Emily Thorne on the TV show “Revenge” said: “Truth is a battle of perceptions.” Where Japan and China are concerned, this is certainly true. In that regard, I take issue with the following points in Shatruntapa Patel’s Nov. 3 letter:
“It is China that has territorial disputes with almost everyone of its neighbors.” Well, 14 countries border China. Of these, China has territorial disputes with perhaps half of them. China has settled the land disputes with its neighbors but not the maritime ones, including the one over the Senkakus, a dispute that Japan refuses to recognize. (Perhaps China’s attitude partly stems from the unequal treaties forced on it by European powers in the 19th century.)
Japan, on the other hand, has just North and South Korea, China and Russia as close neighbors, yet has disputes with all of them.
“We have no interest in Chinese emotional appeals to a war finished nearly 70 years ago.” Patel fails to mention that over 15 million Chinese died as a result of Japan’s invasion of China. Many of Japan’s prime ministers have apologized for war atrocities, but many of Japan’s politicians (including Toru Hashimoto and Shintaro Ishihara) have denied war atrocities, without penalty.
This undermining of Japan’s attempts at reconciliation with its neighbors has prevented the creation of conditions that could settle territorial disputes and ensured that memories of war atrocities will not be set aside.
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.