Regarding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's dedication of a masakaki tree offering to Yasukuni Shrine during its spring festival last week: It seems clear that Japan is suffering from an acute case of national immaturity.

Its politicians seem quite unable to see that making a sincere public apology gains the affection and respect of other nations, while the failure to do so portrays the Japanese as having a childlike unwillingness to admit having been in the wrong.

For example, Abe's childish insistence that making a ceremonial tree offering to Yasukuni Shrine was done in a private capacity, when in fact it was sent under the name of the prime minister, is a blatant contradiction that he imagines to be the action of a mature adult.

The same lack of maturity has been revealed in Japan's stubborn insistence that its whaling expeditions were held for research purposes, when everybody knows that they are merely commercial jaunts.

Another example is the Japanese love and use of plump and featureless toylike pseudo-animals as mascots at exhibitions and national events.

All of these serve to reduce the dignity and maturity of the nation and make it impossible for Japan to achieve a trustworthy and seasoned international stature. North Korea has been called the "Naughty Boy of Asia." It might be fitting to label Japan the "Spoiled Child."

gavin bantock
susaki, kochi

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.