The July 3 editorial “Show restraint over Senkaku Islands” expresses apprehension over Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara’s plan to have the Tokyo government buy most of the Senkaku Islands from their private owner. China also claims the islands in the East China Sea.
The editorial, however, misses a key point. This is not just a territorial dispute between Japan and China, but rather a clash of value systems — between the rule of law and the law of the jungle.
In September 2010 a Chinese fishing boat captain was taken into custody on suspicion of deliberately colliding his trawler with two Japan Coast Guard cutters near the Senkaku Islands. The Naha District Public Prosecutors Office in Okinawa freed the captain out of “consideration for the bilateral relationship” after Beijing fiercely demanded his release and detained Japanese businessmen in response. China’s continued rejection of higher-level exchanges on the issue suggests that Beijing’s threats can always preempt Japan’s rule of law under the Democratic Party of Japan government.
If the rule of the law means that there is a body of law that supersedes the whims of government, Japan has shared it with the United States. The past 60 years between the U.S. and Japan speak for themselves — no bloody political changes, no massacres and no re-education camps in either country. On the other hand, Beijing showcases humanitarian abuses, day in and day out. Yet, the DPJ government is shamelessly silent on the situation.
Say what you want about China’s booming economy; the Senkaku issue should tell us that Japan must face reality soon. The dark side of the same old Chinese regime is revealing itself.
We should never give in to the law of the jungle. While the DPJ government offers us little hope for Japan’s security in East Asia, Ishihara is one man at least who says “NO!” to tyranny.
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.
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