Give East Asians a greater say

Zushi, Kanagawa

The Sept. 27 editorial “Confrontation may hurt economy” is right to presume that the recent flareup between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands is unlikely to be a one-time event. We can expect even stronger reactions in China if Japan builds a base on the islands or starts offshore drilling for natural gas.

Suggestions in the editorial that Japan respond by diversifying procurement routes, trying to become more self-sufficient and reconsidering its investments in China are not the answers. It is unrealistic for Japan to avoid or ignore China’s growing economy. The only lasting solution for Japan to prepare against economic repercussions from China — and, more importantly, potential military conflict — is to honestly try to understand China’s historical grievances and sincerely make amends.

This process would take years and the current Japanese political establishment is not going to initiate it. Therefore, the mass media has a responsibility to help promote dialogue, clarify facts and present various viewpoints, including those from the other side.

Unfortunately, I see almost no articles in The Japan Times written by Chinese writers, and very few by East Asian journalists. Instead, the pompous, parochial ramblings of George Will and the amateur, hyperbolic rants of Ted Rall have been featured for too many years in the Op-Ed section. The editors should consider shifting the paper’s focus away from U.S. news and seek out insightful voices from East Asia. After all, it is the region that will most affect people’s lives in Japan in the future.

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.

scott mintz