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In his Jan. 18 article, Gregory Clark argues that there are more important issues in Japan-China relations than Yasukuni Shrine. This is true, but the article does not address the more important issues of trade, regional integration, and building trust for security cooperation.

Instead, Clark pokes fun at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s emphasis on shared democratic values with India and Australia. The article assumes that since China has temporarily put away the Yasukuni card, Beijing will not confront Tokyo on other issues — a poor assumption, especially when it comes to Taiwan. Finally, Clark says that Japanese leaders use North Korea “to justify a significant upgrading in Japan’s military spending” when Japan’s defense budget is actually shrinking by a third of a percent.

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