Refusal to recognize a ‘dispute’

Regarding Noriko Fujita’s Dec. 12 letter, ‘Arrogant’ China as a role model,” I’d like to make a few points:

First, it seems to be a common tactic among the Japanese that, when their country’s stance on the sovereignty of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islets is questioned, they instead launch an attack on China’s human rights record and government. The real issue is the sovereignty of the islets, not China’s record on other matters.

Second, China has asked repeatedly that Japan recognize that a dispute exists. In 1972, to speed up the normalization of relations, both Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai agreed to “shelve the matter” for future generations. The Sonoda-Deng meeting in 1978 expressed much the same.

Third, it seems highly probable that the records of these meetings (like many of the records documenting the coercion of the “comfort women”) went “missing.” The trashing of a vast cache of Foreign Ministry materials on the eve of Freedom of Information rules being introduced in 2001 seems to substantiate this.

So, in other words, the imposition of China’s ADIZ — alarming as it may be — comes down to Japan’s refusal to recognize the existence of one word in its dealings with China: “dispute.”

christopher glen
perth, australia

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.