• Nago City, Okinawa

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This year is the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre (December 1937). No doubt a new film by director Satoru Mizushima, which is to depict the event as “nothing more than political propaganda,” will further inflame relations between Japan and China. In 2007, the world faces global warming, the AIDS epidemic, a possible avian flu pandemic, chaos in the Middle East and the threat of nuclear and other forms of terrorism. Japan faces a declining population, falling standards of education, rising crime and growing gaps between rich and poor.

This year a Sino-Japanese “cinema war” is likely to break out over the Nanjing Massacre, backed by nationalists in both countries. Perhaps it would benefit all of us, regardless of nationality, to leave the issues of 1937 to academic historians and deal more effectively with the truly alarming problems that face us in 2007.

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