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No more Yasukuni visits on my watch [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-5-2 14:00:56 |Display all floors
Posted By Clyde Prestowitzhttp://prestowitz.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/04/24/no_more_yasukuni_visits_on_my_watch

Japan'stop leaders are tempting fate. They are waving a red flag at the bulls. And they are doing so at just the wrong time.


Overthe past weekend, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and two other cabinet members visited Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine. This followed an earlier visit by 168 members of the Diet (Japan's parliament) mostly from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.



The shrine unfortunately serves several conflicting purposes. In principle it is a memorial to the dead from all of Japan's wars -- a kind of Arlington Cemeteryin U.S. terms. But it also enshrines several former officials and soldiers who were convicted as Class A war criminals after World War II. The shrine is also attached to a museum of World War II which portrays a highly nationalistic and even inflammatory version of the causes and course of the war. In addition,over the post war years, the shrine has become associated intellectually and emotionally with right wing causes and thinking in Japan. Some of this thinking denies the inhuman treatment of Nanking, the drafting by the Japanese army of Korean, Filipina, and other women into prostitution as so called "comfortwomen", and other wartime tragedies.

Because of this, the shrine and visits to it are not popular with countries like SouthKorea, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia that were occupied orin combat with Japan during the war. They see it as analogous to a scenario in which high-ranking Germans would make a pilgrimage to a shrine to the Nazis. Obviously,were such a shrine to exist and were Germans to visit it, there would be anenormous uproar in the countries that suffered and fought in the war againstthe Nazis.

Japanese officials, of course, argue that they are merely honoring the memory and service of the dead veterans. And no doubt, this is so in many cases.Nevertheless, no high ranking Japanese official can visit Yasukuni without sending the message, both to Japanese and to foreigners, that he or she sympathizes with the deniers and with the nationalistic right wing sentiments.Indeed, such a visit hints at denial of Japan's numerous apologies for its role in World War II. Japanese often are exasperated that their opponents in the warhave never fully accepted the Japanese apologies. But an important reason for this hesitating acceptance is the continued subtle denial by the shrine visitors.

Visits at this moment are a particularly bad idea in view of the fact that Japan is engaged in a potentially explosive dispute with China over the control of the Senkaku islands, with Korea over control of the Takashima islands, and withNorth Korea over its nuclear and war like threats. Japan needs allies at thismoment, not enemies. Yet the shrine visits have enraged the South Koreans, who cancelled a visit to Japan by their foreign minister, and the Chinese whose Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying: "Only when the Japanese government faces history with the right attitude and can profoundly reflect on the history will it march toward the future and develop a friendlyand cooperative relationship with its neighboring countries."

Prime Minister Abe is engaged in a momentous effort to revitalize the Japaneseeconomy and, more broadly, the whole Japanese nation. He has needed and gotten the cooperation of the G-20 and of his neighbors in Korea, China, and Southeast Asia in accepting a major devaluation of the yen. He has requested and received acceptance of Japan as a new partner in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)free trade agreement negotiations. He has asked and is receiving major U.S. supportwith regard to the threat North Korean missiles and possible nuclear bombs.

Why,in this situation, would he (he didn't visit the shrine but sent a potted treeoffering) and his lieutenants do something they knew would gratuitously insultand enrage the very people with whom they need to cooperate? Of course, a lot of it is domestic politics and perhaps certain allowances should be made for that. At least that is what Abe and his team are telling the diplomats of the United States and of the other countries involved. But it is dangerous domestic politics.


Overthe years, the United States has never publicly objected to these visits. Privately, some American diplomats have suggested that they are not a good idea, but the Japanese politicians have always been able to rely on the certainty that Washington would hold its nose and keep quiet.



One reason that Washington has been able to keep quiet is that the American publichas no idea of what Yasukuni means. If it did, these visits would blow the U.S.-Japan alliance completely out of the water.


Since there is always the chance that the American public will become better informed, it would be wise for Washington to stop holding its nose and perhapshave a good sneeze.

Forthe White House to be welcoming Japan into the TPP talks and sending B2 bomberson warning flights over North Korea and telling the Chinese to back off on the Senkakus and urging the Koreans to cooperate more with Japan while Japan's top leaders are visiting Yasukuni is in a word -- ridiculous.

President Obama ought to get the word to Abe that there should be no more Yasukuni visitson his (Obama's) watch.



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Post time 2013-5-4 17:04:57 |Display all floors
its amazes me how Japanese politicians who isit the shrine can not reason why it is controversial.
ExJ.H

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Post time 2013-5-4 18:37:47 |Display all floors
This post was edited by abramicus at 2013-5-4 18:39

"JAPANESE NEO-NAZISM IS GOOD FOR DEMOCRACY" - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA

The De-Nazification of Japan is an abysmal failure, many of whose war criminals were never punished, and instead took up major political and economic positions in post-War Japan under the protection of the western Neo-Nazi network.  The post-War Nazi strategy was to embroil the previous Allies in WWII in a new Cold War, and thus ex-Nazi's gladly served as the advisers and implementers of their Mutually Assured Destruction policies.  Nothing makes a Nazi more happy than MAD-ness amongst the WWII Allies.

The western political establishment is not just turning a blind eye to the Neo-Nazi bent of the Japanese officials.  It is encouraging it, actually, by telling the Japanese that whatever they do to China, they are covered under the Joint Defense Treaty.  Just as they groomed and supported Hitler before WWII, they now need a Japanese Hitler before WWIII.  How to prevent a Fascist from biting the hand that feeds it, however, remains unsolved.  The next time, Japan does not have to send its forces to Hawaii to attack the Seventh Fleet, because it is now based in Japan, and can be taken down by the Japanese in one day.  Even better for the Japanese, they get to keep what they did not blow up.  With a pre-trained inter-operable SDF, Japan will end up with most powerful navy in the world.  This may be the ultimate aim of the Japanese playing along with the joint military exercises.  

This is how the Pivot may end up being, a triple-top that ends with slipping on the ice, because when it comes to deception, the Japanese are the masters, and the Americans, the amateurs.  Don't be surprised on waking up one December Sunday morning, watching TV news showing the Hinomaru flying above every US ship and imprinted on every US plane now stationed in Japan.  Japan is determined to stop at nothing short of a full Second Meiji Restoration, even if it must do a Second Pearl Harbor, made ten times easier by its friends in the West.  In fact, their joint military exercises are good training for the Japanese on how to operate US ships and weapons systems, once they take them over.

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Post time 2013-5-5 03:45:40 |Display all floors
Interesting thoughts about international competition and intrigue.

First, China has to reassess its own strengths and weaknesses, without any self-deception, and no holy cows.  Second, China has to reassess the strengths and weaknesses of every country, faction, and movement, friend or foe.  Third, China has to figure out their priorities, and its own priorities, and their likely interactions with other players on all issues.

There is an optimal path through these variables of players, strengths, weaknesses, priorities, taboos, preferences (positive to negative), that would illuminate the likely scenarios for the future.  In such a case, a country that can at least map out all the possibilities can create or induce the future it wants without having to react to a fuure that others have chosen.

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Post time 2013-5-5 03:54:51 |Display all floors
This post was edited by abramicus at 2013-5-5 04:13

There is no doubt that China wants peace with America, but pundits on the other side of the Pacific prefer a China that is at loggerheads with America, not necessarily because this is the optimal future for America, but because they too are serving the interests of other countries, factions, religions, or ideologies, with America being just their residence or employer.  You can clearly see a daily stream of disdain, distrust and distaste for China poisoning the western media, as if China is destined to be the ultimate enemy of America, and that they better prepare for this future.  But this is a future that the pundits have chosen without a full, honest analysis of their weaknesses, strengths, and priorities.  They simply tell the American public, "Trust me, I am an expert", using their titles and awards as basis for simply projecting their preference as the only option for America.  Of course, they are way off the mark, as all the Chinese people know.  Nobody there hates America's existence or pre-eminence.  They just hate what America is doing in allowing Japan to annex a part of China, Diaoyudao, period.  And, of course, these pundits are not all wrong about the ambitions of some power figures in China who might abuse any pre-eminence of Chinese might in Asia to wantonly take over the territories of weaker countries instead.  We have seen examples of that in how some skirmishes with weaker countries are ongoing, for no obvious strategic reason benefiting China as a nation, even if it benefits local businesses at the border (fishing, oil and mining firms) and the semi-warlords now flexing their muscles to "defend" their private interests in the name of China's national interest.  The truth is often gray.  But if MAD-ness is to be avoided, both countries leadership must outsmart their own biased pundits and overrule their private interests.  This scenario actually occurred during the Mao-Nixon meeting in 1972, and set the stage for the end of the Cold War.  In this sense, a more centralized Chinese political leadership is actually better for America than otherwise, if another Cold War is to be averted.

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Post time 2013-5-5 06:03:51 |Display all floors
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Hey but what do I know, huh?

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