Common sense toward China


With regard to Hisahiko Okazaki’s Feb. 20 commentary titled “Japan’s step toward normalcy,” I’d like to add my two pence worth.

Okazaki mentions that “certain elements in Japan and overseas are warning of a dangerous swing to the right in Japan politics” and that he finds their concerns “hard to understand.”

First, Japan has just re-elected a strongly rightwing leader, Shinzo Abe, who has a history of denying war crimes and the existence of wartime sex slaves. People are understandably concerned.

Okazaki may have a point about the limited effectiveness of rightwing groups in contemporary Japan. They are very effective at intimidating cinemas that show controversial material such as the documentary film about the Taiji dolphin hunt, “The Cove.”

May I suggest that he look in the direction of the political parties themselves. There, the hardline rightwingers (along with the Liberal Democratic Party) are now effectively running the country.

Okazaki speaks of Washington relying on Japan’s “cooperation.” This cooperation exists in the form of the 1951 and 1960 security treaties. These treaties allow the United States to station sizable forces in Japan, mainly in Okinawa, against heavy local opposition.

However, if Japan were to take measures to improve relations with China at least, the need for this military presence would be significantly reduced.

Such measures might include complete honesty about Japan’s war crimes as well as its admission that a dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands does indeed exist.

Is such common sense within the grasp of the current LDP administration?

christopher glen

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.

  • shaneSL

    As a Chinese person overseas, I think the writer confirms many Chinese’ people’s beliefs that the majority of Japanese people/citizens are good people who are keen on friendship, acknowledging past mistakes and moving forward in cooperation. The removal of Right Wing leaders and former war criminals and their offspring from Japan’s government will go a long way towards restoring historical justice and the righteousness of the Japanese people.

    Note that many Chinese people in China and overseas, as well as Koreans will be extremely angry if Abe insists on holding territories illegally seized in the 1895 war and in World War 2. It is a sure-fire path towards vengeance against Japan, rather than the peace and cooperation that most Chinese and Korean leaders are looking for with Japan.

  • Akom Seni

    The trouble with Japan is that she thinks she is White. Since the Meiji days, she has begun to discard her Asian characteristics until she nearly believes she is part of the Western block. She sneers at Asian values and blindly adore the West. The average Asians do not feel any affinity towards them. Respects and love flow both ways in relationships and societies.

    • Christopher-trier

      No, hardly. The Japanese are at heart Asian. The writing system is based off Chinese, their traditional architecture is bases off Tang Chinese architecture. Japan’s main religions are of mainland Asian origin — Buddhism, or indigenous origin — Shintoism. Japanese culture remains deeply influenced by Tang China, China’s Golden Age. That Japan embraced modernity, that Japan more readily accepted the outward appearance of Westernisation does not change anything. The Japanese have generally been more independent and have always been an anomaly in East Asia. Your criticism is both groundless and unfair.

    • Tokugawa 77

      What are the Asian values she is sneering at? Who gets to choose the values of this region or that region – you? The rulers in each region?
      There are no such things as”Asian” values or “western” values, these are just things dreamed up by those in power (Asian or western) to control their peoples. That’s what the “normalcy” discussed here is all about. Normalcy for whom?