Squabbles that cloud the future

Chikushino, Fukuoka

Regarding the Sept. 5 question-and-answer article “Island row with South Korea rooted in rival historic claims“: In the context of Japan’s deliberate policy to obscure the past through its junior high school history textbooks, which have so frequently been used as blunt political weapons to euphemize away its recent past, it is easy to understand South Korea’s reluctance to even consider discussing the territorial dispute over the islands that both countries claim.

It is also troubling that one of the current contenders for the Liberal Democratic Party leadership, Shinzo Abe, has long been a strong spokesperson for beautifying the past so as to divorce it from the present, ever since his regrettable stint as prime minister.

Japan has something less than an untarnished reputation when it comes to the methods it so frequently employs in international diplomacy. Money has long been used as a means to silence critics, and subterfuge has been its policy of choice, as with the International Whaling Commission, for example.

It seems like a case of the boy crying wolf again and again when there was no wolf to begin with, because it was convenient to distract attention from other matters.

Will anybody listen to Japan’s claims anymore unless there is some profit to be made from it?

It is an interesting coincidence that Japan’s grip on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is slipping when complaints about the failure to highlight the North Korean abduction issue go unheeded. Wasn’t it also Abe who took on the abduction issue during his devastating time in office, assigning a huge budget to it?

Now that the LDP fully expects to wrest power back from the DPJ after its typical war of attrition that has effectively scuppered the Japanese Diet at a time when it most needs interparty cooperation, it seems like there is less and less hope for a brighter Japanese future as its squabbling over the disputed islands with South Korea, China and Taiwan has come to a screeching halt.

If Japan wants to proceed at all, why doesn’t it try total international honesty as this seems to be the one road taken less often, if ever?

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.

david john