In his Jan. 31 letter, “Bigger Threats than Japan,” James Boyden has missed the point of Gregory Clark’s Jan. 18 article on China-Japan relations, “So much for Abe’s reconciliation policy.”

I clearly remember the gist of Clark’s message was that, by demanding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s nonattendance at Yasukuni Shrine, the Chinese government has had to acquiesce to far weightier issues — such as Japan’s move to contain China by forming a Japan-Australia-India alliance, among other “rightist-leaning” moves that are clearly not in China’s interest. Thus China has had to give up so much for so little for all the dust it kicked up over Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni.

I cannot deny the threats outlined in Boyden’s letter, nor can I condone visits to Yasukuni Shrine, but it is difficult to criticize Japan’s defensive moves as “rightist.” Any country faced with such a conglomeration of threats would be foolish to do otherwise.

john blockman

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