Qualifying Japan’s ‘flexibility’

I have always had a great respect for Gregory Clark, based on his excellent articles, which always strike at the heart of any matter he discusses even if I do not always agree with his opinions.

His excellent March 13 article, “Flexibility key to resolving Japan’s territorial disputes,” is no exception. But I must take issue with him on the last sentence: “With a little more negotiating flexibility it (Japan) probably could solve most of its disputes.”

I do understand what he means by his use of “flexibility” in this context, but I believe that it is precisely Tokyo’s flexibility that has led to its past and current problems with its neighbors.

The simple question that should be asked but is never asked is, do Japan’s neighbors — and indeed the rest of the world including Washington — really trust Japan? My answer: a categorical no!

Tokyo’s constant “flexibility” — in reality, its lies, deceits, falsehoods, denials of facts, etc. — is its greatest handicap in its dealings with its neighbors. Japan should unequivocally say what it means and mean what it says. It should stand on its own two feet and let go of Washington’s apron strings.

It should, once and for all, fully recognize and admit as truth its past crimes and sincerely apologize for them to the satisfaction of those who were hurt by the crimes. Perhaps then Japan will be liked and respected by its neighbors and the rest of the world, too. Most important of all, it will be trusted.

Apply flexibility where flexibility is needed, but it must always be based on truth, integrity and honor.

paul gaysford
tokyo

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.