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The other Americas


Evangeline Anovilis
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While Japan was on quite horrid terms with the American Commonwealth, the rise of new states was seen as a chance for Japan to improve its general ties to the Americas. The Rist Confederation was such a new state, and while it at first glance seemed somewhat unruly, it seemed at least some place to start. And who knew, maybe things at times had a different side to them once one looked more closely.

 

Using a flight from Tokyo to Honolulu and from there to the Confederation, Minister of Foreign affairs Nakamichi Minoru would go to meet the Council or a representative thereof. A message would be sent to the Confederation beforehand, informing them of the details and of Japanese acceptence of their terms, given that the neutrality of the Rist Confederation was to be respected.

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The Minister of Foreign affairs Nakamichi Minoru for Japan plus any team he may have been travelling with would be met at the airport terminal, first by an airport attendant who would guide them to the exit through the entrance plaza and then next by a security team and Council ambassador, who called himself John Armstrong, at a waiting series of diplomatic cars. John would step forward and introduce himself before motioning to the waiting cars. Depending on the number of arriving visitors the number of cars used for transport would range between one to all three. Regardless the Council ambassador would enter the same car as the Minister of Foreign affairs to keep him company during the ride.

 

Once everyone was settled inside the cars the group would set off from the airport and start heading for the capital city itself, as the airport was on the outskirts, departing the airport limits it wouldn't take long for the capital city to come into view. The first sight would be of extensive farmland between the city and the airport. The ambassador would turn to Nakamichi to speak to the man directly. "Mr Minoru I hope that so far you first look at the Confederation is turning out to be one to your satisfaction. As you can see here we have large amounts of land dedicated to nothing but feeding the populace, so far we manage to do this with little problems but it is always one area the Confederation is looking to improve. We should be passing through the last of the farmland shortly and then we can enter the capital city itself". 

Edited by Kevin Kingswell
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Nakamichi travelled only with one assistent, as he trusted the Rist Confederation to ensure his safety during the stay. And given that the Confederation had already been on guard as to whether there'd be any fighting due to the American Commonwealth, Nakamichi saw it as prudent to not arrive with a personal army of security police.

 

As the Minister saw the extensive agricultural areas and heard the explanation, he wondered for a moment, responding once Armstrong had ended. "Well, what can I say? It seems your people are working hard for their food. Agriculture seems important to your country. Japan itself doesn't have much arable land, compared to the number of citizens, but we do manage to get a lot out of it, thanks to technology and proper techniques. Still, much food we have is imported from abroad. How does the Rist Confederation fare in this regard, if one may ask?"

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"Thank you for the compliment. As for our imports a lot of the basic necessities are grown or produced here internally but the more luxurious items are imported from the global market. A large amount of our more advanced technology are also imported as the industry here just can't keep up. I know one professor at the university I learnt at said we would need to make the tools to make the tools to make more tools to then be able to produce devices of the same technological level as say Japan or Tianxia. As you can probably guess this is far beyond our current capabilities". 

 

Armstrong would take a moment to get his breath and to give the Minister time to think on what had been said before he continued. "One industry that the Confederation specializes in is in the production of arms. These might not be the most advanced weapons in the world but they are all built to be reliable and each manufacturer puts their whole effort into their stock. The open market we maintain here in our free cities does mean that the demand for these weapons are high and we will sell to just about anyone. There are a few exceptions of course any group or nation that commits war crimes or attacks and harms civilians deliberately are quickly denied access to the markets and any one from them trying to access those markets would be swiftly apprehended."  

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"Arms production? Well, I guess there's always a market for that, sadly. And I'm sure that even if not advanced, affordable weapons have their own kind of customers. Does your country also have any other great industries? I'd suppose there would be other branches of the economy too, no?", Nakamichi inquired curiously, as he heard of the arms industry.

 

"Technology is not everything. In our case, our high technology allows us to be competitive. But Japan has little in natural ressources, and you can only make so much from dirt. We thus rely heavily on trade and being efficient to make up for our country's natural shortcomings. It is our hope that free trade will bring prosperity and peace."

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"The Confederation boasts a fairly substantial oil industry, we have a large variety of oil drilling locations from small private owned drilling businesses to three massive Council owned drilling and storage facilities. In partnership with this industry we maintain a strong merchant maritime industry to transport our exports and imports. In fact if you are in the market for an alternative source of oil I am sure we can arrange some sort of deal between our two nations. A lot of luxury goods though aren't produced here, expensive clothes, furniture and most other products that you can commonly find in more developed nations are missing from ours and the same with high tech electronics."

 

Armstrong would turn to look out the vehicle's windows as the entered the outskirts of the capital city, passing by a huge number of low maintenance flats and apartments, the buildings showed signs of  decay but not enough to be dangerous. Many citizens could be seen going about their daily lives, walking to and from work, taking pets out and kids playing in the street or the occasional park. Generally citizens being happy and going about their usual routines, the only thing that stood out was the often passing of a military truck full of soldiers or military armoured vehicles going places at a fair speed.

 

Armstrong would look back towards the Minister before speaking again. "I too would hope for a more peaceful and prosperous world and would gladly welcome free trade among all nations. Already we here in the Confederation have removed any taxes on import and export goods and only request a small berthing fee for any transport vehicles to help pay for maintenance costs at the docks and airports. I hope that the Confederation and Japan will become great trading partners and even friends in the future." 

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"Japan, as a country without much in resources would surely be interested in purchasing oil, if it is at an affordable price. As while I think we both agree it being unreasonable that such a vital part of your economy be open to foreign ownership, I would suggest still that maybe cooperations be established between your petrochemical industry and ours. I'm sure that in return for secure supply relations, there can be technical cooperation to allow greater efficiency, less environmental impact and improved access to even hardly accessible oilfields, which in turn might allow you to sell more oil. Also, if one may ask, how is the transport infrastructure for oil exports? I think, establishing your oil exports more firmly on the market will hopefully provide you with a better position in world trade and us with a more secure energy supply."

 

Nakamichi thought for a minute, looking out the window, watching the people and military. He wondered what these soldiers were up to, but deemed it not the right moment to ask such a question. "I would think that if trade security between our two countries is established post-war, then the Rist Confederation will have quite a bit of opportunity to trade. While our own merchant navy is no joke, given the importance of trade to our nation, a secure and open America is most likely offering hundreds of opportunities to profit from trade between the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region... maybe even with Europe, though recently Europe hasn't been all too well."

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"I can ensure you that Japan will receive an affordable price, this being from the simple fact that your nation is the first to officially make more than a token effort to talk with us. I can also agree with the idea of our nation's petrochemical industries working together to achieve a more efficient working process. As for our transportation industry, we have an extensive rail network on land that runs straight from the major facilities right down to the ports where our large maritime merchant industry takes over. We have many vessels in said industry from tiny coastal tankers right up to a pair of super tankers for larger and longer trading voyages."

 

"As for trade security that is where the Confederation encounters a number of problems, unfortunately our nation lacks any true naval force. Oh we have a few armed coast guard cutters and fishery protection vessels but we have nothing to guard our vessels on the open seas. Once the vessels pass out of range of our land based aircraft they are at the mercy of anyone they encounter."

 

"Yes, we are always looking for more opportunities for trade both here at home and abroad though as you have said Europe is not doing well. Last we heard was that Europe was becoming involved in some sort of war recently. For our vessel's safety we have informed them to stay clear of the European markets for now."  

Edited by Kevin Kingswell
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Nakamichi nodded, as he heard of the situation. "Japan has high hopes that relations with the americas improve. That may seem somewhat strange, given our war with the American Commonwealth, but we are hoping that post-war, a new more dynamic order may arise and that prosperity and stability settles in. Such would naturally benefit the Americas, but it'd also provide us with prospective partners such as yourselves, where we are happy to work with you."

 

"I would hope that more nations establish themselves in the Americas and in the Asia-Pacific region. I'm sure that your merchant navy could profit more from trading with states, rather than protectorates too and that more partnerships can be established this way. As for maritime security... I do not know how much you'd feel appropriate, but there's always the possibility for cooperation between our two countries in this area. While Japan adheres to a policy of not interfering with American affairs and transferring responsibility to states in the region, we are not against cooperation and assistance when such is appreciated and at times necessary. After all, the maritime security in these waters does also matter for our country, which hopefully will establish no irrelevant trade relations with you after this meeting. So, if you wish for assistence, feel free to ask."

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"Truthfully all that we would like to ask is that if you have any naval vessels operating around the globe that they could perhaps be ready to respond to any distress calls from our merchant ships and possibly keep an eye on them as they sail. Just those small measures would go a long way to making our sailors and their families feel a lot safer and reassured. I also must agree with your statement about trading with countries hopefully we will see more nations rising soon."

 

"Ah here we are" said the ambassador gesturing to a large marble stone building directly ahead of the convoy. The building was built out of strong marble stone and rose at least three floors high above the ground. Four stone pillars supported a over hang that jutted out from the main entrance which was in the form of a pair of oak wooden doors. "This is the Council chambers, inside one or more Council members will be waiting to meet with you and they will be better placed to form and sign any agreements between our two nations."  The convoy would halt outside the entrance and Armstrong would get out of the car and quickly walk around to the other side to open the door for the Japanese minister to exit.

 

Waiting only a few steps away an honor guard of soldiers from the Confederation's military waited to escort the minister into the Council building, the Lieutenant in charge waiting silently at attention for the minister to step forwards.   

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"Oh, should such a signal reach us, we will respond naturally. It is after all only normal to do so. Sadly, we do not have a global presence though, being mostly restricted in our presence to the Northern Pacific, with occassional operations in the South China Sea, the Java Sea and the Caribbean. Mostly just to patrol these sealanes and show our presence, given that these are vital trade routes for our country. If you want some long range search and rescue capabilities, especially for the Caribbean, I'd suggest you may procur some flying boats. Our nation has quite a few of them and they do a good service. I'm sure in these waters they'd be quite valuable too.", Nakamichi responded, before following the gestures of Armstrongs and taking a look at the Coucil Chambers. It seemed quite a nice building. It had a classy elegant flair to it, yet seemed not too pretentious or over the top.

 

Nakamichi left the car, nodding thankfully to Armstrong who had opened his door. "I'm already looking forward to meeting the Council's representative. Talking to you, I do have hopes for a good and cooperative relationship." He then followed the guards to the meeting location.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nakamichi would be lead into the building through the main entrance which opened up onto a plain and simple entrance hall with little decorations. However, unlike the few guests sat waiting to be called in for their meetings the foreign minister would be taken straight through the hall and into a long corridor. Walking along this corridor Nakamichi would catch glimpses of government employees at work at their stations but would quickly arrive at another set of large double doors. These doors would be swiftly opened and the Japanese visitor taken into the council chambers. 

 

The chambers were fairly big with enough seating benches provided around the sides for about fifty people with another twenty or so being able to be seated on single chairs in the back center of the room. For now these seats were all empty and the only other occupants inside the chamber were a pair of armed guards stationed in front of a series of imposing desks at the head of the room where a middle aged man and an elderly woman were sat waiting. Coming closer more detail would be able to be seen by the Japanese official, the middle aged man was dressed in a well kept and ironed suit and was busy waiting with his hands clasped together and his eyes on the new arrival. Meanwhile the elderly woman was dressed in a now faded red working dress , a pair of simple glasses on her as she sat with pen and paper writing and studying the documents before her showing little regard for the events before her.

 

The Lieutenant who had taken over guarding and guiding Mr Nakamichi would step forward to address the two Confederation councilors. "Mr Nakamichi Minoru, Minister of Foreign Affairs from Japan has arrived safe and well to see you Councilors" spoke the Lieutenant. 

 

"Excellent work Lieutenant, you and your men are dismissed" replied the male Councilor who waited until the military men had left before turning his attention to Nakamichi as he stood up from his desk and crossed the short distance to greet him with a hand out in welcoming. "It is a pleasure to meet you Mr Minoru, my name is Jonathon Stuart and the lady behind me is Margaret Smith. I hope your visit to the Confederation has been pleasant enough so far?"

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As Nakamichi was guided through the building, the Minister of Foreign Affairs wondered about the make-up of the political institutions of the Rist Confederation. In all his years as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as Prime Minister, he had visited a lot of places and no two seemed to ever be alike. states had the most peculiar ways of organising themselves, sometimes even just through informal means outside institutions. For Japan, such mattered little though. Overall, Akiyama was probably the first Prime Minister up to now to care as much about the internal affairs of other states, and even there, the main issue to her were to contain communism and anti-Japanese sentiment, two things that were seen as threatening to the Japanese state.

 

But Nakamichi's thought were coming to a halt, as he was introduced to Stuart and Smith, whom he politely greeted. "Thanks. As stated, I'm Minoru Nakamichi, in charge of our Empire's foreign affairs. I'm honoured to have been received by you and hope there'll be good relations between our countries. I already talked with Mister Armstrong on the way here and I am very optimistic."

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  • 4 weeks later...

"I am glad to hear that, I too hope that we shall set up and maintain good relations between our two nations. As introductions have been made let us cut straight to the chase, the Rist Confederation is looking for a reliable trading partner and agreeable ally in global politics. I hope that we can have Japan be that ally. What do you say minister?"  asked Stuart. 

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