Saturday, April 23, 2005

Many Asian nations want official apology from Japan

Japan sent mixed signals in Bandung to China, with
Koizumi offering a “heartfelt apology� for the nation's
World War II aggressions but with Japanese lawmakers
blunting that message with a visit to a war shrine
critics say glorifies Tokyo’s militaristic past, the

Massive anti-Japanese protests erupted in major Chinese
cities in April after Tokyo approved a new history
textbook that critics say plays down wartime Japanese
offenses, including mass sex slavery and germ warfare.
The protesters also have targeted Tokyo’s Security
Council bid. “Japan squarely faces these facts of
history in a spirit of humility,� a Chinese spokesman

Koizumi’s choice of showing contrition at an
international forum overseas put him squarely before
many former victims of Japan’s atrocities, which include
mass sex slavery and germ warfare.

However, Koizumi’s remarks were a far cry from what many
Asian nations have long clamored for: a strongly worded
official statement of apology endorsed by Parliament.

Rhetoric alone appears unlikely to smooth over Tokyo’s
rift with Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said “60
years of history has caused great harm to China and

“That ... Koizumi expressed this attitude in this arena
is welcome. We welcome it,� Kong told reporters at a
summit of Asian and African leaders in Jakarta. “But to
express it is one aspect. What’s of much more
importance is the action. You have to make it a
reality.� He said Japan had to do more to “face up to

Now :

Follow up of the China Japan rivalry with these comments
of the Japanese ministry of Foreign Affairs I got from the
MOFA Spokesman Takashima san.


Q: When you mention effort on your part, is there any
process that we can talk about after the anti-Japanese
demonstrations in China and the Republic of Korea? As
one problem leads to new problems, there is a tendency
to appreciate now the question of history, for example,
the history textbooks in Japan. When you talk about
effort, do you mean that you are going to emphasize the
revision of those textbooks?

Mr. Takashima: Actually, Foreign Minister Machimura
proposed to initiate something along the lines of a
joint study of history between Japan and China. In
response, the Chinese Foreign Minister said that China
would make a consideration on its own in a positive
manner. We hope that this kind of joint study will be

In addition, when Foreign Minister Machimura met with
State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan the following day, they
discussed the issue of textbooks and they agreed that a
study would be done in both countries on each other's
textbooks and we would make an effort to improve the
content of the textbook, if necessary.

It is not the matter of making a request and getting a
response between our two countries, but it should be
done domestically by each other's own will. In order to
create a better understanding between our two countries,
many efforts will be made through this kind of attempts.
The Japanese and Chinese sides also agreed to set up a
fund for cultural exchange as soon as possible, possibly
by the end of this year. This will also constitute a
further attempt for the betterment of the relations and
resolving the issue of various things, including

Question concerning creation of an East Asian Community

Q: Does the current situation in East Asia affect the
process of organizing in Kuala Lumpur in December this
year the East Asian Community (EAC) Summit? Are there
any ramifications or changes in your preparation for
this Summit?

Mr. Takashima: Japan and China have been enjoying very
good friendly relations in the past 2,000 years or more
with the exception of a very short period of time, 30 to
50 years, in conjunction with World War II. Since the
end of World War II, we have been enjoying again very
friendly and cordial relations.

Based upon this development of strong and friendly
relations, Japan, China, the Republic of Korea and
countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) started discussing the creation of the EAC. This
is a kind of forum or framework which is envisaged for
the not too distant future of East Asia. We will take
strides toward that direction and we hope that the
current row between our two countries will not affect
this kind of important work for the creation of a

Q: So you will attend in December this Summit?

Mr. Takashima: Yes, of course.

end of quotes

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Historical Issues in Japanese Diplomacy Toward Neighboring Countries

Here is what Shuji Shimokoji 2002-2003 Fellow
Weatherhead Center for International Affairs,
Harvard University wrote May 2003:

Quotes :



Issues and Responses for the Future

As the above analysis has revealed, the problems of the
past or historical issues� between Japan and its Asian
neighbors had been considered resolved in the 1970s but
were rekindled in the 1980s and have burst forth
periodically since then. Diverging views on the means by
which World War II should be ended lie in the background
of this problem. Japan sought approval for settling the
war by legalistic, traditional means that were ordinary
at the time.

The Japanese people accepted the government methods as
ordinary and believed that it would be accepted
internationally as well. However, in the 1980s,
unexpected incidents led the problem to surface, and
Japan was criticized internationally for not having
settled its past. However, Japanese domestic political
forces were clearly instrumental in amplifying these
voices, also complicating the problem in terms of
domestic politics and making it difficult to resolve.

As problems of the past develop, controversies deepen,
and even the methods by which the past was settled come
under question. This can be seen in the individual
reparations claims by so-called comfort women, and the
issue of forced labor during World War II that has
become a major problem in recent years. With the spread
of human rights and an increasing tendency to review
problems of the past with today human rights
sensibilities, this problem has become even more complex
to solve practically, as it encompasses a whole range of
issues. Practically, to solve a complex problem, the
proliferation of points of contention needs to be
prevented. From this point of view, it seems we have no
choice but to use our current sensibilities to resolve
problems stemming from World War II. In this sense, any
problems left unresolved should be settled as soon as

To resolve problems of some complexity, the solution
cannot help but be vague on some points. In particular,
for problems of the past, to prove anything obviously
becomes difficult as time passes, to review once again
matters that have already been settled threatens legal
stability, and to unnecessarily complicate problems can
only be termed unproductive behavior. I believe some
tolerance is necessary toward vagueness in solutions to
problems of the past.

Bibliography Awaya, Kentaro. War Responsibilities,
Postwar Responsibilities [Senso sekinin, sengo sekinin].
Asahi Sensho 1994. Buruma, Ian. The Wages of Guilt. New
York: Meridian, 1995. Furukawa, Mantaro. Sino-Japanese
Relations after World War II [Nicchu sengo kankeishi].
Hara Shobo 1988. Kisa, Yoshio. What Is War
Responsibility? [Senso sekinin� towa nanika] Chuko
Shinsho 2001. Liu, Deyou. Tokiwa Nagarete. vol. 2.
Fujiwara Shoten 2002. Tanaka, Nobuhisa. Postwar History
of Yasukuni [Yasukuni no sengoshi]. Iwanami Shinsho

end of quotes

It won't make it with "Neighboring Countries... "

China insists Japan to blame, Japan denies 'direct' apology to Beijing?!!

Japan denied Monday that Foreign Minister Nobutaka
Machimura used direct words of apology for Japan's
wartime aggression when he met with Chinese counterpart
Li Zhaoxing over the weekend.

According to Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi,
Machimura told Li that Japan's stance on its wartime
history remains unchanged, referring to a 1995 statement
issued by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama offering
Japan's "heartfelt apologies" over its past aggression
in China.

Now, what about the 1995 Prime Minister Murayama

Clarification on the apologies of Prime minister
Murayama 1995, June 9th, "the resolution was drastically
watered down by the prime minister's conservative
coalition partners, most notably the Liberal Democratic
Party" John Dower writes.


First : the Gaimusho (MOFA) statement April 15th 2005,
Second: Analysis by John Dower, Massachusetts Institute
of Technology

Quotes :

1) Questions concerning 1995 Statement by former Prime
Minister Tomiichi Murayama

Q: You said in your statement that there were few texts
and treaties signed in the past to confirm the good
relations between Japan and China. You specifically
mentioned a statement made by Prime Minister Murayama in
1995. That was a statement by the Government. It was not
at all something voted upon at the Parliament. Was there
any legal work made in the Parliament to adopt such a

Mr. Takashima: There was the resolution adopted by the
National Diet.

Q: Right, but my question is, if I could rephrase it,
was it just a Prime Minister's statement? And was it
reviewed by Parliament?

Mr. Takashima: It was a statement issued by then Prime
Minister Murayama. It is not the only statement we have
issued. On various occasions, we have expressed our deep
remorse and deep regret as well as expressed our sincere
apology for the damage inflicted by the acts of Japan,
especially in Asian countries by colonization or
aggression or invasion.

Q: Do you think it is time that the Parliament make up a
resolution in remorse?

Mr. Takashima: The House of Representatives passed the
resolution to learn from the lessons of history and
renew the resolve towards peace on 9 June, 1995.

2) Japan Addresses Its War Responsibility.

John W. Dower is professor of history and Henry Luce
professor of international cooperation at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"In Japan as in the United States, the 50th anniversary
of World War II in Asia has provoked highly emotional
political and ideological debates. For the American
public, this surfaced most conspicuously in a bitter
controversy over how the Smithsonian Institution's Air
and Space Museum should commemorate the use of atomic
bombs and end of the Pacific War. The Japanese
counterpart to this controversy focused on the
government's appropriate political response to a
horrendous conflict for which, in the eyes of the rest
of the world, Imperial Japan bore immense

Contrary to much media commentary in the United States,
the issue of Japanese "war responsibility" has been
quite widely debated within Japan itself for many years.
These debates intensified following the death of Emperor
Hirohito in 1989, and came to a head in June of this
year with the passage by the lower house of the Diet
(Japan's bicameral parliament) of a resolution
expressing "deep remorse" for Japan's wartime actions.
International and domestic criticism of this
conspicuously qualified resolution was partially
meliorated by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama's
statement of August 15, in which he expressed his
"heartfelt apology" for the damage and suffering caused
by Imperial Japan. The documents that follow here convey
a sense of the gamut of positions taken on this divisive
and volatile issue.

Document 1 is the Diet's own "unofficial" translation of
the resolution passed in the House of Representatives,
amidst great discord, on June 9. This transparently
compromised statement reflects the politically polyglot
nature of the coalition government presiding over Japan.
Originally introduced as a relatively strong apology for
Japan's wartime transgressions by the Social Democratic
Party to which Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama belongs,
the resolution was drastically watered down by the prime
minister's conservative coalition partners, most notably
the Liberal Democratic Party that governed Japan from
1955 to 1993.

The final vote on the resolution in the lower house
amply suggests the political tumult that has accompanied
this issue. Of 502 representatives (nine seats in the
House are presently vacant), only 251 actually
participated in the vote, of whom 230 supported the
resolution. Opposition votes included fourteen members
of the Japan Communist Party, who desired a much
stronger statement of Japan's war responsibility. Some
241 members of the House abstained from voting,
including 70 representatives who were affiliated with
one of the three parties in the shaky ruling coalition
cabinet that sponsored the resolution. Over 50 of these
dissenting coalition members belonged to the
conservative Liberal Democratic Party; they felt that
the resolution still went too far. On the other hand,
fourteen Socialists abstained on the grounds that it did
not go far enough. The greatest number of abstaining
representatives (141) belonged to the Shinshinto (New
Frontier Party), at least some of whose members desired
a stronger statement. A few members of the House were
not present for reasons having nothing to do with the
resolution per se.

The resolution as passed contains several conspicuous
features. Japanese colonialism and aggression is placed
in the larger context of "modern" colonialism and
aggression by other powers (implicitly "the West"). The
word "apology" (shazai or owabi) is conspicuously absent
from the final statement. And the "deep remorse" (fukai
hansei) expressed for the suffering Imperial Japan
caused other peoples is explicitly identified as
referring primarily to Japan's Asian neighbors."

end of quotes

The article :
(Click the title to access)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Japan's Meti minister Shoichi Nakagawa says Chinese protests boost investment Risks!

Tensions between Tokyo and Beijing have been fueled by
disagreement over the U.N. Security Council, gas
resources in disputed seas and new Japanese textbooks
that critics say minimize Japan's wartime offenses. Is
biggest risk now for China to maximize Japanese investors
fears into a "scary country" ?

quotes :

"Japan's trade minister Shoichi Nakagawa said
anti-Japanese demonstrations in China are raising
concerns among international companies about investing
in the world's most populous country.

In Shanghai, 20,000 people took to the streets
yesterday, hurling stones and paint at the Japanese
consulate and vandalizing Japanese restaurants in a
second weekend of demonstrations across China, Japan's
biggest export market.

The protests ``are amplifying fears among companies in
Japan and elsewhere that they will face devastation
should they offend China,'' Nakagawa said today on a
Fuji television talk show. ``China didn't take action to
prevent the protests or stop them afterward, and I don't
think it's because the government was unable to so.''

Japan's Foreign Minister is scheduled to visit China
today as tensions between the neighboring countries
mount over offshore territorial disputes and what China
says is Japan's refusal to apologize for atrocities the
Japanese military committed during its occupation of
China before and during World War II.

People are ``dissatisfied with Japan's attitude and
action on a series of issues such as its history of
aggression,'' Jiao Yang, Shanghai municipal spokeswoman,
said in remarks reported by Xinhua News Agency, China's
official voice on political issues.

China's failure to act against piracy and counterfeiting
already pose risks to investing in China for companies
in Japan, the European Union and the U.S., Nakagawa

Disputes between Japan and China have flared over both
countries' claims to drilling rights in disputed waters
of the East China Sea and over annual visits by Japanese
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his predecessors to
Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, where war criminals lie among
dead soldiers being honored.

Protests also target new Japanese textbooks that critics
say gloss over wartime atrocities committed by the
Japanese, most notably the 1937 Nanjing massacre, in
which some historians say hundreds of thousands of
civilians died.

Nakagawa said he doesn't understand why those
long-standing issues have suddenly sparked the recent
outburst of protests.

``I have little clue as to why now,'' Nakagawa said.

end of quotes