WWII ‘slaves’ sue Japan firms

Japan_forced laboursAbout 700 people who were forced to work in Japan during World War II filed a lawsuit in east China’s Shandong Province on Tuesday, demanding both an apology and compensation from two China-based Japanese companies.

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LiveLeak.com – Chinese sue Japanese companies over slave labor in WWII, asking for 1 million yuan compensation per person

Four representatives on behalf of the former laborers signed a letter, authorizing a legal aid team to file the lawsuit at Shandong Higher People’s Court.

Mitsubishi Corporation (Qingdao) Ltd. and Yantai Mitsubishi Cement Co., Ltd., which are accused of forcing laborers from Shandong to Japan to work during the war, are being sued 1 million yuan (160,700 US dollars) per victim in compensation. The laborers also want a written apology published in major newspapers in China, said Fu Qiang, executive head of the legal aid team and head of Shandong Pengfei Law Office.

Fu said the two Mitsubishi companies are not directly connected but affiliated to the original perpetrator, Mitsubishi Materials Corp in Japan.

“The two companies are foreign-owned enterprises in China, and subject to Chinese law,” said Fu.

This is the second time the laborers have brought a compliant to court. In September 2010, six laborers, on behalf of 1,000 Chinese from Shandong, brought a lawsuit against the two companies. The court refused to accept the case.

Around 40,000 Chinese, one-fourth of whom were from Shandong, were forced to work in Japan during the war. Of these workers, 7,000 died in Japan. Thirty-five Japanese companies are believed to have been involved in forced labor from 1937 to 1945, when Japan invaded China.

Quoting government figures, Wang Wanying, one of the four representatives and son of a victim, said out of 1,500 laborers brought to Japan from Shandong’s Yuncheng County, only 130 people returned home alive.

“My father was lucky enough to survive,” said 55-year-old Wang. “We will carry on to seek justice,” he said.

Japanese courts have rejected all compensation claims in 15 lawsuits filed by forced Chinese laborers since the 1990s, saying that a 1972 bilateral agreement nullified Chinese rights to seek war-related compensation.

However, former Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, said in March 1995 that although China had discarded national reparations, the government did not abandon its people’s rights to demand compensation.

On March 26, nine former laborers filed a lawsuit against Coke Industry Co., Ltd. of Japan, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation and the Japanese government at Tangshan City Intermediate People’s Court. They are requesting compensation. A decision to accept the case has not been made yet.

On March 18, the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court accepted a lawsuit against Coke Industry Co., Ltd. of Japan and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation over the matter, the first such case to be accepted in China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Japan should seriously address issues of forced labor, take a responsible attitude and seriously treat and properly handle the issues left over from history. – Xinhua

New China-US military ties: agree to disagree

Military_China Chang-US HagelChinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan (L) and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (R) review the guard of honor at a welcoming ceremony before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, April 8, 2014. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

China-US military: agree to disagree – CCTV News – CCTV.com English

< Video China-US military: agree to disagree

Chinese President Xi Jinping (second right) shakes hands with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (second left) during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called on China and the US to build a new model of military relations in a meeting with visiting US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

As an important part of Sino-US ties, military relations should be advanced under the framework of building a new type of major power relations, Xi, who is also chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, told Hagel.

The two countries need to effectively manage their differences and sensitive issues to ensure major power relations always go forward on the right track, Xi said.

The new type of China-US military ties are in the initial phase and the two sides have different understandings but they are looking for ways to advance, said Liu Weidong, an expert on US studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

Hagel is wrapping up his first visit to China since he became defense chief in February last year. His visit came after a stop in Japan, with which China has been embroiled in territorial disputes over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

The defense chief’s exchanges with Chinese military officials saw both blunt exchanges and handshakes, said an opinion piece by the Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday.

Before coming to China, Hagel said the goal for his Asia visit was to assure US allies of commitment to “our treaty obligations.” He openly welcomed Japan’s attempt to ease the ban on its collective self-defense in a written response to Japan’s financial newspaper Nikkei and reassured Tokyo that the Diaoyu Islands fall under the US-Japan Security Treaty.

He was received with frank and outspoken comments from Chinese military officials before the public, which is rarely seen, said analysts.

Before reporters, Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, said Tuesday that Hagel’s remarks on China made at the US-ASEAN defense ministers meeting in Hawaii last week and to the Japanese politicians were “tough.”

“The Chinese people, including myself, are dissatisfied with such remarks,” Fan noted.

Also in the presence of the press, China’s defense minister Chang Wanquan called on the US to keep Tokyo within bounds and not be permissive. He said China would not take pre-emptive action, but its armed forces are ready to respond.

It’s rare that Chinese military officials publicly express such attitudes and language, said Niu Xinchun, a research fellow with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, noting that China has been angered by US rhetoric.

“The strong remarks display the diplomatic style of China’s new leadership and China’s increasing confidence,” he told the Global Times.

It’s also a tactic with which China wants to press the US to take China’s feelings seriously, Liu noted.

Hagel also faced sharp questions when giving a speech at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s National Defense University. One Chinese officer voiced his concern that the US was stirring up trouble in the East China Sea and the South China Sea to hamper China’s development out of fear of China as a challenge, Reuters reported.

“These questions are prepared by the organizer to deliver China’s worries about a possible threat from the US-Japan alliance,” said Liu.

Reuters reported China appeared to be getting anxious that the recent tough talk by US officials over China’s territorial disputes with its neighbors could be a preview of what US President Barack Obama would say when he visits Asia later this month.

China’s defense ministry Wednesday also voiced strong opposition to a bill passed by the US House of Representatives that called on the Obama administration to sell Perry-class frigates to Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Hagel was the first foreign official allowed onboard China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province.

This was seen as a gesture of China’s sincerity and transparency by analysts.

With outspoken expressions and openness occurring at the same time, the exchanges between China and the US military indicate the wisdom of communication and the art of balance, said the Xinhua opinion piece.

An Obama administration official acknowledged that the tone was sharper on issues surrounding the South China Sea and the East China Sea than it had been on the last visit by a US defense secretary to China, which was in 2012.

“But in other areas the tone was actually improved,” the official said, pointing to discussions on Sino-US military cooperation and even North Korea, according to Reuters.

Hagel said at the university that with the modernization and expanding presence in Asia and beyond of the Chinese army, forces from the two countries will have closer proximity, “which increases the risk of an incident, an accident, or a miscalculation.”

“But this reality also presents new opportunities for cooperation,” he said.

China and the US can enhance their mutual understanding when the divides are frankly discussed, although it’s not likely to eradicate the mistrust between the two sides in just one visit, said Tao Wenzhao, an expert on US studies also with CASS.

By Sun Xiaobo Global Times

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Double standards on Ukraine and Crimea


Whichever superpower wins, Ukraine will be the loser of this East-West tug of war.

THE Russian incursion into Ukraine’s region of Crimea has, understandably, drawn strong critical response from the United States and the European Union. However, an impartial observer cannot fail to note the staggering hypocrisy evident in the Western response to Russia’s military actions.

International law: It is alleged that the Russian military intervention is a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty under international law. It probably is.

This is despite the fact that the Russian expedition was at the behest of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s democratically elected and unlawfully deposed President.

What is noteworthy is that Russia acted under grave provocation and in circumstances that the US would never tolerate.

Background: Since the end of the Cold War, the US has been encircling Russia with military and missile sites including one in Ukraine.

Nato has enlisted many former Soviet republics into its fold.

Russia is understandably sensitive about its Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine and Nato’s presence on its borders.

This is no different from President John F. Kennedy’s alarm when the USSR, under Nikita Khruschev, ins­talled missiles in Cuba in the Sixties.

In addition to military encirclement, a US organisation, namely the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), was operating in Ukraine and funding 65 projects, grooming replacements for President Yanuko­vych and resorting to psychological warfare.

The NED was founded in America in 1983 to promote its foreign policy objectives abroad.

In recent times Ukraine was mired in an economic crisis and Russia and the EU were in a bidding war to salvage it. Russia earmarked US$15bil (RM49bil) in economic assistance. The EU offered US$800mil (RM2.6bil) plus access to EU goods and services.

When Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych aligned with Russia against the EU proposal, the Western backed opposition took to the streets.

The US-funded National Endowment for Democracy was complicit in fuelling the disorder. Radical forces gained ascendency and violence begat violence. 

Yanukovych, Ukraine’s democratically elected President, offered to set up a unity government, bring electoral reform, effect constitutional changes and call early elections.

Unfortunately, negotiations broke down. He was then ousted in a US-supported coup and replaced with US chosen stand-ins.

The Ukrainian Parliament then acted foolishly to enact a series of draconian laws offensive to ethnic Russians in provinces that were carved out of the old Soviet Union. Yanukovych sought Russia’s help to protect the ethnic Russian population.

Under these circumstances, the Russian Parliament authorised Russian President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops inside Ukraine to protect the Russians living there.

US exceptionalism: The US has a long history of similar and even bloodier interventions as Russia’s. It has bombed or invaded 30 countries since World War Two.

In the last decade itself, there were full-scale invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq on trumped up charges plus bombing of Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.

US drones blow up “enemy combatants” in many parts of the world with sickening regularity.

The US keeps Syria and Iran under constant threats.

It refuses to join the International Criminal Court lest its international crimes be prosecuted.

Despite its professed belief in democracy, Washington has a sordid record of collaborating with right-wing military officers to overthrow elected leaders who do not do Washington’s bidding.

A partial list would include Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran (1953), Jacobo Arbez in Guatemala (1954), Salvador Allende in Chile (1973), Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti twice, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela (2002), Manuel Zelaya in Honduras (2009), Mohammed Morsi in Egypt (2013) and now Yanukovych in Ukraine (2014).

A close parallel to the Russian intervention was President Bill Clinton’s invasion of Haiti in 1994 to reinstall Haiti’s elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Russia has not gone that far regarding Yanukovych.

Besides the US, France is notable for its recent military interventions in its former colonies of Mali and Central African Republic.

Unconstitutionality: The US alleges that the Crimean referendum that resulted in an overwhelming vote to join Russia was contrary to the Ukrainian Constitution.

In fact, the trampling of the Ukrainian Constitution was equally evident in the ouster of the democratically elected President, which the US lustily cheered.

Under the Constitution of 1996 (which was restored by Yanukovych in 2010) Parliament has the right to impeach a President for treason or other crimes by a three-fourths majority.

This majority was not obtained. The impeachment must be reviewed by a Constitutional Court and it is not clear whether this mandatory procedure was complied with.

Also, it is the PM and not the Speaker of the House, who should under the Constitution fill the vacant presidency.

Secession: If Crimea’s secession is illegal, can the US explain its support for the secession of Bosnia, Kosovo, Slovakia, the Falkland Islands, East Timor, Scotland and Catalonia?

In fact the West was delirious about the break-up of Sudan.

One could point to Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) that “all people have the right of self-determination”.

Cold war: The Crimean crisis reignites the Cold War between Russia and the West. At stake is Ukraine’s return to the Russian sphere of influence or its drift towards the West.

Alternatively, the country will split into two – its Western part drifting towards a reluctant Europe and the South and the East remaining aligned with Russia.

Whichever superpower wins, Ukraine will be the loser of this East-West tug of war.

The Crimean Tartars face an uncertain future in Russia.

In the meantime, one cannot but marvel at the breathtaking hypocrisy of all sides – the US and EU on Ukraine and Russia on Chechnya.

William Blum puts it well: “Hypocrisy of this magnitude has to be respected”!

Contributed by Shad Saleem Faruqi Reflecting On The Law

> Shad Faruqi, Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM, is a passionate student and teacher of the law who aspires to make difficult things look simple and simple things look rich. Through this column, he seeks to inspire change for the better as every political, social and economic issue ultimately has constitutional law implications. He can be reached at prof.shad.saleem.faruqi@gmail.com. The views expressed here are entirely his own.

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US Fed tapering of bond purchases, a new economic boom or bust cycles?

Eco CrisisIs a new economic crisis at hand?

The two-day sell-off of currencies and shares of several developing countries last week raises the question of whether this is the start of a new financial crisis.

AT the end of last week, several developing countries saw sharp falls in their currency as well as stock market values, prompting the question of whether it is the start of a wider economic crisis.

The sell-off in emerging economies also spilled over to the American and European stock markets, thus causing global turmoil.

Malaysia was not among the most badly affected, but the ringgit also declined in line with the trend by 1.1% against the US dollar last week; it has fallen 1.7% so far this year.

An American market analyst termed it an “emerging market flu”, and several global media reports tend to focus on weaknesses in individual developing countries.

However, the across-the-board sell-off is a general response to the “tapering” of purchase of bonds by the US Federal Reserve, marking the slowdown of its easy-money policy that has been pumping billions of dollars into the banking system.

A lot of that was moved by investors into the emerging economies in search of higher yields. Now that the party is over (or at least winding down), the massive inflows of funds are slowing down or even stopping in some developing countries.

The current “emerging markets sell-off” is thus not explained by ad hoc events. It is a predictable and even inevitable part of a boom-bust cycle in capital flows to and from the developing countries, coming from the monetary policies of developed countries and the investment behaviour of their investment funds.

This cycle, which is very destabilising to the developing economies, has been facilitated by the deregulation of financial markets and the liberalisation of capital flows, which in the past was carefully regulated.

This prompted bouts of speculative international flows by investment funds. Emerging economies, having higher economic growth and interest rates, attracted investors.

Yilmaz Akyuz, chief economist at South Centre, analysed the most recent boom-bust cycles in his paper Waving or Drowning?

A boom of private capital flows to developing countries began in the early 2000 but ended with the flight to safety triggered by the Lehman collapse in September 2008.

The flows recovered quickly. By 2010-12, net flows to Asia and Latin America exceeded the peaks reached before the crisis. This was largely due to the easy-money policies and near zero interest rates in the United States and Europe.

In the United States, the Fed pumped US$85bil (RM283bil) a month into the banking system by buying bonds. It was hoped the banks would lend this to businesses to generate recovery, but investors placed much of the funds in stock markets and developing countries.

The surge in capital inflows led to a strong recovery in currency, equity and bond markets of major developing countries. Some of these countries welcomed the new capital inflows and boom in asset prices.

Others were angry that the inflows caused their currencies to appreciate (making their exports less competitive) and that the ultra-easy monetary policies of developed countries were part of a “currency war” to make the latter more competitive.

In 2013, capital inflows into developing countries weakened due to the European crisis and the prospect of the US Fed “tapering” or reducing its monthly bond purchases.

This weakening took place just as many of the emerging economies saw their current account deficits widen. Thus, their need for foreign capital increased just as inflows became weaker and unstable.

In May to June 2013, the Fed announced it could soon start “tapering”. This led to sudden sharp currency falls, including in India and Indonesia.

However, the Fed postponed the taper, giving some breathing space. In December, it finally announced the tapering — a reduction of its monthly bond purchase from US$85bil (RM283bil) to US$75bil (RM249bil), with more to come.

There was then no sudden sell-off in emerging economies, as the markets had already anticipated it and the Fed also announced that interest rates would be kept at current low levels until the end of 2015.

By now, however, the investment mood had already turned against the emerging economies. Many were now termed “fragile”, especially those with current account deficits and dependent on capital inflows.

Most of the so-called Fragile Five are in fact members of the BRICS, which had been viewed just a few years before as the most influential global growth drivers.

Several factors emerged last week, which together constituted a trigger for the sell-off. These were a “flash” report indicating contraction of manufacturing in China; a sudden fall in the Argentini­an peso; and expectations that a US Fed meeting on Jan 29 will announce another instalment of tapering.

For two days (Jan 23 and 24), the currencies and stock markets of several developing countries were in turmoil, which spilled over to the US and European stock markets.

If this situation continues this week, it may just signal a new phase of investor disenchantment with emerging economies, reduced capital inflows or even outflows. This could put strains on the affected countries’ foreign reserves and weaken their balance of payments.

The accompanying fall in currency would have positive effects on export competitiveness, but negative effects on accelerating inflation (as import prices go up) and debt servicing (as more local currency is needed to repay the same amount of debt denominated in foreign currency).

This week will thus be critical in seeing whether the situation deteriorates or stabilises, which may just happen if the Fed decides to discontinue tapering for now. Unfortunate­ly, the former is more likely.

Contributed by Global Trends  Martin Khor

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

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Fed Taper

Fed Slows Purchases While U.K. Growth Picks Up: Global Economy   

The global economic expansion is speeding up, data this week are projected to show. In the U.S., a gain in fourth-quarter gross domestic product probably completed the strongest six months of growth in almost two years for the world’s largest economy. The pickup combined with progress in the labor market means Federal Reserve policy makers meeting this week may ease up again on the monetary accelerator.

Across the Atlantic, the U.K. economy may have grown over the past 12 months by the most in almost six years, while in Germany, business confidence probably improved to the highest level since mid-2011.

This week also includes central bank meetings in Mexico and New Zealand. In Mexico, monetary officials may keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged as more government spending reduces the need for stimulus. Such a decision is less clear in New Zealand, where odds of an interest-rate increase have climbed.


– Gross domestic product advanced at a 3.2 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter as spending by American consumers climbed by the most in three years, economists forecast the Jan. 30 figures will show. Combined with a 4.1 percent inventory-fueled gain in the prior period, GDP in the second half of the year was the strongest since the six months ended March 2012.

– “A substantial acceleration in private sector demand led by stronger consumer spending and a significant pickup in exports after weakness through the first part of the year should drive a second straight quarter of near 4 percent real GDP growth even with an expected drag of 0.5 percentage point from federal government spending, largely reflecting lost work hours during the government shutdown,” Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley in New York, wrote in a Jan. 17 report.

– “The first cut of Q4 GDP will be more about the internals of the report than the headline,” economists at RBC Capital Markets LLC, led by Tom Porcelli, wrote in a research note. “While we look for a 2.8 percent annualized advance in top-line growth, the details should seem even brighter with real personal consumer consumption rising 4 percent. We anticipate that the inventory swing will hold growth back a full percentage point.”


– Ben S. Bernanke will chair his final meeting of Federal Reserve policy makers on Jan. 28-29 before handing over the reins of the world’s most powerful central bank to Janet Yellen. Bernanke and a different cast of regional Fed bank presidents who’ll vote on the Federal Open Market Committee are projected to reduce the pace of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities purchases by a total of $10 billion to $65 billion as the economy improves.

– “We expect the Fed to announce another $10 billion taper and possibly strengthen its guidance,” Michael Hanson, U.S. senior economist at Bank of America Corp., said in a research note. “The Yellen-led Fed will see numerous personnel changes in 2014, but we still expect a patient and very accommodative policy stance.”

– “The FOMC will likely upgrade its summary of current economic conditions in its policy statement,” BNP Paribas’ Julia Coronado, a former Fed Board economist, said in a research note. “The Q4 performance is expected to be driven by final demand, in particular a surge in consumer spending on goods and services. The January FOMC statement could acknowledge this better performance by stating that ‘economic growth picked up somewhat’ of late.

‘‘The confirmation of their long-held optimistic expectation for stronger economic growth and tranquil financial markets will likely lead the Committee to announce another ‘measured step’ in the tapering process. We expect another $10 billion cut in the pace of QE asset purchases.’’


– Britain will be the first Group of Seven nation to report gross domestic product for the fourth quarter when it releases the data on Jan. 28. Economists forecast growth of 0.7 percent, close to the 0.8 percent expansion in the prior three-month period. From a year earlier, GDP probably rose 2.8 percent, driven by domestic demand, which would be the best performance since the first three months of 2008.

– ‘‘To date, the recovery has been somewhat unbalanced, led by consumption, so we remain skeptical about the sustainability over the medium-term,’’ said Ross Walker, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London. ‘‘Still, there is clearly sufficient momentum in the short-term data to underpin trend-like rates of growth.’’ Walker sees the economy expanding 2.7 percent this year, just above the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 2.6 percent.


– German business confidence is heading for its highest reading in 2 1/2 years, underlining the strength in an economy that’s helping to power the euro-area recovery. Economists in a survey, set for release on Jan. 27, see the business climate index increasing to 110 in January from 109.5 last month. Germany will continue to outpace the euro area this year, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting 1.6 percent expansion, compared with 1 percent for the currency region.

– Thilo Heidrich, an economist at Deutsche Postbank AG in Bonn, said the ‘‘mood in the German economy is likely to have brightened at the start of the year.’’

– ‘‘The near-term outlook remains one of cautious optimism,’’ Bank of America economists including Laurence Boone said in a note. ‘‘Domestic demand, in particular, should support growth in coming years.’’


Japan’s trade deficit narrowed to 1.24 trillion yen ($12.1 billion) in December from a month earlier, even as import growth probably accelerated, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists before data due Jan. 27. A record run of monthly deficits shows the cost of the yen’s slide against the dollar and the extra energy imports needed because of the nuclear industry shutdown that followed a disaster in 2011.

– ‘‘Throughout the year, few manufacturers believed that the yen would stay weak, let alone depreciate further,” Frederic Neumann, Hong Kong-based co-head of Asian economics at HSBC Holdings Plc, said in a research report. “As a result, (dollar) prices charged for goods sold overseas were not cut amid fears that such a move would have to be reversed once the currency strengthened again, something that few firms like to do. All this meant nice profits for Japanese firms (higher yen earnings for their shipments) but no gain in export market shares.”


– Economists and markets are split on whether the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will increase the official cash rate for the first time in 3 1/2 years at its Jan. 30 meeting. Governor Graeme Wheeler said late last year the RBNZ will need to raise interest rates in 2014 as growth and inflation accelerate and unemployment declines. While only three of 15 economists predict Wheeler will lift the rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 percent this week, markets are pricing in an almost 70 percent chance he will do so.

– “The lists of reasons are long for both the ‘why wait’ and ‘why not’ sides of the fence,” Nick Tuffley, chief economist at ASB Bank Ltd. in Auckland, said in a research report. “The RBNZ can justify either outcome, and we put the chances of a rate hike as 1 in 4. That is to say, not our core view, but a significant risk.”


– Mexico’s central bank on Jan. 31 may keep the overnight interest rate unchanged at a record-low 3.5 percent in its first decision of 2014 as increased government spending stimulates the economy.

– “There’s no need to reduce the rate any more” after 0.25 percentage-point reductions in September and October, Marco Oviedo, chief Mexico economist at Barclays Plc, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “The economy has shown signs of recovery.”

– Policy makers have “sent the message that they’re comfortable with the current level of interest rates,” said Gabriel Lozano, chief Mexico economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. With sales tax increases fanning inflation, “real interest rates are temporarily negative, but the central bank will be confident this is a transitory situation that will correct in the second half of the year” as inflation slows.

Contributed by Vince Golle Bloomberg

An utterly unrepentant Japan opening up past wounds derail peace diplomacy

Abe_military uniformWhatever declarations Japanese leaders may make about the aims of their visits to the Yasukuni Shrine being only to honour their war dead, the acid test is whether victims of their past aggression believe them.

THE recent visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Yasukuni Shrine has provoked a very negative reaction in China and South Korea.

While less strident, other countries like the United States and Singapore also did not approve of the visit. The former expressed disappointment while the latter stated that it regretted the visit.

At the heart of the disapproval is the belief that such a visit indicates that Japan has not come to terms with its past of aggression in Asia. Many compare this unfavourably with Germany where it is very unlikely, if not inconceivable, that the highest German political leader will ever make a public visit to a shrine of Adolf Hitler or of any top Nazi leader.

How valid is this comparison?

It is first necessary to state that the issue is somewhat more complicated than a clear-cut case of an utterly unrepentant Japan and a completely contrite Germany. The Japanese public are deeply pacifist. While it is true that they have caused tremendous destruction in Asia, they themselves have been profoundly scarred by the atomic devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Moreover, there are many Japanese, parti­cularly those in the teachers’ unions, progressive intellectuals – especially from the older generation – and others, who are unequivocal in their condemnation of their country’s record in the Second World War.

Germany, for its part, did experience some neo-Nazi manifestations, especially in the eastern part of Germany just after reunification. And there was the controversy over the visit of President Reagan to a cemetery in Pitburgh in 1985 where some of Hitler’s Waffen SS were buried.

Helmut Kohl, then Chancellor, despite protests from many Jewish personalities, insisted that Reagan together with Kohl himself, not cave in to the protests. The Germans argued that many German cemeteries have buried SS officers. Moreover, many of these SS men were innocent young men forced to join the SS at a young age.

Such aside, it is nevertheless clear that in the main, the Germans have come to terms with their recent history. They have clearly acknowledged they did wrong under Hitler and have vowed not to resurrect the Third Reich.

They have, in addition to giving substantial reparations to their victims, made many convincing gestures of contrition, one of the most dramatic being that of the then Chancellor, Willi Brandt, going down on one knee in a monument in Poland in 1970 honouring the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising during the Nazi era.

The Japanese on their part are much more ambivalent. Their apologies have been hedged about by many qualifications, and often when made by one leader refuted by statements and actions of other leaders.
And, more dramatically, some of their highes­t political leaders have visited, and intend to continue visiting, the Yasukuni Shrine where many class one war criminals have been enshrined.

Whatever the declarations the Japanese may make about the aims of their visits to Yasukuni being only to honour their war dead, the acid test is whether their war victims believe them. In this, the Chinese and Koreans do not. On the other hand, the victims of the Germans do.

The most dramatic recent example is the plea by the Polish foreign minister in 2011 to the Germans to take leadership of a federal Europe!

One can hardly expect a Chinese or Korean leader to ask for Japanese leadership in Asian affairs!

There are three reasons why both differ in their approach to their recent history. One consists of what they actually, or believe they actually, did.

Amidst the horrors of war the Germans unleashed, they went on an extermination of Jews and other groups which could not be justified by the exigencies of war or by any other wrongs that others may have been inflicted on the Germans. Such an extermination was a clear-cut case of genocide.

Many Japanese, on their part, argued that they committed no such genocide in Asia, and what atrocities Japanese soldiers committed were not a result of policy but of the stress of war. Moreover, in their colonial conquests, they were only following the examples of the Western colonial powers. In some places like South-East Asia, they helped their liberation movements.

While there is some degree of truth in the Japanese argument, some heinous crimes such as the human experimentation by their notorious Japanese Unit 731 and the testing of bacteriological warfare in parts of China cannot easily be justified as due to the strains of war.

While the Western comparison over colonial conquests may seem valid, it cuts no ice with those countries colonised, like Korea and China.

In fairness, some Japanese scholars acknowledge that whatever the Western example, they were wrong in colonising these two countries. Hopefully, such acknowledgement can be one basis for reconciliation between Japan and their Northeast Asian neighbours.

The second reason, somewhat related to the first, is the lack of a regional grouping the Japanese could identify with or be a member of. Germany had a regional organisation, the European community, they could, if not subordinate themselves to its regional aims, use as the focus of their attempt not to repeat their past.

In the words of one of the greatest 20th century German intellectuals, Thomas Mann, Germany should strive for a European Germany, not a German Europe. Asia is too diverse, culturally and economically, and still filled with bitter war memories, for Japan to identify with.

Third, the de-Nazification campaign in Germany was quite thorough. Few Germans, if any, with Nazi connections were allowed to occupy significant governmental and private posts in post-war Germany.

Japan was different. While in the initial stages, the Americans, who basically dominated Allied policy (there was more non-American input in running post-war Germany), intended to purge Japan of those involved in Japanese aggression in Asia, they subsequently relented by allowing many to assume positions of influence in a post-war Japan. (Abe’s maternal grandfather Nobusuke Kishi who was Prime Minister in the 1950s was one of them.)

The US needed an anti-communist, strong Japan against communism in Asia, especially China. It is thus difficult for post-war Japanese governments consisting of many who committed aggression in Asia and who could have influenced their successors to acknowledge they did wrong.

It would now seem that those inclined to the denial that Japan committed aggression are gaining momentum in Japan. It would be a sad day for Japan and for Asia that a Japan which had made a lot of headway in its peace diplomacy after the war would have that peaceful image destroyed by becoming clearly unrepentant about its past.

- Contributed by Lee Poh Ping, a Senior Research Fellow, Institute of China Studies at Universiti Malaya.


Dialogue 07/25/2013 Shinzo Abe revisits Southeast Asia CCTV News …

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Dr. Lee Poh Ping, Senior Research Fellow, Inst. of China Studies, University of Malaya

Dialogue 07/25/2013 Shinzo Abe revisits Southeast Asia CCTV News – CNTV English

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China slams Japan PM Abe’s speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos implication: the Nazis Hitler’s DNA of the East?

Abe_eye military

Watch Video: China: Abe´s Britain-Germany comparison inappropriate CCTV News – CNTV English

Watch Full video: Chinese FM Wang Yi addresses World Economic Forum CCTV News – CNTV English

China Thursday refuted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent appeal for more transparency in China’s military budget, stating that it is Japan that should increase transparency and explain its own military buildup.

“China’s defense policy is transparent and has been published in its white papers and on other occasions,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang on Thursday told a regular press briefing in response to Abe’s speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a day earlier.

“We must … restrain military expansion in Asia, which could otherwise go unchecked,” Abe told the annual meeting of global business and political leaders, following his government’s custom of not naming China in such references.

In response, Qin urged Japan to explain to Asia and the international community the real purpose of amending its pacifist constitution, which has been in existence since 1947. The Abe government has been trying to revise it so as to greenlight the expansion of Japan’s military forces.

In December, Abe’s cabinet approved a critical defense policy package comprising new defense program guidelines, a five-year defense buildup plan and the national security strategy. Japan vowed to seek more “proactive” roles for its military forces abroad and to set new guidelines on arms exports, signaling a major shift from its previous restrictive stance.

“Abe tends to depict China as a threat at whatever occasion he attends. His purpose is to worsen Sino-Japan relations and damage China’s image in the international community, as well as tear apart economic development in the Asia-Pacific region,” Lü Yaodong, a research fellow of Japanese politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

During the Davos speech, Abe also called for dispute resolution through “dialogue and the rule of law, and not through force and coercion.”

Qin said that Japan cannot on one hand refuse to admit mistakes and continue to denigrate China, and on the other hand indulge in empty rhetoric to advocate dialogue, as it is the Japanese leader that is shutting the door to dialogue.

Liu Jiangyong, a vice director of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, said it is inappropriate for Abe to cast blame for political issues at an economic forum.

“Abe is trying to distract people’s attention by claiming it is others’ fault,” Liu told the Global Times.

Abe also defended his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, saying that the shrine honors the dead of World War I and the 1868 Meiji war, not just war criminals or others who died in World War II.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is currently attending the international conference on Syria in Montreux, Switzerland, described Abe’s argument as futile, which only serves to expose Abe’s erroneous perception of history.

Even today, the Yasukuni Shrine still represents the notion that the aggression of Japan in World War II was “just,” the Pacific War Japan launched was “self-defense” and the trial at the Far East International Military Tribunal was “illegitimate,” as well as honoring 14 Class-A war criminals, Wang noted.

South Korea Thursday also said that it is a complete contradiction to talk about forging friendly ties while continuing visits to the shrine.

Liu said Abe is unlikely to change his stance even though he sensed the pressure and isolation from the international community.

“His explanation reveals that he doesn’t think he’s wrong and he would do it again,” Liu said.

Tensions between China and Japan have been rising since Tokyo announced in September 2012 the “nationalization” of the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Chinese air force planes have been regularly patrolling the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which covers the Diaoyu Islands, air force spokesman Shen Jinke said Thursday.

On a recent patrol, multiple Chinese aircraft were sent to “monitor, identify, track and warn” multiple foreign military planes that had entered the ADIZ, established two months ago, Shen added.

By Zhang Yiwei Global Times

China, Japan open German front in diplomatic war

BEIJING (Jan 25, 2014): One hundred years after the outbreak of World War I, China and Japan are ripping selected pages from Germany’s history — including the Nazi period — as they seek to demonise each other in their modern-day diplomatic battles.

Beijing’s state-controlled media have compared Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Adolf Hitler, using shrill rhetoric that analysts say exploits Tokyo’s mixed messages about its past aggression in China and elsewhere.

At the same time, they urge him to emulate Germany’s post-war contrition for the evils of Nazism.

Abe, for his part, has raised the spectre of 1914, saying at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that relations between Japan and China resemble those of Britain and Germany as they stumbled towards war.

Tokyo and Beijing are locked in an increasingly acrimonious row over small, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that Japan controls but China regards as its territory, with their militaries warily eyeing each other.

Commentators have likened China, a rising power, to Germany in the early 20th century and portrayed the islands as Sarajevo, site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that triggered the Great War.

In Davos, Abe pointed out that war broke out in 1914 despite strong economic relations between Germany and Britain.

“I think we are in a similar situation. We don’t want an inadvertent conflict arising between these two countries,” he told reporters.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang roundly rejected the simile Thursday.

“Actually in history China was already a major country in the Tang and Song dynasties (from the seventh to the 13th centuries), so there is no so-called ‘China is becoming a major country’,” he said.

“There is no need to make an issue of the Britain-Germany relationship.”

Hitler’s DNA

Chinese officials have lashed out at Abe since his December 26 visit to the hugely controversial Yasukuni shrine, which honours 2.5 million Japanese war dead including 14 senior war criminals described by Qin as “the Nazis of the East”.

The shrine is seen in China and South Korea as a symbol of Japan’s 20th century military and colonial aggression which saw the country occupy a large swathe of East Asia, often to brutal effect on civilians and prisoners of war.

In what analysts see as crude propaganda, the overseas edition of the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily headlined an article “Hitler’s DNA in Abe”, illustrated with a mock-up of Japan’s leader gazing up at the Fuhrer.

The Global Times tabloid, in its English edition, this week carried a cartoon of Japan’s national flag with the sun symbol in the centre dripping blood and a swastika imposed.

“You could say it’s propaganda,” Torsten Weber, an expert in modern East Asian history at the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo, told AFP.

“It is a way to distort history and it’s also a way to distract attention from more pressing problems that, for example, China faces.”

Chinese media have also tried to compare Abe unfavourably with how Germany faced up to Nazi atrocities.

The official Xinhua news agency urged him to follow the example of West German chancellor Willy Brandt, who fell to his knees at a monument to victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising — a brutally crushed 1943 revolt by Jews in the Polish capital facing deportation to the Nazi death camps.


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Diaoyu islands activist makes a splash

A mainlander who tried to fly a hot-air balloon hundreds of kilometers to the disputed Diaoyu Islands was rescued by Japan’s coast guard after ditching in the sea.

Diaoyu activistXu Shuaijun, 35, took off from Fujian province on Wednesday morning in an attempt to land on one of the Tokyo- controlled islands, a Japan coast guard official said.

It was an ambitious goal – hot-air balloons travel largely at the mercy of the wind, and the islands are tiny specks in the East China Sea 359 kilometers away from the take-off point.

Xu sent a request for help several hours into his flight and ditched in the sea, with a Japanese rescue helicopter picking him up 22 kilometers south of his goal.

Xu, who was unhurt, was handed over to a Chinese patrol ship outside Japanese territorial waters. Photos distributed by the Japan coast guard showed a striped, multicolored balloon drifting half-deflated.

On his verified account on Weibo, Xu posted a short message declaring that he had been returned safely to Fuqing city in Fujian.

“I have returned safely,” he wrote. “Thanks everyone for your concern.”

His supporters wrote back with words of support, with many declaring him a “hero” who had done well even if he had fallen short of his target.

“So awesome!” one user wrote. “What innovative thinking and action!”

“It’s enough that you came back safely,” wrote another. “Brother Xu, your countrymen are proud of your pioneering act!”

Xu did not post any further details on his voyage but in two September microblog postings, he excitedly made note of his plans. 

In one, he shared a photo of a red Chinese flag with islands in the background.

“I got some expert advice today and am now full of meteorological knowledge! I’m flying to the Diaoyu Islands! Be Chinese with attitude.”

In another, he posted what appeared to be a map of his planned route, with a bright yellow line drawn between the Fujian coast and the islands.

He declared the mission “the most difficult in the history of hot-air balloon flight.”


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Japan Prime Minister Abe’s Yasukuni visit deals blow to Japanese-US ties

Abe-US.pgIllustration: Liu Rui/GT

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s shameful visit to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday strikes a serious blow against US-Japan relations. The visit was completely unnecessary and directly flouted friendly and constructive advice from the Obama administration. Americans should view the present Cold War era alliance with Japan as not only unnecessary but in fact counterproductive given the trend of rising militarism in Japan.

Often people in the US and in Europe perceive that WWII started in Europe with Hitler’s attack on Poland in 1939. But the fact is that the road to WWII started with the Japanese invasion of China in September 1931.

Then 10 years later, the Japanese treacherously attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Americans will never forget this day of infamy and betrayal.

Abe’s visit to the notorious shrine is a direct affront to US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden who both have worked hard to calm tensions over issues in the East China Sea. Just recently, Biden on his visit to the region encouraged the creation of joint Sino-Japanese mechanisms for crisis management.

Obama and Biden are doing their best to respond to a changing world and to the emerging multipolar international system. They have been acting in good faith toward Japan on the basis that Japan is believed to be a friend.

The American people have not held a grudge against Japan about WWII. But the increasing militarism and unacceptable behavior of leaders such as Abe may well bring back memories of WWII and cause perspectives to change.

My godfather served in the US Navy during WWII. He fought in the Pacific. I remember as a child in the 1950s hearing about his participation in the Battle of the Coral Sea. He returned home after the war and lived out his days in San Diego, California. I still have some letters he wrote to my late parents during the war.

A cousin of my father was not so fortunate. He did not return from his duty in the navy in the Pacific as he died from a kamikaze attack against his ship.

There was never once that I recall a negative word about Japan or the Japanese in my family’s household. The war was over and that was that. Soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen on both sides had done their duty for their respective countries. Time to move on, was the feeling Americans had.

This generous attitude of many in the older generation of Americans can change as Americans of the present generation and future generations reflect on WWII. The insulting behavior of Japanese politicians such as Abe, combined with Japan’s trend toward militarization and extremism, may well open eyes and dispense with a heretofore “polite” attitude. The world has seen the results of such trends before.  American opinion, if betrayed, turns rapidly.

Has Japan ever really sincerely apologized for WWII? Germany so apologized and the memory of Nazi horrors is seared into German consciousness. It has consistently demonstrated its good faith through its economic integration in Western Europe and through its constructive and peaceful foreign policy.

Abe’s shameful behavior shows Japan’s official attitude for the entire world to see. He is the prime minister of Japan. He is not a private citizen making a personal religious commemoration for spirits of the war dead.

Washington must reflect carefully on its national strategy and the Asia-Pacific component. So far, the unimaginative policy has been to continue the Cold War alliance structure and to revamp US relations with the region on the basis of increased military power projection to encircle a rising China.

The Abe shrine visit should be a clear warning to Washington that this strategy is deeply flawed and not sustainable.  The US alliance with Japan and Japan’s rising militarism may well prove fatally counterproductive.

Contributed by Clifford A. Kiracofe

The author is an educator and former senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn
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Yasukuni glorifies Japan’s inglorious past

Yasukuni_Shrine Japanese Ghost: Yasukuni Shrine

In the field of diplomacy, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could be better described as “Downturn Abe”.

His visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is a calculated rebuff to those in Japan who seek better diplomatic relations and warms the hearts of those who want Japan to be a major military power and jettison any constitutional restraints preventing this.

The Yasukuni Shrine does not serve the same purpose as Arlington National Cemetery in the United States, or the Cenotaph in the United Kingdom. No bodies are buried at Yasukuni Shrine. Japan’s head of state refuses to visit. Indeed, no emperor has set foot inside the shrine since 1975, three years before the souls of war criminals were interred there by Shinto priests. News of the enshrinement was kept quiet for months.

The late emperor Hirohito refused to go there after convicted war criminals, seven of whom were hanged, were secretly enshrined in 1978, joining about 2.5 million other Japanese who died in battle in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Hirohito had paid his respects at Yasukuni eight times after the war but made his final visit in 1975 by which time, according to palace documents, he became disillusioned with the way the shrine was being managed and what it was trying to represent.

His son, Emperor Akihito, has never visited.

Japan does have a national cemetery, with the remains of the war dead, in Chidorigafuchi, just up the road from Yasukuni. Few politicians visit.

Yasukuni has a specific role: It pays homage to, and celebrates, unapologetic militarism. This piece of Tokyo real estate, close to the Imperial Palace, with its broad avenue lined by cherry blossom trees, is considered holy ground by extreme nationalists.

It is a shrine dedicated to glorifying war, empire and unrepentant militarism.

It is a privately run shrine that enjoys the close patronage of the Japan Association of War Bereaved. The association has, and continues to enjoy, close ties to the governing Liberal Democratic Party.

The Yushukan museum, attached to the shrine, is a land of make-believe for militarists. It claims that Japan was forced into war by the US, and that Tokyo waged an honorable campaign to free Asia from white European colonialism. This time frame, conveniently, leaves out the rapacious behavior of Japanese troops in China before Pearl Harbor.

A Zero fighter aircraft greets visitors at the museum’s entrance. No mention is made of the Nanjing Massacre or the razing of Manila. A giant mural depicts the Battle of Tokyo Bay. No battle ever took place.

During World War II, a ballad popular with Japanese troops heading off to fight had the following refrain: “You and I are cherry blossoms of the same year. Even if we’re far apart when our petals fall, we’ll bloom again in the treetops of Yasukuni Shrine.”

Abe is nurturing the roots of those cherry blossom trees.

By Tom Clifford, a senior copy editor of China Daily USA


Images for Yasukuni war shrine
 - Report images

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China keeps an eye on Abe as Japan PM seeks to rally support from Asean

Japanese PM Abe_Asean Japanese PM Shinzo Abe BEIJING: The Chinese media kept a close eye on Tokyo as leaders from Asean countries gathered in Japan for the Japan-Asean Summit.

The three-day summit, which marks 40 years of ties between Japan and Asean, was seen as an opportunity for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to rally support against China.

In the latest episode of China-Japan feud, China has declared a new air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea, which overlapped the territory claimed by South Korea and Japan.

As expected, Abe brought up the restriction on freedom of flight during the summit in an indirect reference to China’s air defence zone.

A Japanese official reportedly quoted him as telling the Asean leaders that “moves to unilaterally change the status quo, moves to put restrictions on the international aviation order, which is built on freedom of flight, are strong concerns”.

Under the aircraft identification rules which came into effect on Nov 23, all foreign aircraft intending to enter the zone have to report their flight plans to the Chinese authority and adhere to relevant instructions once they enter the zone.

The Chinese officials reserve the rights to adopt defensive emergency measures when aircraft fail to abide by the identification rules or obey the instructions.

State news agency Xinhua said Japan’s inclusion of air zone safety as a key security issue in the summit was a move to “plant a poisonous thorn”.

In a commentary, it said Abe’s frequent visits to nations in the Asean regional bloc in the past one year aimed at roping in the countries to rein in China.

It criticised Japan of using the East China Sea and South China Sea territorial issues to cause chaos and discord within Asean and to undermine the relationship between Asean and its partners.

Global Times was in the opinion that Japan would not succeed in its bid to get Asean to confront China.

“No matter how Tokyo creates waves, it will not gain a strategic advantage over China in South-East Asia.

“No countries will confront China for the sake of a declining Japan. Even the US, Japan’s patron, has to maintain relations with China while keeping its support to Japan,” it wrote.

During the summit, Japan has promised ¥2 trillion (RM62.7bil) of loans and grants to the region over five years. The pledge was interpreted as an attempt to increase its influence.

Tang Chunfeng, an expert on Japanese issues in the Research Institute of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, told the Chinese version of Global Times that Asean countries viewed Japan as the “God of Prosperity” who is willing to give them money.

“They are reluctant to offend Japan, but at the same time, they will not let China bear a grudge against them. They are only using Japan.”

Tsinghua University’s Institute of Modern International Relations deputy director Liu Yongjiang added that Asean would not take sides in this issue.

“Most Asean countries want the region to develop in a stable and peaceful environment, but Japan is constantly causing trouble.

“It will worry the Asean countries and even lead to dissatisfaction,” he said.

Commenting on Abe’s remarks to gather support from the Asean countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said China is aware of the relevant reports.

“We believe that countries should not target a third party or undermine the interests of the third party when developing ties with each other.

“They should instead make efforts to maintain regional peace and stability,” he said in a press conference on Friday, the transcript of which was available on the ministry’s website.

Contributed by Tho Xin Yi The Star/Asia News Network


Don’t make waves on China’s ADIZ

If Tokyo truly seeks a peaceful and secure Asia-Pacific, then it is in its own interests to call off provocative moves over China’s establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

According to a recent news report, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is going to stage again its China-is-to-blame game at the summit of Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

It is also reported that Abe seeks to drag the ASEAN members into an agreement to counter Beijing in searching for “maritime and air security.”

While, for the record, it is believed that anyone with only half a brain knows that it is Japan who intentionally set the region on fire in the first place.

Following its provocative purchase of China’s Diaoyu Islands, Japan has wasted no time in trumpeting up the China-threat theory, and deliberately paints itself a victim of Beijing’s development, which is in fact invigorating regional and global economic recovery.

Instead of chilling down the flaring regional tension of its own making and ending the decades-long economic stagnation, the cunning Abe administration has labored to drive wedges between China and its regional partners and neighbors.

Many might wonder why Japan chooses to bury its relations with China half dead over building up mutually beneficial partnership with Beijing, which would mean greater business and trade opportunities?

While, the truth is, Mr. Abe and his government have done their own calculations, but only with a flaw that could backfire.

For decades, an economically-strong Japan has attempted strenuously to return itself to the ranks of a “normal country,” and become an influential power by shaking off military expansion yokes forged by the pacifist constitution in the wake of Japan’s defeat in the Second World War.

To that end, a number of Japanese administrations have been expanding its military powers, buying votes for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and denying its history of aggression.

The smarty-pants right-wing Japanese politicians also believed that their ambitions for the comeback of their hegemonic role in the region would be categorically concealed as long as it can promote China’s growth a threat to the US national interests, and safety and security of other regional countries.

In fact, Tokyo has made so big a mistake that its inflammatory moves have already efficiently worried or enraged many of its neighbors. It seems to have forgotten that a constructive relationship with countries around it is the first step toward the final destination of a normal country.

If keep missing that point, Japan, which can never move out of Asia, can now kiss good-bye to its “big dreams.”

Against the backdrop of world peace and global integration, China welcomes closer ties between Japan and ASEAN, and Tokyo’s active participation in the regional integration process. However, Japan should never jeopardize China’s interests and relations with any other third party.

As for China’s establishment of ADIZ, it is just, reasonable and complies with international practices, and Beijing’s normal growth of national defense capacity does not pose a threat to any country.

Beijing always advocates resolving territorial and maritime disputes through dialogue, yet it will never allow any country to infringe upon its territorial sovereignty.

Therefore, if history is too embarrassed for politicians in Tokyo to face, they should at least face the facts on the ground and start to pursue its national agenda in a rational manner. – Xinhua

Abe targets China at Asean Summit  

 China is expected to top the agenda at this weekend’s summit between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as Tokyo seeks a united front against China’s newly established Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and aims to restore its influence in Southeast Asia.

The Japan-ASEAN summit in Tokyo, starting Friday, is held to commemorate Japan’s 40-year ties with the group.

It comes after China’s setting up of the ADIZ over the East China Sea and amid speculation that a similar zone would be imposed over the South China Sea, where several ASEAN countries are locked in territorial disputes with Beijing.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wasted no time in seeking support from ASEAN countries.

During a meeting with visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday, Abe reiterated his criticism of China’s ADIZ. According to Japan’s Kyodo News, Najib expressed his understanding of Japan’s protest.

A draft statement for the leaders “stresses the importance of freedom of flight through airspace over the high seas, as recognized by international law,” Kyodo reported last week. The document reportedly does not single out China.

“Abe intends to defame China and pile up international censure on Beijing,” Gao Hong, a deputy director with the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Acedemy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times, but noted it is doomed to failure.

Citing the fact that even the US didn’t stand up to demand a revoke of the zone as Japan had wished, Gao said it is unimaginable that ASEAN, who have benefited from China’s good neighborly diplomacy, would act in accordance with Tokyo’s will.

Zhang Yunling, director of the Institute for International Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that while ASEAN is counting on Japan to counterbalance a rising China, they wouldn’t accept statements that explicitly criticize Beijing.

Responding to the Japan-ASEAN summit, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei on Thursday said that China hopes relevant countries will not target a third party and harm the interests of the third party.

The summit is the second of its kind between Japan and ASEAN. Zhang said, compared to the first summit held in 2003, this year’s summit also eyes competing with China over influence in Southeast Asia.

While Japan used to hold a big sway in the region, China has surpassed it in recent years and is ASEAN’s largest trade partner.

In a bid to restore Japan’s influence, Abe has visited all 10 ASEAN members  since taking office a year ago, bringing a raft of business deals and aid to the region, while pushing for joint action to “maintain regional peace.”

Abe plans to announce at the summit this weekend that Japan will extend 320 billion yen ($3.1 billion) worth of aid to boost disaster prevention and cultural exchange with ASEAN, Kyodo reported on Thursday.

On the sidelines of the summit, Cambodia and Japan are expected to sign four deals including defense cooperation and Japanese assistance for Cambodian road and hospital development.

Reuters reported that Japan is also going to pledge a post-typhoon loan to the Philippines of some 10 billion yen.

Hu Lingyuan, a professor with the Center for Japanese Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times that Southeast Asia is only second to the US in Japan’s diplomatic priorities.

“In recent years, Japan has been using territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea to draw Vietnam and the Philippines to its side. It is also helping the US to lower China’s influence in Myanmar,” Hu said, noting the aim is to exert political pressure against China and reap economic benefits.

Although dwarfed by China in trade, Japan has more investment in and contributes more aid to ASEAN, Zhang said, noting “therefore ASEAN countries are willing to maintain close ties with Japan and use the rift between Tokyo and Beijing to maximize their own gains.”

Sidebar: Abe’s 10-country tour of 2013

January 16, Vietnam

The two countries reached economic and security agreements. Japan will provide $500 million in new loans.

January 17, Thailand

The two countries agreed to strengthen economic and security cooperation.

January 18, Indonesia

The two countries discussed economic and security issues, including the East China Sea.

May 24-26, Myanmar

Japan endorsed Myanmar’s reform program by writing off nearly $2 billion in debt and extending new aid worth $400 million.

July 25, Malaysia,

The two agreed to cooperate in high technology such as high-speed rail, water and waste treatment. They will also collaborate in finance and security in the Malacca Strait.

July 26, Singapore

Abe said he intends to promote “strategic diplomacy” in the region, particularly with an eye to strengthening ties and its economic partnership with ASEAN.

July 27, Philippines

Japan agreed to provide 10 patrol boats for its coast guard to help counter recent maritime advances by China.

October 9, Brunei

At the 16th ASEAN-Japan summit in Brunei, Abe called for security cooperation with Asia-Pacific nations “with which we share fundamental values.”

November 15, Cambodia

Japan offers support in investment, democratic reform and health, while promoting it will “proactively contribute to the regional peace and stability.”

November 16, Laos

The two decided to seek the launch of a security dialogue framework. Japan agreed to provide infrastructure and medical aid.

By Yang Jingjie – Global Times


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