Resolve territorial disputes first

Suzhou, China

I happen to disagree with Hiroki Hamagami’s statement in his Dec. 27 letter, “Ambassador deserves support,” that Japan’s new ambassador to China should seek to strengthen economic ties between the countries and forget about the territorial dispute.

The big mistake that Japan continues to make is that it believes that the economy rules everything in the world. Japan forgets that not the whole world consists of “prostitutes” who’ll agree to accept anything as long as they get their money.

The new Japanese ambassador to China (Masato Kitera) started by saying that when political relations go sour, Japan and China should strengthen their economic ties. Is that supposed to be a new basic Japanese foreign policy philosophy? Or is it the usual one of selfish cherry-picking?

Switching philosophy according to the circumstances in order to maximize one’s benefits does not result in winning friends and respect in the long run.

Japan should try this philosophy on North Korea. Instead, Japan flexes its muscle and introduces economic sanctions when political relations sour. Maybe it would better for Japan if China flexed its muscle and treated Japan in the same way that Japan treats North Korea — just to teach Japan a lesson — until Japan complies 100 percent with China’s wishes. Otherwise, Japan will never learn to behave in a way that deserves respect and friendship.

The relationship between a prostitute and a customer is usually not one of friendship. Does Japan really wish to continue cultivating this kind of relationship with its neighbors?

It is not a good idea to focus only on the economy and pretend that territorial disputes do not exist. Solve them, or they will continue to sour relations.

Japan has suggested taking its dispute with South Korea to an international court yet, at the same time, Japan refuses to take its dispute with China to the same international court. This exemplifies the Japanese cherry-picking “philosophy.”

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.

joergen jensen