April 14, 2005
EAST ASIA TENSIONS: 'NATIONALISM IS COMING TO THE FORE'
** Papers blame recent tension on a "sense of rivalry" between China and Japan.
** Critics of the PRC assail Beijing for "encouraging its citizens to despise Japan."
** Korean, Japanese outlets agree "perception gaps" fuel historical and territorial disputes.
** Regional media blast Japan for "whitewashing aggression" and "distorting historical facts."
'Deep differences between Japan and China'-- Outlets said the ongoing crisis over "ghosts of the past" proved the region still has "nationalistic fires burning." Japan's liberal Asahi saw "deep-seated mutual distrust" between China and Japan, which both seek "Asian leadership." Chinese papers alleged Tokyo's "provocative actions" were part of a "U.S. strategy of fostering Japan to contain China." Singapore's pro-government Business Times criticized Tokyo for siding "with Washington's view of China as a potential enemy." Moderate writers called for a "cool-headed attitude" instead of "excited, overemotional reactions." Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post urged all governments to "do their utmost to cool tempers."
'Exaggerated Chinese nationalism'-- Critics slammed the PRC's "tacit consent" for "widespread vandalism" against Japanese interests in China. Japan's conservative Sankei held Beijing "clearly responsible for the violence." A German weekly blamed China's "thriving nationalistic arrogance"; Taiwan's pro-independence Liberty Times concluded that "nationalism has replaced proletarian internationalism" in China. Papers warned that Beijing "may be playing with fire" by allowing such a "marauding mob mentality." The anti-Japan protests could become "domestic policy revolts," cautioned Germany's right-of-center Die Welt.
Tokyo and Seoul must 'mend ties'-- Korean and Japanese media backed "diplomatic channels" to find a solution to "territorial and textbook issues," but warned compromise was "not so easy." Korean dailies derided Japanese schoolbooks for their "brazen glorification of Japan's colonial expansion and intentional neglect of its atrocities." Moderate Hankook Ilbo predicted a "protracted diplomatic war" and independent Joong-Ang Ilbo was "very disappointed" by Japan's "sophistry and excuses." Japanese outlets urged Seoul to behave in a "more mature manner" and "deepen mutual understanding," though moderate Yomiuri slammed Seoul's attempt to "exert pressure" on Japan's educational system.
'Worried about Japan's future actions'-- Ethnic Chinese writers joined liberal dailies to blame the "ongoing discord" on Japan's "reluctance to acknowledge its war crimes." China's official People's Daily warned that the "neo-nationalist" textbooks "poison the thinking of young Japanese," while Malaysia's leading Sin Chew Daily linked the textbooks to a "revival of militarism." Japan's "baffling pathology" of being unable to recognize its "belligerent, criminal past" led many papers to argue Tokyo "does not deserve" to join the UNSC. A Malaysian paper urged the entire region to "go all out to stop" Japanese accession; Hong Kong's independent Sing Tao Daily News distrusted "Japan's ambition to expand its military force."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 99 reports from 18 political entities over 5 - 14 April, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "Japan’s Desire To Become A Permanent Member of the UNSC Cannot Be One-Sided"
Gu Ping said in official People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) (4/14): "Regarding Japan’s desire to become a permanent member of the UNSC, the current situation has made Japan uneasy for several reason. First, citizens throughout Asia have simultaneously initiated petitions to oppose Japan. It is quite ironic when a country that desires to represent the Asia-Pacific region cannot even gain trust from its own region. Second, UN members’ opinions on UN reform diverge greatly. Recently more than 110 countries got together to call for a pragmatic resolution on the expansion of the Security Council. Third, lately U.S. attitudes seem to have undergone a subtle change. The U.S. is opposed to making reform the core task of the UN summit.... People have reason to doubt Japan’s qualification to take responsibility to represent Asia. Japan lacks correct recognition and deep introspection on its wartime history and hasn’t yet gained trust in Asia. Japan also has to figure out another issue: is it going to be Japan of the west, or of Asia? The U.S.-Japan alliance is the backup that makes Japan fearless in Asia.”
"China And Japan Move Closer To Diplomatic War--Japan Chooses Confrontation Style Against China"
Qin Xuan noted in Communist Youth League-affiliated official Elite Reference (Qingnian Cankao) (4/13): "China-Japan relations appear to have reached a crossroads. Intense conflicts are breaking out, and all thorny issues between the two countries are on the table now.... Currently China-Japan diplomatic relations are at their lowest point since relations were established.... There are three core issues that affect relations between China and Japan: historical issues, economic matters with political overtones (e.g., unauthorized oil field exploration), and the deep distrust between the two countries. The root cause of the problem is Japan, and its confrontational policies toward China. Currently both Japan and China need to remain calm if other conflicts break out. Such a situation may last for a while.”
"Why Does U.S. Seem To Be Confused: Balanced Stance Unwarranted--Purely Thinking Of Own Interests"
Xu Qingduo and Shi Chunjun observed in China Radio International-sponsored official World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (4/12): "The U.S., as a country who was also at the side of the fighting against Japan during the WWII, obviously doesn’t have a sincere attitude on Japan’s denial of history and beautifying invasion. This notwithstanding, the U.S. keeps an ambiguous silence. American scholars have commented that the U.S. has already fully released its anger for the large casualties it suffered during the war by dropping two atomic bombs on Japan. U.S. strategic interests make the U.S. unwilling to criticize Japan. The U.S. attitude also shows an indifference to the feelings of other countries. The U.S. cares only about its own interests. To achieve its strategic goals, the U.S. doesn’t mind cozy military alliance with a country who is beautifying the history of invasion.”
"Can Japan Become Permanent Member Of UNSC?"
Zhu Feng commented in official English-language China Daily (4/12): "Japan lacks a serious attitude of introspection towards its history of aggression and its stubborn adherence to opinions is an action which hurts the feelings of victimized nations in Asia, especially since Japanese government is unmoved and cold despite the repeated solemn demands sent by China, South Korea and other countries, and if Japan suddenly becomes a permanent member of the Security Council, this will not only be a trampling of international justice, but will also certainly create a greater degree of division in the UN."
"Japanese Right-wing Textbook Emerges: Distortion Of Historical Evidence"
Cao Pengcheng concluded in official People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) (4/12): "The keynote of the level of concoction in the textbook [New History Textbook] published by Fuso Publishing Co is denying history and beautifying aggression, and the 'amendments' that it has made are also only a whitewashing of its lies, and the result is that the more they cover them up, the blacker they become."
"What Kind Of Introspection Does Japan Lack?"
Ding Gang observed in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (4/11): "Germany’s introspection went beyond just putting war criminals on trial--it considered human nature and national culture. Germany’s introspection has made many German citizens who blindly and passionately followed Nazism during the World War II years seek penance from deep in their heart. Conversely, Japan’s post-war introspection has been very shallow. Japan’s version of Nazism was no better than Germany’s.... What’s worse than Nazism is when the perpetrator of such cruelty cannot neither admit to, nor give a reason for its abominable behavior. The atomic bomb provided Japan with an excuse to disguise its own historic cruelty. Japan’s continuous revision of its school textbooks to twist history makes use of this victim’s psychology. No deep national introspection, no apology from deep in heart, and the earth where right wings are breeding could not be removed. The Asian people who experienced the savagery of Japan’s wartime atrocities are more and more worried about Japan’s future actions.”
"How Can Japan Talk About The Future When It Disregards History?"
Wang Baofu asserted in official army-run Jiefangjun Bao (Liberation Army Daily) (4/11): "As a country which started a war of aggression against many countries, Japan should profoundly draw lessons from history. If Japan wants to become a 'normal country', it must persist with a correct view of history, practically fulfill its pledges to the international community, and cannot allow the right wing to confound right and wrong, and wantonly distort history."
"Japan's Vicious Cycle Of Logic"
Song Lin contended in official Shanghai-based Jiefang Ribao (4/11): "Japan longs to become a political power, and it has sped up steps in recent years, but it often falls into a vicious cycle of logic. Japan always thinks that it only has to cover up historical truth for it to ascend to the ranks of the political powers with a 'clean body', and cast off its 'negative legacy' of being an aggressor country and defeated nation in World War II. Actually the truth is just the opposite, a country which does not dare to face history directly can only blacken itself more."
"Will The U.S.-Japan-South Korea Alliance Disintegrate? South Korea is Moving Towards China"
Liu Fuchen and Xu Baokang commented in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (4/8): “South Korea analysts correctly state that currently the South Korea government is placing more emphasis on the its relations with China than the U.S.--this worries Japan. President Roh now sees South Korea as playing an important balancing role in Northeast Asia. This is the theory behind South Korea’s passive response and opposition to U.S.-Japan Northeast Asia policy. South Korean analysts think that if South Korea chooses to move forward with a more balanced foreign policy, U.S.-South Korea relations will not be affected. The U.S.-South Korea alliance is an important alliance for both countries. That said, over time there will continue to be a small, subtle adjustments to the alliance. The U.S.-South Korea alliance, and South Korea-Japan cooperation derived from it, will proceed in conflicts.”
"Japan Depends On U.S. To Fight Against China: U.S. Rearming of Japan Could Be Disastrous"
Shi Chunjun and Xiao Jianmin said in China Radio International-sponsored official World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (4/8): "A series of provocative actions by Japan is closely-tied to the U.S. strategy of fostering Japan to contain China in Asia. Beautifying its World War II invasion of several countries in Asia in its history textbooks is another provocative behavior by Japan against its neighbors after economic, territorial and historical disputes. Japan’s dependence on the U.S. will further isolate it from other countries in Asia. Once the U.S. game of rearming Japan goes out of control, it will cause a political earthquake in Asia and the result could be disastrous.”
Official People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) concluded (4/6): "Japan's new history textbooks deserve to be attacked for whitewashing aggression, distorting historical facts and evading responsibility for crimes.... They are a provocation to the justice and conscience of humanity, do serious harm to people's feelings in all the victimized countries, and also poison the thinking of young Japanese."
"Jeopardizing UNSC Seat For Japan"
Official Shanghai-based Wenhui Bao warned (4/6): "The textbook dispute may jeopardize Japan's chances of a much-coveted seat on the UNSC.... How can a country which not only cannot correctly handle history, but falsifies history again and again, have the qualifications to become a permanent member of the UNSC and a responsible member of the international community?"
"U.S. Strives For Influence, Japan Strives For Land"
Yu Yongsheng wrote in official Xinhua News Agency-run International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (4/7): “There are new developments in U.S.-China and Japan-China relations.... In the U.S., 'China-as-a-threat' theories are on the rise again--this reflects the current state of U.S.-China strategic interests. Comparatively speaking, Japan-China conflicts stem more from territorial disputes. The U.S. and China are fighting for 'influence,' while Japan and China are fighting for actual territory. The former is a soft conflict--the latter is a hard conflict. It is not difficult to foresee that the soft conflicts between the U.S. and China will be resolved in line with the current trend. However, resolution of the hard conflict between Japan and China will depend upon political wisdom in both countries, and whether or not Japan can keep justice in mind on historical and other issues.”
"Japan Passes New Textbook, Crucial To Draw A Clear Line With Militarism"
Li Xuejiang contended in official People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) (4/7): "If Japan truly wants to win the respect of Asian countries, and become a responsible normal country, it must bravely face up to and thoroughly expose and criticize its dishonourable militarist history, and sincerely apologize to the people of victimized countries. On this major issue, dithering and speaking evasively will not do; unscrupulously falsifying history
and whitewashing aggression is even worse. The ink on a textbook cannot blot out a history written in blood. Continuing to persist with a wrong standpoint and procedures, can only expose it even more, and turn Japan into an international orphan spurned by everyone."
"Written Lies Can Never Cover Up Bloody Facts"
Official People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) commented (4/6): "The Japanese Education Ministry on Tuesday defied protests from other Asian countries and gave the green light to the revised middle school history textbook which blatantly distorted history and glorified Japan's invasion of its neighboring countries.... The endorsement will undoubtedly further strain Japan's relations with Asian neighbors which have been uneasy over Japan's reluctance to acknowledge its war crimes and apologize for its atrocities. Japan is losing trust among its Asian neighbors.... The textbook does not mention Japan's history of aggression and its crimes.... The distorted textbook triggered wide-spread fury from the peoples and governments of China, South Korea and other Asian nations.... Japan is trying all out to become a permanent member of the UNSC and the UN...requires any country applying for such a role to be responsible too. How come a country that repeatedly distorted its history be allowed to assume such an important role?.... The crimes committed by Japan's militarists during WWII are irrefutable. Japan has to adopt a correct attitude towards the history and draw lessons from the past and stick to the road of peaceful development in order to win trust from peoples of other Asian countries."
"Textbook Sanction Negates Truth Of War: It Is Political Provocation"
The official English-language China Daily stated (4/6): “It is political provocation.... A test of nerves for the Asian countries colonized by Japan before and during World War II.... The Japanese education ministry yesterday sanctioned its textbooks. Among them is a new history book submitted by the right-wing History Textbook Reform Society.... Japanese middle school children can now be taught from a book that re-asserts the wartime ideology that Japan's invasions of China, the Korean Peninsula and Southeast Asia were justified acts of self-defense. Apparently, it assisted Asia's liberation from European and American domination.... The stated aim of the textbook's authors is to revive patriotism among the young by omitting from history lessons any reference to Japanese atrocities.... What they have done goes far beyond just hiding historical acts of brutality. They have confounded right and wrong in the building up of youthful pride in Japan and perpetrated a great evil by building a false self-image through fabrication and the glorification of historical fact.... The endorsement of the textbook is a clear indication of Japan's attitude towards the issue.... Japan is driving its relations with its neighbors down a dead end.... Without a consensus on the history issue and other disputes, the Asian peoples cannot place their trust in Japan's desire to play a bigger role in world affairs.... The 2001 version of the history textbook ran into a brick wall. Nearly all of Japan's school districts rejected it. We interpret this as the public's conscience.... Will Japan's conscience prevail this time around? Who knows? But one thing is for sure, and that is a country's prestige is not built on subterfuge, but its acknowledgment of the past.”
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "Be Careful Not To Trigger A War"
Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal editorialized (4/14): "Japan's attempt to provoke China is very obvious. Since the 1960s, private oil companies in Japan have applied for the right for gas and oil exploration in the East China Sea, but the Japanese government declined their applications saying that the location of the boundary in that area had not yet been decided. At that time, China and Japan had not established any relationship. But the Japanese government was so restrained. Now, the Japanese government is aware of the simmering tensions. The two sides should have tried their best to calm down the situation. However, the Japanese government picks this critical moment to make such a sensitive decision. It is obvious that the Japanese are deliberately provoking China.... It is obvious that China did not take disputes over the textbooks and Japan's move to distort history as 'serious' issues. They will only prompt 'verbal arguments.' The two countries still have room for discussions. Now, the East China Sea issue involves sovereignty rights, territorial integrity and national security. Each of these is a major matter of principle and a 'serious' matter. If each sticks to his guns, 'military struggle' may be inevitable."
"Reason For Japan To Stand Firm"
Independent Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily News remarked (4/14): "Confrontations among the people in China and Japan are simmering. On the official level, the Japanese government is taking a tough stance. A cabinet official even openly described China as a 'scary country.' It shows that both sides do not trust each other. Some of the mainstream media in the West used the headline of 'Chinese government tolerating demonstrations' to describe the dispute. They said that China made use of the textbook incident to stop Japan's bid to become a permanent member of the UNSC. In principle, China does not object to expanding the Security Council. When Premier Wen Jiabao visited India, he openly supported India becoming a member of the UNSC. However, China has reservations about Japan becoming a member because China suspects Japan's ambition to expand its military force.... The Japanese government is taking an aggressive stance this time not only because it is encouraged by the right-wing politicians, but also because it has to respond to the public call to help improve its image in the international community."
"Cannot Allow China And Japan To Fall Into A Vengeful Cycle"
Mass-circulation Chinese-language Apple Daily News remarked (4/13): "We believe that the relations between China and Japan are at a dangerous point. If the two governments do not take positive measures to lower the temperature and to protect the security of either side's enterprises and people, the radical actions and attacks targeting at the other side's enterprises and people may happen again. This may easily stimulate radical and confrontational sentiment internally. Finally, it will push Sino-Japanese relations to a blind alley with constant confrontations."
"Japanese Politicians Do Not Respect The History"
Center-left Chinese-language Hong Kong Daily News noted (4/13): "Many anti-Japanese protests were held in China recently. Why do the mainland people hate Japan so much? Why did the anti-Japanese fury go out of control? Although Japan has established many factories and made many investments in China, they shouldn't be able to do whatever they want just because they have money. The cheap labors in China are actually helping Japanese capitalists make money. If Japanese politicians think that they can distort history because Japanese enterprises employ one million workers in China, such a humiliation will anger the Chinese people."
"Sino-Japanese Conflicts: The Real Risk Is In The Taiwan Strait"
Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times commented (4/13): "Both China and Japan have their own planning. The public sentiment may continue to escalate, however it will be unlikely to trigger serious diplomatic clashes. All those sensitive issues such as distorting history in new textbooks and the sovereignty debates over the Diaoyu Island are not new issues. Thus, it is not pressing to settle the issues immediately. However, Japan's bid for the permanent seat in the UNSC will be one of the major factors that may affect Sino-Japanese relations. The real risk in Sino-Japanese relations is not a frontal engagement between China and Japan but instead that Japan may interfere in the Taiwan Strait issue. Japan may support 'Taiwan independence' in order to contain China and to maintain its leading status in Asia.... According to the present diplomatic issues between China and the U.S., the U.S. will not strongly support or strongly disallow Taiwan to amend its constitution. However, what if Japan joins in and supports Chen Shui-bian? Chen may possibly make a reckless move and put both sides across the strait into a big risk. By that time, if Beijing is forced to take action, the Taiwan issue may become an international crisis. Japan may then make use of the international community to put pressure on China."
"Leadership Must Make Reconciliation A Priority"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post concluded (4/11): "Thousands of Chinese have taken to the streets of Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chengdu...protesting outside Japanese diplomatic missions and businesses. Some protests have been allowed to get out of control and degenerated into vandalism, despite pledges by officials to keep the protesters in check.... What is surprising this time is the number of demonstrators involved, that they seem well organized and that they are spreading. Nothing will be gained by allowing them to continue in such a way. Nor is it in the interests of either side to allow the diplomatic fallout to spin out of control. The leadership of both nations must do their utmost to cool tempers among themselves and their people."
"A Long-Range Approach Is Best"
Independent Chinese-langauge Sing Pao Daily News argued (4/11): "After anger has been vented, the Chinese government still needs to take a long-range approach to look at the problem, and should not be swayed by emotions.... While China opposes the wrong policies and behaviour of the Japanese government, it should also look at the problem from an international strategic angle, take the entire situation into account, stabilize Sino-Japanese relations, and discuss disputes, but also discuss cooperation."
"U.S. Wants Japan To Become Its Supporter In Asia"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (4/11): "According to the Japanese media, Japan and the U.S. will review their security pact and they have reached an agreement to mutually use the U.S. military base in Japan. Both agreed that if any 'unexpected events propped up' in the Korean peninsula and the Taiwan Strait, U.S. military would have priority to use Japan's civic airports and ports. This adjustment is to serve the U.S. global military strategy. The U.S. hopes that Japan can play a role to support the U.S. in Asia.... A U.S. scholar said that the biggest achievement of the U.S. after winning WWII was to permanently disarm Japan and to stipulate a peaceful constitution for Japan. However, after the Cold War was over and President Bush took office, the U.S. policy has acted in a diametrically opposite way. The U.S. has almost fully encouraged and directly assisted Japan to strengthen its armament. That's why Japan is now moving onto the road of wantonly engaging in military ventures. This will intensify the hostility between China and Japan, the two strong powers in Asia. This may also stifle the possibility of peacefully settling the Taiwan issue and the DPRK nuclear issue and will plant the seed for future Sino-U.S. clashes. The U.S. move to make use of Japan to contain China is a dangerous game."
"Disadvantages Outweigh Advantages In Boycotting Japanese Goods And Japanese Investment"
Mass-circulation Chinese-language Apple Daily commented (4/11): "The focal point of the protest demonstrations should concentrate on the Japanese government and not on Japanese investment enterprises, Japanese products or the Japanese populace.... We hope that the Chinese government will not only consider mass demonstration rallies as a political tool, but wholeheartedly let the populace exercise their right to peaceful gatherings and rallies, to enable them to express their views through rallies and gatherings, including on domestic political and economic problems and the 4 June [1989 Tiananmen] crackdown. Only then can the populace effectively vent their discontent, and prevent extreme behaviour appearing during rallies."
"China And South Korea Oppose Japan, Fault Lies With Japanese Right Wing"
Independent Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News stated (4/11): "The response made by Japan yesterday towards anti-Japanese feelings among the Chinese people has made ordinary people see once more that Japan basically has no intention of winning the trust of neighboring countries and people of Asia.... How can such a country be qualified to become a permanent member of the UNSC?.... China is a world power, the mainland populace using demonstrations to counter-attack the rampancy of the Japanese right wing and to express discontent towards all sorts of perverse actions by the Japanese government, is completely right behaviour. However, the mainland populace must express voices of protest in a rational way, and be sure not to let extreme actions give people a pretext."
TAIWAN: "Inciting The Nationalistic Sentiments: Beginning Of China’s Domestic Riots"
James Wang commented in pro-independence Taiwan Daily (4/14): "Over the past few years, nationalism has been rising in Japan, too, and Tokyo is gravely on its guard against any movement by China. Japan and the U.S. are building a closer relationship with Taiwan out of concern that the balance of power in East Asia might be endangered. Both Tokyo and Washington included peace in the Taiwan Strait as their common strategic objective; they also oppose China’s enactment of the Anti-Secession Law and seek to strengthen their relationships with Taiwan. All such moves have hit China hard.... China wants to drive U.S. force out of Asia and become a regional hegemon itself. The ploy it uses is to sow discord between the U.S., Japan and Taiwan. In the past China tried to use its potential market as an incentive, but its military expansionist behavior has caused this to fail. As a result, China decided to change its strategy, using the ‘public view’ formed by its anti-Japanese education [as a basis] to oppose the proposal of making Japan a permanent member of the UNSC and thereby further mobilizing anti-Japanese protests in its major cities.... No matter whether China wants to use the anti-Japanese protests as a ploy to blackmail [Japan] or as an instrument to find a release valve for its internal problems, these protests...cannot solve the problems China is facing both domestically or internationally. Beijing was very good at manipulating the mob in the past when all exchange of information was blocked. But now that China cannot totally suppress the flow of information, it is facing the boiling discontent among its people. Beijing may be playing with fire with regard to the anti-Japanese protests as they might just explode into a fatal domestic riot.”
"Taiwan Must Watch Out For The Return Of Chinese Nationalism By Way Of Japan"
Pro-independence Liberty Times editorialized (4/13): "Given Taiwan’s close geographical bond and entangled historical association with China and Japan, the people of Taiwan can probe deeper into the disputes between the two countries and observe their further development.... Instead, Taiwan should pay attention to whether the anti-Japanese protests in China indicate the rise of China’s nationalism and whether it will have a serious impact on Taiwan even though Japan is now the target.... We are concerned that the rise of China’s nationalism is no longer a hypothetical issue but an emerging fact. In other words, in the face of China’s failure with its experiment with socialism...Communism has given way to a free economy. But in terms of politics, nationalism has replaced proletarian internationalism in China.... Now that China is no longer a vulnerable and feeble country...it shows no intention to hide its aim to become a regional hegemon or its attempt to compete with the U.S.... Under such a situation, China’s nationalism as manifested by the anti-Japanese protests in its major cities can no longer be viewed simply as a release valve for the Chinese people’s anti-Japanese sentiments; instead, it should be closely monitored as a possible force for China’s expansion.... Once China decides to expand, the first to bear the brunt of it will be either Japan or Taiwan.... The emergence of Chinese hegemony has created a threat to the Asia-Pacific area as well as the whole world. The new U.S.-Japan security pact announced lately has turned Taiwan into a ‘tacit partner’ with the U.S. and Japan in fighting against Chinese hegemony."
"PRC Also Needs To Face Realities"
The English-language pro-independence Taiwan News concluded (4/13): "In any case, the continuation of such indoctrination has had a significant influence on China’s youth, but the degree to which highly educated college students can take actions as irrational or violent as shown in the current anti-Japanese rioting gives even greater cause for concern about the future of China and peace in Asia.... How Taiwan can use this opportunity to establish long-term strategies to promote a more accurate view of the character of the PRC regime among opinion leaders in the United States, Japan, the European Union and neighboring countries in the Asia-Pacific region, so that they may change their positions on the question of our own U.N. representation, should be a major task for our government."
"Avoid Fanning Sino-Japanese Unrest"
The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times editorialized (4/12): "Such an upsurge of anti-Japanese nationalism will necessarily rouse Japanese nationalism. China’s and South Korea’s joint protests against Japan have made Tokyo feel isolated and threatened. This is likely to make it more determined to secure its security relationship with the US. Japan’s rearmament, therefore, seems, inevitable. With the expansion of the Sino-Japanese conflict, Taiwan’s security and regional stability could suffer. Taiwan and Japan are both threatened by China. Washington and Tokyo have noted their concerns over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait in their joint declaration on security. However, recent incidents, such as the Anti-Secession Law and Taiwan’s Solidarity Union Chairman Shu Chin-chiang’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, have polarized Taiwanese public opinion with regard to China and Japan. The government should be sensitive to tension between Japan and China and prepare a response strategy, but for the moment it should avoid getting directly involved in any Sino-Japanese dispute.”
"PRC Blocking Japan’s Rise"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post observed (4/12): "Beijing is trying to block the rise of Japan by keeping it out of the UNSC. Grave implications are in store for Taiwan.... If China prevented Japan’s elevation, it would mark their most serious confrontation since Japan’s invasion of China in 1937. The U.S. and Japan are well-prepared for the worst scenario with China, but Taiwan, unfortunately, is on the wrong side of it.”
"Threshold For Japan’s UNSC Bid Raised By Beijing"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post editorialized (4/9): "Japan’s repeated refusal to face its war-time history and to atone for its past may cost it dearly this time. At risk is the country’s dream of becoming a permanent member of the UNSC. That dream could come true as early as the coming September if not for the text book flap that has infuriated millions of Chinese and Koreans.... But [U.N. Secretary-General Kofi] Annan is correct to argue that the Council needs reform as the world today is vastly different from what it was 60 years ago. And Japan is a qualified candidate in terms of its economic clout and the role it plays in aiding the Third World. But these factors are hardly enough. A country that justifies aggression and remains callous to the suffering it inflicted on its neighbors does not deserve the exalted membership of the Council, which aims to safeguard the preserve peace.”
"History Textbooks Must Undergo International Examination"
Pro-unification conservative Central Daily News remarked (4/8): "The [Taiwan] Ministry of Education stated the other day that however Japanese textbooks are annotated has nothing to do with our country, which was shocking.... In the textbook incident between Japan and South Korea, there is certainly no need to involve other countries in the dispute, but this certainly does not mean that Taiwan should be silent. The compilation of history textbooks must be examined by the international community, and if there has been a selective distortion of history, there may be a price to pay. Taiwan is still blind as ever to this fact [in regard to history textbooks in Taiwan], cannot take the case of Japan and South Korea as a lesson, and is extremely likely to become the next public enemy of the international community."
JAPAN: "Violent Demonstrations Cannot Be Justified"
Top-circulation moderate Yomiuri opined (4/14): "Chinese Prime Minister Wen tried to justify anti-Japanese demonstrations last weekend, saying that demonstrators' protests against Japan's bid for permanent UNSC membership would urge Tokyo to reflect on its wartime aggression. It is clear that the Chinese premier is using the rallies as a political tool to prevent Japan from acquiring a prestigious UN seat. However, vandalism committed by tens of thousands of Chinese is a clear violation of international law. Sharing this view, State Department Spokesman Boucher criticized the Chinese government's failure to take necessary measures to prevent such violent behavior. China, if it claims to abide by international rulings, should accommodate Japan's request to apologize and compensate the damages caused by the recent vandalism."
"China Should Admit Its Failure To Stop Vandalism"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai declared (4/14): "Chinese demonstrators engaged in widespread vandalism targeting Japanese diplomatic and business installations in China. It is wrong for a Chinese government spokesman to claim that Japan bears the basic responsibility for aggravating relations between Tokyo and Beijing. It is justifiable for the Chinese people to express their opinions about Japan's foreign policy. However, differences of opinion between the two nations should be solved through dialogue and any kind of violence should not be allowed. The recent attack against Japanese citizens and businesses clearly violate international laws. The Chinese government must admit its responsibility for allowing vandalism against Japanese interests. China, a political and economic giant in the region, would likely damage its international credibility if it continues to overlook such violent behavior."
"Japan Should Use Bandung Summit To Boost Bid For Permanent Seat"
Liberal Mainichi opined (4/13): "Political and diplomatic bargaining have grown more intense over the proposed expansion of the UNSC, with China and South Korea expressing strong objection to a possible enlargement, while the U.S. has opposed setting an artificial deadline for forging consensus on overhauling the powerful body.... In order to secure a permanent seat, Japan must first obtain understanding from its Asian neighbors. If it is truly serious about the bid, Tokyo must squarely face its past and do its utmost to resolve bilateral friction with China and South Korea respectively.... Prime Minister Koizumi should take part in the planned Asia-Africa Summit in Bandung, Indonesia to meet Asian and African leaders, including Chinese President Hu, in order to seek their understanding."
"China Is Clearly Responsible"
Conservative Sankei held (4/12): "Violent anti-Japanese rallies held across China over the weekend should be deemed as a criminal act that runs counter to international norms, as well as to Chinese domestic laws. The Chinese government has rejected Japan's call for an official apology and compensation. But, Beijing is clearly responsible for the violence.... The latest anti-Japanese demonstrations are outrageous and illegal. Japan must file with China its strongest protest against these barbaric acts, before examining what prompted such Chinese actions. Tokyo must squarely tell Beijing that tolerating these kinds of vandalism would cost China dearly.... It is a matter of course that we deal with the situation calmly. But, we must recognize that the appeasing attitudes of some Japanese that Japan is partly responsible for Chinese people's aggravated sentiment have led to an apparent recurrence of oppressive anti-Japanese actions by the Chinese."
"Koizumi Bears Large Responsibility"
Liberal Asahi observed (4/12): "The aggravation of anti-Japanese sentiment among Chinese people is unprecedented.... Japan has failed to conduct effective diplomacy to improve its ties with Asian neighbors, starting with Koizumi's annual homage to Yasukuni Shrine. His determination to pay tribute to the Shinto memorial has hurt the feelings of the Asian peoples, leaving them with the impression that Japan is a country incapable of introspection. His diplomacy has also failed in its dealings with South Korea. Koizumi has officially expressed Japan's intention to seek permanent UNSC membership, but two of Japan's neighbors have demonstrated their strongest opposition to the Japanese bid. Without endorsement from its two immediate neighbors, Japan will not be able to obtain a permanent seat."
"Nip China Risk In The Bud"
Liberal Mainichi advised (4/11): "China has expressed its regret over its people's attack on the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. But, it made a grave error in allowing protestors to become an agitated mob who threw rocks at the foreign mission.... The tendency for Chinese demonstrations to turn easily into mob violence is an example of what is termed 'China risk.' The latest anti-Japanese rallies were partly organized by a group calling for a boycott of Japanese products.... Japan's active investment and provision of technical know-how aimed at preventing environmental destruction will be crucial to China's continued economic growth. Vibrant bilateral economic ties are beneficial to China. Of course, Japanese need to be aware of the historical background behind the rising anti-Japanese mood. But we want the Chinese to also remember that unreasonable anti-Japanese feeling on their part might undermine China's national interests."
"Why Not Stop The Violence?"
Liberal Asahi opined (4/11): "We are not happy that the Chinese government has failed to take appropriate measures to stop violence by anti-Japanese mobs in Beijing and other regional cities. We have strong doubts whether security forces deployed in front of the Japanese Embassy tried to control the violence.... We wonder if the Beijing leadership has given 'tacit consent' to the protestors in order to let the world know the intensity of the public's anti-Japanese mood. The Chinese authorities must make clear to its people and to the world its firm commitment to never accept such violent demonstrations. If these kinds of episodes were repeated in the future, anti-Chinese sentiment would also escalate among Japanese.... We call on both governments to use diplomatic wisdom to prevent the clash of nationalism from further aggravating the bilateral relationship."
"Tacit Understanding To Anti-Japanese Sentiment?"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri opined (4/11): "Anti-Japanese rallies have spread across China, leaving us the impression that anything anti-Japanese would be overlooked.... Chinese police appear not to have tried to stop the violence. Such benign neglect on the part of the Chinese authorities must not be accepted if China considers itself a state governed by law. Japan must not accept Beijing's position of giving de-facto consent to anti-Japanese rallies, which we suspect Beijing wants to use as a bargaining chip.... We also urge Beijing to correct its education curriculum for youth, which appears to highlight anti-Japanese factors."
"Every Effort Must Be Made To Stop Violence"
Liberal Tokyo Shimbun held (4/11): "An attack on Japanese business and a boycott of Japanese products by some Chinese, if continued, would dampen the 'hot' economic exchange between Japan and China. Regional Chinese governments are eager to attract Japanese investment, but fewer Japanese companies have took part in seminars on foreign investment in China in the face of rising anti-Japanese feeling sweeping the nation. If bilateral economic ties stop expanding, its impact would boomerang on Japan, as well as on China."
"China Must Preempt Future Anti-Japan Rallies"
Conservative Sankei observed (4/10): "We do not believe the Chinese government welcomes the growing anti-Japanese mood among its public. As a matter of fact, it has expressed regret at the violence. The radicalization of anti-Japanese demonstrations would merely aggravate emotional tension between the two peoples and damage national interests on both sides. The latest episode, together with a similar mob rally that took place in China last summer, has reminded us how serious deep-seated anti-Japanese sentiment is among the Chinese people. We urge Beijing leaders to do their utmost to prevent future incidents."
"Self-Restraint Needed By China"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai insisted (4/10): "The mob rallies held across China against Japanese interests reflect growing discontent among Chinese youth over Japan's recent 'nationalization' of a lighthouse on the disputed island of Senkaku and what they believe to be Tokyo's distortion of its wartime conduct in China in Japanese school textbooks. The Beijing leadership, led by President Hu, appears to have failed to contain rising resentment among the youth. The scope and intensity of recent anti-Japanese demonstrations is unprecedented, and has undermined China's image in the eyes of foreign observers. There are things Japan must do to address the situation, including ending Prime Minister Koizumi's annual visits to Yasukuni Shrine. China and Japan, if both are civilized states, must resolve disputes through dialogue."
"Japan-ROK Foreign Ministerial Meeting; Make It First Step Toward Improving Relations"
Top-circulation moderate Yomiuri maintained (4/8): "It is not easy to pave the way for stable bilateral relations.... Agreements reached in the talks such as the resumption of negotiations on free trade, reflect that South Korea, too, is aware of the importance of bilateral relations.... However, it is not so easy to find a compromise over the territorial and school textbook issues. Bilateral ties will be further strained if such important issues as North Korea's nuclear ambitions are shelved as a result of the Japan-ROK confrontation.... We also question South Korea's position on the issue of North Korea's nuclear ambitions, taking as examples President Roh Moo-hyun's remarks in Los Angeles last year that there is some validity to the North Korea's claims and remarks at a military academy that he is going to play a role as a 'balancer' in East Asia.... To maintain the Japan-US-ROK cooperative framework, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should take up those issues at his summit talks with Roh.... The two countries will be able to build future-oriented bilateral relations through an exchange of candid opinions."
"Common Benefit Of Japan-ROK Friendship Should Be Reconfirmed"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai opined (4/8): "The meeting exposed anew the severe conditions of bilateral relations. At the same time...the two leaders' agreement to carry out various exchange programs scheduled for this year deserve high marks.... Confrontation will do no good to anybody, as the importance of friendly ties is growing.... What is desired is to build matured relations...the two countries should strive to deepen mutual understanding and trust through a frank exchange of opinions.... Major points of the meeting included an agreement to continue holding summit talks twice a year, so it seems that the two countries will be able to prevent the current strained ties from being aggravated. On the Takeshima issue...Japan needs to make efforts to eliminate South Korea's misunderstanding that Shimane Prefecture's establishment of Takeshima Day reflects the government's intention.... It is inevitable that there are perception gaps over territorial and history issues, but South Korea should take a calm attitude.... There is a host of pending issues that cannot be settled without the two countries' friendship and cooperation such as economic integration in East Asia, North Korea's nuclear ambitions, and the unification of the Korean Peninsula in the future."
"China's Anti-Japan Demonstrations: We Should Not View The Root Causes Lightly"
Liberal Mainichi cautioned (4/8): "Demonstrations and petitions opposing Japan's entry into the UNSC have occurred all over China.... Of course there are issues of historical understanding between China and Japan.... Japan has the responsibility of addressing these issues and solving them.... However, as for problems of historical understanding, as there is no simple evaluation of advantages and disadvantages, each side can only try to solve the issue through rational discussions.... For countries that seek to join the UNSC, opposition from neighboring countries is a given. Especially from a rapidly developing China that is embracing violent social contradictions. It could have been predicted easily enough that opposition would have developed quite quickly. But even though it is late, it is necessary to take steps to resolve this issue of historical understanding. Joining the UNSC is not simple arithmetic, instead it is an extremely complicated equation that Japan's diplomacy faces."
"Go Back To The Starting Point Of 'Trustful Diplomacy'"
Liberal Mainichi argued (4/8): "The results of the meeting indicate that it was the first step toward repairing strained relations.... . Regarding the two countries' assertions concerning the ownership of Takeshima...Japan has its own assertion, so we cannot compromise on this point.... Instead, Tokyo should recognize differences in the positions of the two governments and make efforts to narrow the gaps. As for Japan-ROK friction...a malfunction of Koizumi diplomacy is conspicuous.... What is most important for Japan to do now is to keep pace with the U.S. and South Korea and strengthen the tripartite posture to put pressure on North Korea. However, Japan's poor handling of the Takeshima issue has made Japan and South Korea more distant.... The row has resulted in pleasing North Korea and it will have a serious effect on Japan's diplomacy.... It is also impossible to create an open community in East Asia without Japan-ROK cooperation.... There is doubt about the government's efforts to minimize the impact of Shimane Prefecture's establishment of Takeshima Day because the impact could have been predicated.... In conclusion...Prime Minister Koizumi should return to the starting point of trustful diplomacy and make the next summit talks an opportunity to rebuild mutual trust."
"ROK's Stance Toward Japan--We Would Like To Ask The ROK To Act Maturely"
Consevative Sankei observed (4/8): "Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura and his South Korean counterpart Ban held a meeting in a bid to alleviate the bilateral tension.... It is the basics of diplomacy for diplomatic officials to meet as soon as possible when a problem arises between nations...and we hope Japan and South Korea will mend their bilateral ties through dialogue.... In relation to this...it is not understandable for the ROK side to suspend bilateral exchange events on account of worsening public sentiment toward Japan.... Continuing dialogue and exchange despite differences in opinions is the path toward true mutual understanding.... As to 'international exchange' with Japan, we would like to call on the South Korean side to deal with it in a more mature manner.... With regard to the Japanese textbook issue...Seoul showed relatively a calm reaction unlike the past...the South Korean Government plans to refrain from officially calling on Japan to revise textbooks unlike before.... The South Korean stance...was formed as the result of the ROK's deeper understanding of the Japanese textbook system. However...the South Korean Government must not handle the textbook issue as a diplomatic issue and must leave it to debates carried out mainly among the general public.... South Korea is the only country that still makes such an issue a point of contention in diplomacy and makes much ado over it, although we are in the 21st century.
"Japan-ROK Relations--Keep The Pursuit Of Practical Benefit In Mind"
Liberal Tokyo Shimbun editorialized (4/8): "Communication between officials in charge of both the Japanese and South Korean governments is important at times like this. Discord between the two countries is continuing, triggered by the issue of sovereignty over Takeshima Island, but it is unproductive to clash over a pending issue that cannot be resolved immediately.... The intention of both Japan and the ROK to deal calmly with bilateral issues was expressed through the meeting. As to Japan-ROK relations...a conflict arises between the two countries at times because of the unfortunate history, but the the two countries need to continue efforts to maintain amicable relationship, while the two governments say what needs to be said.... We hope the foreign ministerial meeting this time will become the beginning of efforts to mend the bilateral relationship, as mutual understanding about each other's position and about problems between them is essential to mend ties. However...the Takeshima Island issue, which has been continuing for over 50 years, cannot be resolved in the next several years. As to the textbook issue...it will be impossible for the two countries to have the same understanding of history and...South Korea's assertion about the issue has limitations, although they are understandable..... It is appropriate to investigate the history calmly and academically.... There are many fields in which Japan and South Korea should cooperate in pursuit of practical benefit in relation to such issues as the DPRK's nuclear issue and free trade agreement with countries in and out of Asia.... We hope that the 2005 Japan-South Korea Friendship Year will be a fruitful one, despite the feud."
"Textbook Authorization; Calm View Needed On History"
Liberal Tokyo Shimbun argued (4/8): "There may be various reactions to authorized history textbooks, but an emotional exchange of responses should be avoided..... As there are differences in the interpretation of history...the government should take a calm attitude to prevent the education ministry's authorization of textbooks from becoming seeds of new conflict between Japan and neighboring countries in Asia.... An emotional exchange of words and action will bear no fruit.... To eliminate the suspicion that the government's interpretation of history has a certain impact on textbooks, the government could establish a third-party organ and let it examine textbooks.... Each local education board ought to make public details of its discussion in the process of choosing textbooks."
Liberal Asahi held (4/8): "Anti-Japanese demonstrations accompanied by movements to boycott Japanese products have flared across China.... The situation is dismal. The demonstrations in China appear to be, however, a product of a misunderstanding. Convenience stores in northeastern China removed Japanese products, including beer made by Asahi Breweries, because of a controversy over Japanese textbooks for junior high school students that some say justify Japan's past military aggression.... This no doubt is because of the strong enmity among residents over the history and civics textbooks edited by the society. Chinese activists meantime are campaigning to collect 30 million signatures for a petition to oppose Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC.... These anti-Japanese campaigns are feeding off each other through television and the Internet and spreading across the nation. One Chinese scholar said the unrest was provoked by the demonstrations held in South Korea. Why does animosity toward Japan flare so easily in China? One reason may lie in its sense of rivalry toward Japan for Asian leadership.... But the heart of the matter lies in deep-seated mutual distrust which Japan and China have yet to reconcile even though six decades have passed since the end of World War II.... Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told a news conference in March: 'China-Japan relations are the most important of all bilateral relations. We wish to strengthen strategic studies to advance friendship'.... In China, where anti-Japanese sentiment is strong, it was a risky statement that could have ignited domestic criticism. Koizumi should respond to this overture as soon as possible. How does he plan to break the deadlock in Japan-China relations? We urge him to send a clear message to the Chinese people."
"History Textbook: Screening, Adoption [of Textbook] Domestic Issue"
Top-circulation moderate Yomiuri asserted (4/6): "Four textbook publishers have dropped the description of the so-called comfort women in textbooks since the 2002 school year.... The description of the comfort women was included in history textbooks because there was a widespread historical misconception in Japan and overseas about the comfort women that all of them were taken against their will.... Since it has become clear that the concept was wrong, it is only natural that the description on the comfort women was removed from textbooks. Regarding the Takeshima (called Tokto in Korean) issue...it is a matter of course that textbook publishers who mention territorial issues in their textbooks reflect the Japanese Government's opinion. As the South Korean Government reportedly had a policy to set up a team to support a joint campaign by Japanese and South Korean civil groups to prevent the adoption of a textbook written by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, known as Tsukuru-kai...this is clearly interference in internal affairs.... The textbook screening system belongs to the state, and no foreign country should be allowed to exert pressure on the system."
"No Role For Seoul In Textbook Approval Process"
Kosuke Tomidokoro commented in top-circulation moderate Yomiuri (4/6): "South Korea's criticism of Japan over depictions of history and current affairs in textbooks started purposefully in the middle of the screening of the textbooks as it did four years ago. The difference in the current row is that the issue involves not only perceptions of history but also current territorial disputes...there are fears the gulf between the two nations may widen further.... South Koreans...are harshly critical of Japan's history textbooks, which they say whitewash the country's wartime past.... But should not the country have made criticism...only after the screening process was completed? Japan and South Korea have very different systems for selecting school textbooks. In South Korea, textbooks for social studies and national history used at middle schools are designated by the government. But in Japan, textbooks are produced by private companies before being screened by the government. Local authorities then decide which approved textbooks to use.... Since the territorial issues are diplomatic matters to be discussed between the governments, they should be considered separately from the content of textbooks.... Textbooks are something to be selected by each municipal government based on their independent judgement. That subjective decision should never be affected by external pressure."
INDONESIA: "Japan's Stalled Maturity"
The independent English-language Jakarta Post maintained (4/8): "China and South Korea immediately protested when the Japanese government approved the history textbook on Tuesday, saying that Japan continued to hide the facts of its conduct when occupying the two countries. We do not intend to enter into this controversy. Disagreements do arise from time to time. And we must remember that Japan also has territorial disputes with South Korea and China.... In the meantime, there is a growing opinion among many Japanese people that 'enough is enough.' Many Japanese feel that they have done more than enough to show their regret and pay their war debt. They feel that they continue to be cornered and now it is time for them to stand up. It is in the interest of the world that Japan remains strong.... The country has also proved its great contribution and responsibility towards world peace and prosperity.... Perhaps it is time now for Japan to ask itself why its version of history is always challenged by its neighbors.... As long as we continue to hear defensive remarks from Japanese leaders about the country's war history, their words will continue to become bullets that ricochet back to wound the speakers.... We should not let ourselves be trapped by our own inability to confront the past. We must learn from our wrongdoings and from the good things we have done in the past to ensure that we will not repeat the negatives. This reflection may help us to heal old festering wounds. Of course, each person or nation has their own way of resolving their problems. And we do not intend to say that Japan has not learned from the past. They have learned very much. But then, one question remains: Why is there still controversy?"
MALAYSIA: "Japan Must Face History Honestly"
Petaling Jaya-based leading Chinese-language government-influenced Sin Chew Daily opined (4/10): "During World War II, Malaya was also invaded by Japan, and people were tragically slaughtered and trampled upon by the locust armies. Regarding Japan's constant beautification of its history of aggression recently, Malaysian society is also discontent. Hua Zong [Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia] and six other Chinese societies supported the promotion of a web site by the Working Committee in Commemoration of Malaysian Fellows Sacrificed During the Japanese Occupation the other day, which opposes Japan taking up permanent membership of the Security Council, and appeals to various societies and organizations in our country as well as individuals to go online, to firmly oppose Japan, which has not properly dealt with the issue of its responsibility in the war of aggression, ascending the international stage and playing an important role in military affairs again. Facing the strong resistance of Asian countries, the Japanese government and parties concerned cannot pretend not to see this and persist in error."
"Japan Should Lay Down Historical Burdens"
Petaling Jaya-based Chinese-language government-influenced Guangming Daily asserted (4/10): "The Japanese government is not willing to face up to the many crimes it committed during World War II, on the contrary, it is still doing all it can and thinking of ways to cover them up.... After World War II, Germany dared to admit mistakes, did not cover up its crimes in the slightest, and won world respect, Japan should take Germany as an example and lay down historical burdens, before it can earn the forgiveness of countries."
"A Good Lesson"
Government-influenced Chinese-language Nanyang Siang Pau said (4/10): "If the boycott campaign against Japanese goods continues for a year or so, Japanese trade with China will suffer a full impact. Even latent historical feelings and the mindset of boycotting Japanese goods will also affect the sales of Japanese goods, and cause losses for Japan. Such being the case, it will be a lesson to the [Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro] Koizumi government."
"Japan's Distortion Of History Provokes Public Indignation"
Penang-based independent Chinese-language Kwang Wah Yit Poh concluded (4/7): "Japan is currently devoting efforts in striving to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, but it has disregarded historical facts, paid no attention to the feelings of the people of close neighbouring countries which it once harmed, is rampantly and arrogantly falsifying historical facts, hurting the feelings of people from victimized countries once more, and this is an evil action which cannot be forgiven in the slightest and also cannot win trust. Countries and people in the whole world who have a sense of justice, should all say 'no' loudly to the Japanese government, and go all out to stop it from becoming a member of the UNSC, to ensure that militarism will not be revived, and that aggressive atrocities will not harm world peace."
"How Can Japan Be Qualified?"
Dai Jin Long noted in government-influenced Chinese-language China Press (4/7): "May we ask, how can Japan, where right-wing hawks are ready to make trouble and are attempting to revive the ghost of militarism, be qualified to make contributions to world peace?"
"We May Forgive, But We Cannot Forget"
Lin Ming Hua stated in Chinese-language Petaling Jaya-based leading government-influenced Sin Chew Daily (4/7): "Their attitude of distorting history and refusing to apologize for war crimes, has made the Japanese never able to win respect and also unable to raise their heads before people. This is also why today there are more than 400,000 people around the world going online to oppose Japan becoming a permanent member of the UN! They are not only opposing a country which refuses to face history, but are also opposing the revival of militarism harming world peace!"
"Use Two Methods Against Japan: Public Relations And Economic Measures"
Qiu Zhenhai wrote in Chinese-language government-influenced Nanyang Siang Pau (4/6): "We say that this year is a year of struggles on historical issues between China and Japan, but this certainly does not mean that we will hold onto Japanese historical issues and not let go, and if Sino-Japanese relations can develop smoothly, we can consider temporarily shelving historical issues for the time being.... But it is still repeatedly and constantly carrying out work to falsify history textbooks, therefore in this kind of situation, China and South Korea need to join forces, and need to grasp an historic opportunity this year."
"Forgive But Cannot Forget"
Wu Hui Fang opined in government-influenced Chinese-language Nanyang Siang Pau (4/6): "We may forgive Japan's crime, but we cannot forget this history of blood and tears.... For all the countries which once suffered harm, it is necessary to lay down prejudice at this time, join together as one front, and express anger and discontent at Japanese militarists over textbooks which whitewash aggression."
SINGAPORE: "A Japan That Can't Say Yes"
The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (4/12): "Official gestures in both China and Japan yesterday to deflect a deepening animosity in their relations had to come, as weekend street protests in Chinese cities had an anti-Japanese virulence that was looking dangerous. Neither nation could possibly gain from a breakdown in ties carefully tended over three decades.... But the official government line that placed the onus squarely on Japan to deal with 'the feelings of the Chinese people' says one thing plainly: The root of the problem lies deep. It was textbook revisionism giving a glossed-over account of the Imperial Japanese Army's wartime cruelties committed on Chinese soil that sparked this latest round of Japan-bashing.... But neither Chinese nor Japanese leaders should pretend that sanitized modern Japanese history as taught to schoolchildren is the only form of tinder that can set off sparks in the North Asian sphere. The issue, repeated ad nauseum, is Japan's inability or unwillingness to acknowledge the darkest parts of its wartime past. It is a baffling pathology, being in constant denial about specific facts.... Japan has to confront its past more urgently now than in decades past. The new geopolitical matrix in North-east Asia, where it has aligned itself with the U.S. against China in security cooperation, has hardened popular opinion in China. It will take less to set off a ruinous chain of events. The irony is that China and Japan have such a range of synergies they can exploit to mutual advantage."
"Japan Plays The Spoiler"
The pro-government Business Times commented (4/8): "The proposed East Asia Summit, scheduled to be held later this year in Malaysia, could hardly take place against a less auspicious background given the deep differences between Japan and China as to who should be invited.... Tokyo's attitude on this issue appears bizarre. The limitations of APEC as a body for achieving economic integration or even cooperation in Asia are widely acknowledged--because of the sheer numbers and diversity of the countries involved. And yet, what Japan is proposing seems to be very close to simply re-inventing Apec.... The tendency for Japan to hew to Washington's line on Asian regional affairs has long been apparent and was responsible for Tokyo's unwillingness to support Malaysia's call for an East Asian Economic Grouping in the 1980s and for its cave-in on the proposed Asian Monetary Fund in 1997. This tendency has become even more apparent of late as Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's government has sided increasingly with Washington's view of China as a potential enemy and with the hardening US line on North Korea.... What chance, then, does an East Asian summit have of succeeding against a background of such suspicion and bickering? If an East Asian community is ever to get off the ground, in the way that the EU or NAFTA have, good relations between Japan and China are a sine qua non, and there is little point in trying to hide the deep differences between the two countries by casting them in some sort of spurious regional context. This is especially true when the two axis powers obviously have widely different views as to what that regional context should be.... The portents for agreement, or even for a workable compromise, are not good unless Japan can refine its vision of regional cooperation and abandon its ambitions to remain a kind of honorary Western nation that is 'in Asia but not really part of it'. The rewards of genuine regional cooperation are there for the taking but the risks of conflict are increasing by the day."
SOUTH KOREA: "Japan Must Solve Current Rift"
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo concluded (4/14): “It is not likely that Japan will become a permanent member of the UNSC. Although their concerns were not directly aimed at Japan, a majority of UN members have expressed their opposition to increasing the number of permanent member seats too rapidly. Japan’s plan must have been adversely affected because of strong opposition from East Asian countries, including the ROK and China.... Japan, which anxiously wants to become a permanent member, has not reflected on its past and now its neighbors hold negative opinions about it.... If Japan had shown a modest attitude, like Germany, then the situation would not have turned sour. Anti-Japan protests, of course, shouldn’t be violent. In addition, the tension in Northeast Asia should not increase due to these protests. However, Japan must realize why its neighbors are so outraged. Japan initiated this conflict. If Japan shows an effort to solve it, the world’s opinion of the country will change.”
"We Carefully Watch The Conflict Between China And Japan"
Independent Dong-a Ilbo held (4/14): “Triggered by Japan’s distortion of history textbooks, tensions between China and Japan are escalating. With anti-Japanese protests in China seemingly spreading to Chinese people around the world, a Chinese consulate general and bank in Japan have received a message threatening an attack by air rifles. If this situation persists, some worry a bigger conflict may arise between the two countries. We ask the two governments and their people to exercise restraint. If a one-time emotional confrontation is allowed to disrupt the peace in Northeast Asia, no one will benefit from the resulting circumstances.... Washington’s role is important as well. As a traditional balancing force, it should be a genuine mediator between China and Japan. If the stability of Northeast Asia is disrupted by the current conflict between the two countries, it will inevitably have negative implications for U.S. interests. Furthermore, given the circumstances, the ongoing conflict has to do with Washington’s move to establish a ‘joint U.S.-Japan strategy’ aimed at resolving the Taiwan issue on its terms by bringing Japan over to its camp.”
"Japan Should Heed The Anti-Japanese Wind Blowing In Northeast Asia"
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo averred (4/12): “It is unfortunate that Asians are failing to find a new way toward cooperation and reconciliation in the 21st century, and are, instead, engaging in an emotional confrontation with one another. We have to end this situation as soon as possible. However, it was Japan that started the problem this time. They failed to see the whole of Asia as their partner upon which they should rely and, therefore, Japan’s relations with its Asian neighbors have become hostile. This was because Japanese politicians, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, failed to behave responsibly.... They glorified Japan’s past militarism and distorted or tried to cover up the atrocities committed throughout their history. Furthermore, taking an imperialistic stance, Japan established a local bill that claims their territorial right over the Dokdo Islets.... If Japan wants to achieve respect from the international community and recognition of its political leadership commensurate with its economic power, then it should realize that it must thoroughly reflect upon its past history of invasion. The anti-Japanese sentiment and criticism that started to spread in China, the ROK and Southeast Asia will subside easily once Japan stops distorting its history and apologizes for its war crimes. For cooperation, development, and coexistence in Asia to thrive, reconciliation among the three countries of Northeast Asia--the ROK, China and Japan--is essential. Reconciliation of differences is only possible when Japan repents its past and takes responsibility for its actions.”
"Even U.S. Worries About Japan’s History Textbook Distortions"
Moderate Hankook Ilbo editorialized (4/11): “The U.S. has so far ignored the historical events of Northeast Asia while focusing mainly on enhancing its alliance with Japan in an effort to keep Chinese influence in check on the international scene. We hope that Washington correctly understands, from a balanced perspective, the substance of the ongoing discord triggered by Japan’s history textbook distortions and will play an appropriate role in preventing unnecessary tensions from heightening in Northeast Asia. In this context, we take note of Washington’s expression of opposition to setting a specific deadline for reforming the UN, virtually aborting Japanese efforts to become a permanent member of the UNSC. The international community has already voiced criticisms and concerns about Japan’s attitude toward resolving the issue of its past history. One example is UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s remarks on April 7, urging Japan to reflect on its wrongdoings.... Tokyo must bear in mind that its imperialist past still undermines relations with East Asian countries. Japan’s distorted ultra-rightist patriotism, which glorifies its history of aggression instead of reflecting upon it, is creating a vicious cycle that triggers anti-Japan sentiment and nationalism among countries victimized by its war of aggression and colonization. Japan should shed its narrow-minded and degenerative perceptions of its past history and look at itself from the same perspective as the international community and its neighbors. This is the only way for Japan to win the trust of the international community."
"Why We Should Keep A Cool Head"
Kim Tae-Zhee wrote in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (4/11): "Relations between the two countries of Japan and Korea are in disorder over the Dokdo issue.... Japan's continuous claims of territorial rights to the islands make it look as though the islands are still under dispute. Japan wants to take the issue to the International Court of Justice, but since we effectively occupy Dokdo, there is no reason for us to go along with that.... A generational change has taken place in Japan over the last half-century or so. Chauvinistic tendencies have become strong of late.... Nevertheless, there is no possibility that the Japanese will find themselves with the upper hand when it comes to the islands. They may be trying to stir us up by exploiting our strong reactions to Japanese nationalism, but they will only end up turning the Korean people against them and making things worse for the Korea-Japan relationship.... A cool-headed attitude is necessary.... We should try to make our relationship with Japan a friendlier one, because it will put us in a more comfortable position. Exchanges between our two countries have expanded in recent years, and public sentiment toward one another has greatly improved. The more our relationship improves, the more that relationship will be about the future instead of the past.... It's necessary to keep this in mind, and to maintain a wait-and-see attitude. Excited, overemotional reactions from both countries are not going to be of any help.... It is best to think of the 'Dokdo problem' as a chronic illness, and to mitigate the pain appropriately when it kicks in. Korea and Japan are bound to live side by side forever. It is my sincere hope that a normal relationship will be quickly restored."
"Japan Should Be Reborn Morally And Ethically Prior To Becoming Permanent Member On UNSC"
Conservative Chosun Ilbo said (4/9): “Japan should note that it cannot purchase membership to the UNSC with money alone. Germany and Japan should first clean up their criminal records which remain in the so-called ‘Enemy State Clause’ in the UN Charter. Germany has sincerely apologized to its neighboring countries to wash away its original sins by even giving up its territory. This is why France and Britain, the countries victimized by Germany during World War II, are supporting Berlin’s bid to gain a permanent seat on the UNSC. On the other hand, East Asian countries, such as the two Koreas, China and Russia, are unanimously opposed to Japan’s accession to the UNSC. This is because Japan is not only creating new controversy by distorting its history of aggression but is also going as far as to covet the territory of the ROK, the greatest victim of its military imperialism. If Japan truly wants to become a member of the UNSC, it should first listen to the voices of the tens of thousands of people that were mercilessly sacrificed by its acts of aggression and be morally and ethnically reborn.”
"Insufficient Words From Japan"
Independent Joong-A Ilbo opined (4/8): "Amid rising tension over Japan's claims to Dokdo and its distortions of history, the foreign ministers of Korea and Japan met yesterday in Pakistan.... The two ministers reached a consensus that the current relationship between the countries is problematic, and that for the future of both countries and of Asia, the problems should not be allowed to drag on. It is good that both countries are using diplomatic channels to find a solution.... However, we are very disappointed by Japan's attitude toward the issues. Sophistry and excuses from Japan will not improve the relationship, and it will only worsen the lack of trust the world now has in Japan as a potential leader on the global stage.... If...Japan really does have a 'self-examining soul' when it comes to the enormous physical and psychological damage it wreaked upon Asian countries in the past, then the present issues can be resolved easily. If Japan cancels Shimane prefecture's designation of 'Takeshima Day' --an attempt to re-seize Dokdo--and if it deletes those passages in its history textbooks that state that Dokdo belongs to Japan, the problem would be solved. Japan would also have to correct those portions in the textbooks that beautify its record of aggression and brutality against neighboring countries. But we fail to see any such sincere, detailed efforts.... Japan should be aware that it cannot salvage the current situation by mere diplomatic rhetoric. The reactionary action of the Japanese government only enrages Koreans, conscientious Japanese people and the citizens of the world. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who wants to have a Korea-Japan summit meeting in June, should make a decision in good faith."
"Let's Shame Japan On The International Stage"
Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shimmun editorialized (4/8): "The Japanese government's approach to distorting history is becoming tougher. The meeting between Korea and Japan's foreign ministers...ended with without finding points of agreement. The issue of Dokdo has become a core issue between the two countries, so unless Japan changes its attitude relations will turn as bad as relations between Japan and China, whose leaders have not exchanged visits for some years now.... Looking at the way Japan speaks about increasing its contributions on the international scene while simultaneously insisting on its ultranationalist view of the world, you cannot rid yourself of the feeling that the democracy Japan has fostered since the war, together with its 'peace constitution,' is rapidly fossilizing.... Now, however, there are various signs that the situation has fundamentally changed. To begin with, Japanese officials are issuing reckless remarks that are then not rescinded.... Now the approach is to say Japan should not bow to wrongful foreign interference.... There is now only one approach left to take. If Japan is not going to wake up to its own shame then it should be made to do so by being thoroughly shamed in the international community."
"Two-Faced Japan: Seoul Should Prepare For Protracted Diplomatic War"
Moderate Hankook Ilbo held (4/8): "The fruitless Korea-Japan foreign ministers’ talks in Islamabad Thursday appeared rather like a reconnoitering skirmish before a full-blown war. Seoul’s position was as angry and resolute as ever, but Tokyo’s response could hardly be colder. Though expected, it is still disappointing. Japan speaks about the need to improve the situation but acts to aggravate it.... With rearmament almost completed, Japanese leaders appear ready to return to the past. The distorted textbooks are tools to induce the general public, particularly children, to join it. From some time ago, it was apparent Japan no longer felt guilty about its military invasions of and crimes against its Asian neighbors. The latest developments demonstrate Tokyo has now shaken off even its sense of shame.... Other Asians are tired of the inconsistency between Japan’s words and deeds. Japan had best untie the knots it made. Tokyo must drop its territorial claims over the rocky islets in the East Sea and rewrite the textbooks reflecting the sentiments of neighboring countries.... It is increasingly uncertain the top leaders’ meeting, even if materialized, would produce any meaningful results as long as Tokyo sticks to its stance. In that case, Seoul should get ready for a protracted diplomatic war with Japan, both bilaterally and multilaterally. Though Seoul should never allow the Tokto issue to become an agenda item for negotiation, it needs to be armed with legal and historic reasoning to prove its sovereignty.... In dealing with the textbook issue, it should unite with other Asian governments as well as citizens, including conscientious Japanese.... It is the Japanese leaders that should regain their calm, and stop using diplomacy as a camouflage for domestic problems."
"Motives Behind Textbooks"
The independent English-language Korea Herald said (4/7): "The school textbooks authorized by the Japanese Ministry of Education on Tuesday not only put Korea and Japan on a collision course but also fuel growing nationalist sentiments in Northeast Asia. The confrontation between the two nations is certain to escalate as the textbooks were designed to reinforce Japan's claim to Dokdo.... The original caption described Dokdo as a disputed island between Korea and Japan but was allegedly changed under the Education Ministry's instruction. These provocations make it inevitable for Korea to employ stern measures to defend its sovereignty over Dokdo. On territorial issues, there can be no compromise. The Seoul government should not allow Japan to encroach upon its territorial sovereignty.... . As for history textbooks...the Fuso version maintained almost the same tone as before--a brazen glorification of Japan's colonial expansion and an intentional neglect of its atrocities, such as forced labor and sexual slavery. The central problem with the controversial textbook is that it disparages Korea and other neighboring countries in an attempt to prove Japan's relative superiority and thereby justify its invasion and colonial rule of these countries.... The book's authors, who are avowedly ultra-rightist historians...are rightly accused of dreaming of the revival of militarism and expansion of Japan's military influence. In this sense, their attempt to distort history poses a serious challenge to regional peace. This is why we question if Tokyo deserves a permanent seat in the UNSC.... Efforts should be made to cooperate with Japanese civic groups who are determined to block the adoption of the Fuso textbook by any state-run schools."
"Japan's Historical Distortions Will Backfire"
Conservative Chosun Ilbo noted (4/6): "When the Korean government announced on March 17 a new doctrine in its Japan policy, expressing concern that a textbook it says glorifies Japan's colonial past will pass uncorrected, the island country's education minister said, 'Sincere efforts will be made to respond to Korean concerns'.... A backhanded sort of remark...since it now turns out the Education Ministry was already...pressuring textbook publishers and authors to glorify Japanese invasions and make it crystal-clear that Korea's Dokdo islets are Japanese territory.... Whenever the textbook issue came up, the Japanese government was evasive, saying it cannot intervene in the judgment of individual historians, and so forth. Believe that who will.... They have their opinions, including that there should be fewer references to sexual slavery, forced conscription and other unpleasantries, and altogether less of a fuss about the neighbors and their feelings.... Japan's leadership should realize how dangerous a path it is treading. What can Japan possibly gain by handing down to its children a history of misjudgment and self-deception? What will they do when they grow up and still firmly believe that Dokdo belongs undeniably to them? If they grow up as the government appears to want them to, without reflecting on the atrocities their country perpetrated in the course of invading their neighbors, will they be able to live in peace and mutual prosperity with the region? Japan's historic distortions are not Korea's problem, nor China's: they are the problem of a future Japan."
"Once Again Pinning Hope On The Conscience Of The Japanese People"
Independent Dong-A Ilbo declared (4/5): "Yesterday, the Japanese Education Ministry released results of a review on history and civil studies textbooks which are to be used from 2006. Korea has emphasized the review results as critical in improving the strained bilateral relations. However, the results were disappointing.... Regarding Dokdo, Fusosha Publishers added a picture of Dokdo...and explained that the islets were 'illegally occupied by Korea'.... The textbook changes have been made for the worse.... Distortions that Japan helped modernize Chosun were added. The fact that the explanations of military comfort women were scrapped...are also problematic.... It is regrettable that the Japanese education minister...fueled such distortions.... It is rash for Japan to try to play a leading role in the international society when it feels no regret over its recent history and has not earned the trust of neighboring nations. Japan must look back and think about why street protests and boycott campaigns on Japanese products are expanding even in China. Only a nation that can teach factual history to the next generation, even if it is shameful history, has the right to be a leading nation. It is not economic power alone that defines a leading nation. We cannot make compromises on the Dokdo sovereignty issue. However, we once again pin hope on Japan’s conscience regarding the textbooks.... Overseas public relation activities must also be promoted in order not to neglect informing others that Dokdo is Korean territory. Diplomatic powers must also be in full force at the Korea-Japan Foreign Ministers’ meeting slated for April 7."
BRITAIN: "Unleashing The Mob: China And Japan Must Learn Rapprochement"
The conservative Times editorialized (4/11): "Creating an atmosphere viscerally hostile to Japan, which some Chinese companies no doubt hope will blunt Japanese competition, could have dangerous consequences. Japanese opinion is no longer subservient. Aid to China has ended.... Trade is flourishing, as is Japanese investment in China, regardless of Beijing's bluster. But the economic relationship could well be threatened. Mr. Koizumi must prove that he is a genuine reformer by finding a different ceremony to honour the nation's war dead and to ensure that the annual ritual of textbook tension is brought to an end. Meanwhile, China's leaders must understand that they will be the ultimate losers if they encourage a marauding mob mentality."
"Japan's Burden: Confronting The Past Is The Only Way To Cool Asian Tempers"
An editorial in the independent Financial Times read (4/8): "Japan, China and South Korea are closely bound by trade, and politicians must do what they can to damp the dangerous ardour of the nationalists in their respective countries. But it is disturbing that Japanese text books are becoming less honest by the year, and that Japan now has active territorial disputes with China, South Korea and Russia. There is no hope of 'future-oriented, friendly relations' unless Japan comes clean about its past."
GERMANY: "Problems With The Past"
Frank Herold commented in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (4/14): "After the anti-Japanese demonstrations in some Chinese towns, Japan now demands an official apology and compensation for the damage done during the riots. The concerns over the supposedly government-organized outrage among the people is understandable, but not Tokyo's demand, because it distorts cause and effect. Again and again, Japan, the leading economic power in the region, gives its neighbors reasons for their resentments. The latest incident was a history book, which reflected the countries unbroken relation to its militaristic and expansionistic past."
"Fighting The 'Foreign Race'"
Georg Blume observed in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (4/14): "The main reason for the new anti-Japanese movement is the Communist Party's calculation that the hatred for the old enemy serves as an outlet for the political dissatisfaction. That is the only field where the leadership allows political participation. They only commemorate the victims of Japanese war crimes, but not the victims of the Civil War, the Culture Revolution and the massacre at Tiananmen Square. Almost every Chinese knows about those who died in the war against Japan, but hardly anybody knows that 30 million people starved to death during Mao Zedong's catastrophic economic policy called Great Leap Forward. China's moral front against Japan is new; only the Internet helped it to come into being. This might also increase the pressure on Taiwan, which has good relations with Japan, and it may result in a rejection of the west as well as a new thriving nationalistic arrogance. Japan is not blamed by accident. China's ruler, who has just proclaimed the Asian century during his visit to India, is playing with fire--standing untied with the country's students."
Right-of-center Landeszeitung of Lüneburg opined (4/13): "Even though history does not repeat, it has effects that reach into the present. The schoolbook controversy between Tokyo and Beijing is casting a spotlight on Japan's unreflecting reference to its own belligerent, criminal past. With this biased historical account, Tokyo is playing into the hands of the powers-that-be in Beijing, who increasingly pin their hopes on nationalism as a new trump card. The emerging Chinese superpower has all possibilities to restrict Japan's political scope of action, as the rapprochement to the old rival India and the threat to use its right to veto [in the UN] show. In order to counter the [Japanese] dragon, it is not enough that Japan builds up muscles. In all neighboring states, which it devastated during the war, Japan causes resentments. It will be able to increase its reputation only if it bows its head and deals with its history."
Anne Schneppen opined in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/12): "In its neighboring countries, Japan has again awakened the shadows of history.... But Japan does not want to understand what the protests are all about. The neighbors feel hurt again and again by Japan's lack of sensitivity when dealing with its history, while Japan itself considers itself a victim of this history.... As often before, Japan feels isolated and misunderstood.... The country is now pinning its hopes on the alliance with America towards hostilities in the region. But this alliance with the U.S. is a curse and a blessing at the same time.... Towards the U.S., Japan submits to the scheme of playing the role of little and big brother at the same time, while Japan's relationship with its eastern Asian neighbors has been characterized by an arrogant feeling of superiority. Japan's self-confidence seems to be a borrowed nationalism with the U.S. Japan is now piqued that China and [South] Korea are focusing on Japan, but Japan is unable to imagine the effects on neighboring countries when Japanese politicians pilgrim to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. In an economically and politically difficult situation, Japan is increasingly trying to find support by relying on its own identity, tradition, and values...but this is an introverted, verbal nationalism, which serves to boost Japan's confidence and to reassure itself. Japan lives even more egocentric than other island nations as if Japan were the only country in the world, as if one's own activities could not have any consequences for others.... If there is movement in the question of its past, then the Japanese government will not do so on its own. Only prime political interests like efforts to get a permanent Japanese Security Council seat could prompt the government to leave this backward defense. There will be no accommodation with its Northeast Asian neighbors as long as Japan does not learn to accept their view of the past. Japan could only profit from such a learning process."
Center-right Volksstimme of Magdeburg noted (4/12): "There is no doubt: If Japanese schoolbooks describe the Nanjing massacre from 1937 as 'an incident,' then this will be a biased historical account. At that time, Japanese troops country killed more than 300,000 Chinese within 40 days. We can expect Japan to present a correct and appropriate account of history. But if the approval of the schoolbook drives more than 10,000 people in Beijing alone to the streets, then more must be behind this scandal. The suspicion of an exaggerated Chinese nationalism comes to the fore. Over the past few days, the regime in Beijing stirred this up with its unspeakable Taiwan policy, which focuses on military strength. This policy is now coming back like a boomerang. But the situation could escalate soon."
"Crisis Based On The Past"
Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg noted (4/11): "In East Asia the economic giant Japan and the emerging market in China are competing not only for the future. As the large-scale protests from the past few days demonstrated, the past still continues a lot of political explosives.... Since Japan is unwilling to talk about the dark sides of its past, there has never been reconciliation in East Asia after WWII, as it happened in Europe. Today it is becoming clear that these smoldering conflicts from the past could turn into an additional risk for the region.... There were even violent protests against a permanent Japanese seat on the UNSC. Japan's attitude towards history, for instance the massacre in Nanjing...is now again arousing strong feelings. It is high time that Tokyo deals more openly and more seriously with its past. This would also be in the interest of its own future."
"Nationalism As A Valve"
Business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf argued (4/11): "For years, anti-Japanese resentment, even among young people, has been on the rise despite the love for Shiseido, Sony, or Toyota. Chinese history lessons foster this like the mistakes of the Japanese government to deal in a more conciliatory way with its history, which is responsible for brutal crimes in Asia. But in addition to the wounds of the past, other reasons are bringing protesters in China together. They are not allowed to take to the streets to demand democracy or human rights or to protest a growing social gap. But they are allowed to take to the streets to protest against Japan. Thus the emotional protest against Tokyo has turned into a valve for the Chinese government, even thought he outrage in the country is directed against other problems. The feeling of nationalism should unite the Chinese, and once they are united, it is easy to express one's dislike against others."
Left-of-center Hamburger Morgenpost of Hamburg stated (4/11): "There are disputes between states in all areas in the world on the historical events. This is normal and every country cultivates its national myths. It is not a new phenomenon that Japan idealizes its own history, especially its aggressive imperialist stage up to 1945. Unfortunately, a critical review of this past has never taken place. But it is extremely dangerous that the new China, with the self-confidence of a superpower that is rolling with self-confidence, is reacting to it. The Beijing regime is deliberately nurturing anti-Japanese resentment. Allegedly 'spontaneous people's anger' is coming to the fore, in a country in which normally the joint meditation of a cranky sect causes large-scale operations of the state power."
"Danger Of Infection"
Peter Sturm noted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/11): "Much persuasive work was probably not necessary to lure demonstrators to Japan's missions in several Chinese cities. The controlling hand of the powers-that-be could not be overlooked in the protests, but in this case, government and the people are obviously of the same opinion. And the accusations are not totally wrong. Japan has a long and rich history, but hardly a relationship to its dark past. But what could happen in China if Beijing allowed things, which it would otherwise brutally crush? It would be welcome if the virus of freedom spread in China. Then the leadership would have kicked the ball into its own net. But what is worrying are the feelings which Beijing is now stirring up. Aggressive nationalism is an emotion that East Asia cannot need. This is something those must know who are also infected with the poison but who only criticize the views of others now. And this is something Europe's would-be arms exporters should keep in mind when they make decisions from which many Asians could suffer in the future."
"Dispute Between Neighbors"
Henrik Bork opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/11): "The willingness to use force that was interpreted as 'patriotic' and could be watched among young Chinese over the weekend is unappealing. But--without approving such outbreaks--the irritation of the students is not totally unfounded. The anger at Japan that has now come to the fore has accumulated over years during which Japan's government, which has rightist tendencies, has persistently violated the feelings of those neighbors that it occupied in the past. With every visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the defense of badly written schoolbooks, or with every anti-Chinese commentary, Koizumi's government poured oil into the fire. But even more unappealing than egg-hurling semi-educated young students are Japan's slips when it comes to dealing with its bloody past. There is no tinge of self-criticism in Tokyo's reactions to the protests in Beijing. Japan thinks it has done enough to come to terms with its past. But it overlooks the fact that this judgment is not due to the heirs of the perpetrators."
Johnny Erling commented in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/11): "In a very mild way, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing called upon the demonstrators to show moderation. At the same time, it signaled understanding by saying that 'part of the masses' is simply dissatisfied with Tokyo's view on the Japan's guilt in WWII, as if spontaneous protests in China were not banned, as if they are not suppressed on a regular basis if the government does not like them.... But Japan must also be blamed. 60 years after the end of WWII, Japan is unable to show genuine repentance. By doing so, it is also embarrassing South Korea. But more is at stake than the past. With both countries, Japan is arguing about the ownership of oil-rich sea areas, it is irritating China because it invites the Dalai Lama and because it wants to guarantee together with the United States the status quo for Taiwan. From a Chinese point of view, this means, Japan cannot get a permanent UNSC seat, which is bitter for the government in Berlin, whose hopes are linked to the ones of Japan. But if Beijing pins its hopes on a wave of protests to make Tokyo more willing to make compromises, it plays a dangerous game. Only too often, anti-Japanese demonstrations in Beijing have turned into domestic policy revolts against their own government. Then Beijing, not Tokyo, would be in the pillory."
RUSSIA: "Pogrom On Request"
Grigory Plakhotnikov wrote in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (4/11): "Despite the security measures that have been taken, anti- Japanese events continue in China.... Anti- Japanese pogroms will adversely affect Japanese investment in the Chinese economy. So far official Beijing has not commented on the demands voiced by the participants in mass rallies that Japan should not be granted a UNSC permanent member status. Many analysts believe that China is certainly reluctant to lose its position as the only Asian country having a UNSC permanent member status. This gives the Japanese media grounds to say that the Chinese authorities have encouraged anti- Japanese events in their country. This has been the result of issues existing in bilateral relations--in particular, an unsettled territorial dispute concerning the uninhabited Diaoyutai group of islands. Beijing has also been displeased with the fact that Japan has maintained contacts with those whom China describes as separatists--the Taiwanese leaders and the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet."
AUSTRIA: "Japan's Cross Is Its Past"
Burkhard Bischof commented in centrist Die Presse (4/12): "In Japanese society, the sensors for wrongdoing are intact. The problem is, the various liberal democratic governments in Tokyo never brought themselves to issue clear apologies to the peoples of East and Southeast Asia which they at one time oppressed. The reasons for this omission are to be found in domestic rather than foreign policy--consideration for the right-wing nationalist, traditionalist voter potential. On the other hand, there is also the issue of how history is dealt with in China. It is more than grotesque if the foreign office in Beijing--of all institutions--calls on Japan to bring the 'correct historical perspective' home to the young generation. Which 'correct historical perspective' is being taught to the Chinese youth--is there any mention of the millions of victims that the governing Communist regime caused among its population in the 20th century? The saying that 'those who live in glass houses should not throw stones' is also valid in East Asia."
HUNGARY: "Test of Strength"
Gyula Krajczar pointed out in top-circulation, center-left Nepszabadsag (4/12): “In general, what has given a special timeliness to the recent and more and more frequent Asian opposition to Japan is the fact that one of the UN’s reform ideas raises the possibility of [Japan] becoming a member of the UNSC. And in particular, [Asia is concerned about] the re-shuffling of power relations in this part of the world. Tokyo is obviously concerned about the growing significance of Beijing, and is feverishly looking for counter-weights. And for China, Japan seems a perfect medium to test its strength. America is still too much; other countries are already too little [to take on]. In the meantime, characteristically, the two countries have mutually become each other’s largest trade partners. While they are encouraging the even more dynamic development of economic relations, in the international area they do their best to cross each other wherever they can. The tension is too logical, and the governments are too consistent.”
IRELAND: "Japan And China"
The center-left Irish Times contended (4/14): "If Japan's policy is truly ‘to turn a sea of confrontation into a sea of co-operation’, as its prime minister Junichiro Koizumi said yesterday, then his government's decision to authorize the start of gas drilling in the waters of the East China Sea disputed between Japan and China is not the best way.... The timing could not be worse. It comes a few days after the worst outbreak of anti-Japanese protests in Beijing since the two countries normalized relations in 1972. It concerns the heated subject of neo-nationalist Japanese textbooks which deny its imperial atrocities. Japan's trade minister called China a ‘scary country’ after these events, while Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao told reporters Japan must ‘face up to history squarely’. He went on to spell out a warning about Japan's ambition to secure a permanent seat on the UNSC.... These are serious statements by the Chinese leadership, revealing how much their relations with Japan have deteriorated.... The gas exploration issue is part of a wider competition for energy resources between China, Japan and South Korea, fanned in turn by major shifts in the region's balance of strategic and political power.... Already worries are being expressed about the security of Japan's huge investment in China involving 16,000 businesses, its burgeoning trade there which now surpasses that with the U.S. and the safety of the three million Japanese tourists who went there last year. This crisis has crept up gradually but now needs urgent attention from all the region's leaders before it is further exacerbated with quite unpredictable political and economic effects. China and Japan are the second and third largest oil and gas consumers in the world. Thus there will be worldwide consequences if the East China Sea does indeed become a zone of confrontation, not co-operation. This regrettable decision could drive it that way.”
UAE: "Old Rivalries Resurface Again"
The English-language expatriate-oriented Gulf News held (4/11): "Neighbours China and Japan are still suspicious of each other.... As the world welcomes, with some trepidation, China's economic growth, Japan's cosy post-war certainties are being turned upside down.... China's economic clout has been growing ever stronger. Japan...has seen its traditional Asian and American markets shrink. The two countries are deeply suspicious of each other. Many in Japan consider China's emergence as an obstacle rather than an opportunity. Political tensions, territorial rivalries, competition over energy resources, and China and Japan's military build-up have added to growing tension between the two nations. Japan is seeking a UNSC seat but its neighbours, especially China, believe that it has not atoned for its war crimes. Japan, for instance, has still to formally apologise for its war atrocities. The irony is that China's own version of its history is heavily biased towards the Communist Party and the crimes of Mao Zedong are conveniently overlooked. China is not yet fully awake but she is stretching and the world will have to come to terms with this potential economic giant. The trouble is that China's emergence from its dormancy is rattling Japan and nationalism is coming to the fore in both nations. Both countries are dependent on each other economically but conflicts have started in areas less tense than those which exist in the Far East."
"Past Is Passe"
The English-language expatriate-oriented Khaleej Times declared (4/11): "The violent protest by thousands of Chinese demonstrators...is nothing but uncivilised behaviour. It cannot be justified by any means even if the protesters had a genuine cause.... It's true Japan's imperial past has been a source of friction in the region. Japan, an imperial power, had occupied the vast areas of Asia including China and Koreas. The former colonies see Japanese occupation as cruel and scores of atrocities are blamed on the Japanese army. The latest move that has provoked strong reaction from China and Korea involves the introduction of history textbooks by Japan that are said to glorify its imperial past. Countries like China and South Korea have protested that the history texts ignore the atrocities the Japanese army unleashed.... However, if we start exploring the past, most European nations would be fighting each other all the time. Most Europeans should be protesting against Germany's past actions and vice versa. America fought both Japan and Germany during the World War II but they are best of the allies today. In fact, their post War reconstruction took place with the help of America. There is no point in resurrecting the ghosts of the past and going on harping on the events that took place decades ago. Like the mature and developed nations that they are, China, Japan and Korea should bury their past and move on. What use is a past that doesn’t make us better human beings and pits us against our fellow beings? Past is dead. Let’s bury it."
The English-language expatriate-oriented Gulf Today observed (4/8): "Japan's relations with its Asian neighbours are continuing on varying levels of tension. The biggest strain remains Japan's treatment of its history which is closely entwined with that of its neighbours as well. While a recent row over history textbooks saw Japan and South Korea on a mode of diplomatic confrontation, China is taking a more cautious and pragmatic approach.... Last week the Japanese government approved a text book on history for schools which glorifies its conquests in the past. This has naturally angered the neighbouring countries including China and South Korea.... Seoul has been more vociferous in opposing Tokyo's policy. The South Korean government threatened strong diplomatic confrontation.... History seems to regurgitate every time the two countries come on a diplomatic collision course.... There are many such issues, including territorial claims over nearby islands, row over fishing rights and also the feud over a Chinese gas project in a disputed area of the East China Sea.... History is destined to keep nationalistic fires burning in the Asia-Pacific region. A Japanese apology for past actions may be unrealistic. But there are surely ways to avoid tickling jittery nerves."
CANADA: "Japan Poses No Threat To China"
Marcus Gee observed in the leading Globe and Mail (4/13): " Is Japan an unrepentant, militarist power with designs on dominating East Asia again? It would come as a surprise to the Japanese, the great majority of whom are comfort-loving pacifists with no interest in dominating anyone. Yet that seems to be the view these days from Beijing.... The potential for Chinese, not Japanese, militarism is the real worry in East Asia. China has invested billions in modernizing its armed forces and weaponry in recent years and threatened Taiwan with missile attack. It is this Chinese military expansion, rather than resurgent Japanese nationalism, that has driven Tokyo to strengthen its military partnership with Washington. China had only itself to blame when Japan said recently that it would help the United States defend Taiwan against Chinese attack. In Japan's view, it has no choice but to bolster itself against a rising China. The people of East Asia have plenty of things to worry about. A revival of Japanese militarism is not one of them."
The leading Globe and Mail declared (4/12): "Japan has lodged a formal protest against China over a series of violent anti-Japanese protests on Chinese soil. Its complaint is fully justified. Beijing has done next to nothing to stop the protests, which have frightened Japanese nationals in China and damaged Japanese property. On the contrary, the Chinese government has encouraged anti-Japanese feeling. It may even have fomented the protests. At the least, it has turned a blind eye. This is a dangerous game. If relations between East Asia's two biggest powers deteriorate, the stability of the whole region could be at risk.... The effect of China's rising hostility has been to drive Japan into the arms of Beijing's rival for regional influence, the United States. Tokyo has moved to strengthen its strategic partnership with Washington, and said recently it would join the U.S. to defend Taiwan if China tried to invade the island. China says Japan and the U.S. are trying to box it in, treating it as a hostile power despite its benign intentions. If that is what it fears, Beijing should stop encouraging its citizens to despise Japan."
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