Regarding U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Japan last week: Animosity among Asian leaders is nearing a critical mass as governments of the main players becoming increasingly hard-line and intolerant. America must insist that Japan cease its deliberate tit-for-tat aggravations that risk serious conflict.

No individual issue, such as the dispute over rocks [Senkaku Islands] in the East China Sea, can be approached as something separate from everything else that’s happening in the region. Both Koreas, China and Japan should all be taken to task for their intransigence.

Treating one more favorably than the other can only further infuriate those not viewed as America’s favorite and thus promote the kind of hatred prevalent in the Mideast, where America often turns a blind eye to atrocities that even its closest ally, Israel, may commit.

This is Shinzo Abe’s second stint as Japan’s prime minister. He needs to be made to see the reality of the political environment. America must remove his Hinomaru-tinted glasses and, if not publicly, then at least privately tell him to desist.

At a time of precarious regional relationships and in a country where many are becoming impoverished because of the leadership’s mismanagement of public funds for aggressive aims, Obama should not be seduced or dazzled by the over-the-top welcome and lavish treatment (which hurt the Japanese purse) that he received unless he wants America to become known as one that can’t say “no” to Japan, against which it had to take drastic action over a half-century ago.

The disturbing pace at whichAbe has already reshaped Japanese politics only 16 months after returning to power has the potential for triggering an Asian military meltdown unless stronger words are forthcoming from Washington. It’s up to Obama to curb any remnants of Japan’s pre-1945 insanity before it returns to full intensity again.

david john
chikushino, fukuoka

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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