from Japan’s activities in Balochistan, why doesn’t Japan retain those profits inside Balochistan to continue local improvements in education and security like Japan claims it is doing?
According to Pepe Escobar, “Balochistan is the ultimate prize” in the region with the incredibly important deep water port constructed by the Chinese at Gwadar. Pepe Escobar writes: “China – which built Gwadar and needs gas from Iran – must be sidelined by all means necessary. The added paranoid Pentagon component is that China could turn Gwadar into a naval base and thus ‘threaten’ the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.” In fact, Gwadar is the world’s deepest natural sea port unlike the contemporary ports in Iran and Dubai and has the capacity of berthing 88 ships between 1,00,000 – 2,00,000 DWT (dead weight tonnage). Imagine for a moment China decides to park several nuclear powered submarines and a few frigates at Gwadar like Sheikh Imran Hosein suggests in the video linked below? Returning to Japan’s participation, this might mean that Japan as a satrap of the Anglo-Americans, will be persuaded to take on China in the Pacific region to further add to the potential volatility of preventing China from taking Gwadar as a military port. If China loses the port of Gwadar, China will be starved for energy. As it stands now, Pakistan is allowing Balochistan’s resources to be taken by China much to the resentment and detriment of people in Balochistan.
Balochistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and is located in the southwestern region of the country. Its provincial capital and largest city is Quetta. It shares borders with Punjab and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to the northeast, Sindh to the southeast, the Arabian Sea to the south, Iran to the west, and Afghanistan to the north. Turkmenistan is nothing compared to the grand prize of them all: Balochistan. China cannot afford to allow Balochistan from gaining full independence from Pakistan and Bangladesh as a state in and of itself. The vast mountainous desert region in Pakistan’s southwest is known as Balochistan which covers 347,190 square kilometers. It is a huge land area and constitutes 44% of Pakistan’s total landmass. This region is in the Pentagon as well as Chinese gun sites as well as to a lessor extent the Japanese.
The region contains vast coal beds, natural gas, produces “vast quantities of gold” and is rich in chromite, barytes, silver, sulpher (munitions industry), marble and limestone deposits. As far as produce and a country where cattle could be raised, Balochistan has enormous potential, but because the world seeks instead cheap energy resources, Balochistan is being exploited. This makes Balochistan, one of the most troubled areas of Pakistan, a prime location for what many hope will become one of the world’s great trade routes, linking the deep water port of Gwadar with the city of Kashgar, a trading hub in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang. The Chinese do not want Balochistan’s independence from Pakistan and neither do they want to lose control of this region and the port at Gwadar. During a visit to Pakistan in April, 2015 by China’s president, Xi Jinping, it was announced that “China would invest $46 billion by 2030 in new roads, the upgrade of existing ones, power plants, pipelines and other projects to fulfill this dream—far more than America has invested in Pakistan in recent years.” At least the Chinese seem willing to pay for the resources and minerals they extract from the region, whereas the Americans seem to be good at taking resources by brute force.
For years I have been listening to lectures given by Sheikh Imran Hosein who I have come to respect and admire. In this lecture, he suggests that if China loses the port of Gwadar in Balochistan, that China will cease to exist as an empire. That might be true but not because of oil which is hard finding good information on as to how much oil is potentially in Balochistan. And just so that everyone knows, the people in Balochistan are taking a brutal beating by the Pakistan army with killings going on almost daily.
Why China doesn’t want the independence of Balochistan