Monday, May 13, 2013

Japan is leashed, for now

East and West, diplomats are puzzeled by the Abe Administration's emphasis on recasting Japan's war history as either defensive or entitled. Some think its source is the Japanese reluctance to speak ill of their ancestors, even if they are war criminals. Others believe that the Abe people are simply ideological.

Abe and his Cabinet suggest that no apologies are necessary for defending one's country or liberating another's.  That is not aggression. Treaties and international laws justified collecting colonies and territories. Imperial Japan believed in the rule of law.

The Sankei Shimbun editorial below appears to provide another explanation: it is good diplomacy to remind Japan's neighbors of how fanatical and belligerent Japanese can be. It is a unique and troubling argument of "Yasukuni/history as deterrence."

Being a 'Nice Boy' Is No Way To Do Diplomacy

Sankei Shimbun, 24 April 2013
[provisional translation/summary by APP for scholarly use]

First the author talks about the historical (late-1500s) example of the Shimazu-Clan, which ruled the Satsuma Region of southwest Kyushu. The Shimazus fought against future Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa's army, which was trying to (and eventually did) take control over all of Japan. Even though the Shimazu Clan lost against the Tokugawa forces at the large and crucial Battle of Sekigahara, they fought so hard (e.g., 1,000 warriors charged into the Tokugawa formation and fought until only 80 were left) that thereafter, the Satsuma region was not brought under as stringent control as others (i.e., because the Tokugawa Shogun didn't want to have to fight them again).

In a similar way, toward the end of WW-II, even though Japan was showing signs of weakening and being headed towards defeat, it continued to fight tenaciously, repeatedly sending "Special Attack Units" (Kamikaze) to strike at the enemy. This hard-core/fight-to-the-death Japanese combat caused fear/awe in the U.S. and Allied forces, and they did not want to fight the Japanese ever again, which resulted in the Occupation trying to "de-fang" Japan (e.g., through the Constitution) --- but, the same fear also kept the U.S./Allied Occupation from becoming too onerous to Japan and helped to keep the Showa Emperor in place.

So concerning Yasukuni Shrine... First, it is totally natural for Japanese leaders to visit the shrine and pray for the souls of the brave countrymen who fought so hard and gave their lives for their country. Secondly, it serves as a reminder of how hard/bravely Japanese soldiers fought (and could fight again) to those countries who would view Japan as an enemy or target. So, in a sense, the visits, which call attention to Japan's past military prowess, serve as a form of deterrence.

When Vice-PM Aso and over 160 Diet members recently visited Yasukuni, South Korea immediately cancelled a visit to Japan by its Foreign Minister, and subsequently made strong public/diplomatic protests. But this over-reaction only goes to show that South Korea still fears and recognizes the latent power/strength of Japan, i.e., South Korea's action should be recognized for what it really is.

The media keeps crying that the Yasukuni visits will damage Japan-China and/or Japan-Korea diplomatic relations. They also criticize the visits as "insensitive". But in the cold-reality realm of international politics, it does not pay to be a "yes man" or a "good boy" who tries to curry other countries' favor --- this is something China and South Korea themselves -- and the rest of the World -- know very well.

CLICK TO THE NEXT PAGE FOR THE ORIGINAL JAPANESE

「相手の言いなり」だけが外交ではない

2013.4.24 03:16 [産経抄] 

 薩摩、大隅などを治めた島津家は関ケ原で敗れたにもかかわらず、幕府による取りつぶしを免れた。領地はほぼ無傷で安堵(あんど)された。それは島津義弘軍による凄(すさ)まじい退却戦の効果である。敗北後わずか千人の手勢で敵将、徳川家康の本陣に襲いかかった。

 ▼たじろぐスキに退却を始め、最後は80人になる死にものぐるいの戦いで、義弘は自国に生還した。それを目の当たりにした徳川方は、これ以上追い詰めた場合の島津の抵抗を恐れた。だから戦後処理でも島津家にだけは手を入れられなかったのである。

 ▼同じようなことは先の大戦でも起きた。日本は敗色濃厚となっても、特攻を繰り返すなど決死の戦いを続けた。それは米国など戦勝国を畏怖させた。このため戦後、さまざまに日本人の「骨抜き」を図りながらも、象徴天皇を残し苛烈な占領政策はとらなかったのだ。

 ▼そう考えると今、繁栄を享受している日本のリーダーが靖国神社を参拝、英霊たちに感謝するのは当然のことだ。いやそれだけではない。参拝によって日本人の勇敢な戦いぶりを思い起こさせる。そのことは、日本を敵視する国に対する十分な抑止力となると言っていい。

 ▼麻生太郎副総理ら3閣僚をはじめ、160人を超える国会議員が春の例大祭に合わせ靖国を参拝した。韓国は早速とばかり外相の訪日を中止した。抗議行動も起きているそうだ。この過剰な反応こそ、韓国が日本の「底力」を恐れていることの証拠と思えばいい。

 ▼例によってマスコミの多くは、日中、日韓外交が悪化すると憂える。参拝を「無神経」などと批判している。だが相手の言いなりに「よい子」でいることだけが外交ではない。中国、韓国をはじめ世界のすべての国が知っていることである。


【靖国参拝】「敬意と外交は分けなければならない」橋下氏、政権与党は配慮必要との認識


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