Japan needs to draw lesson on seizure of Chinese trawler, fishermen

15:59, September 27, 2010      

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Japanese authorities illegally seized a Chinese trawler in the waters off the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea and detained 15 Chinese fishermen aboard, so a sound momentum in Sino-Japanese relations suffered a serious setback. Since the incident occurred on Sept. 7, some words and deeds on the part of the Japanese side show that there are indeed some political forces in Japan who attempt to take its advantages, seize upon the matter and make a fuss about it.

These forces sinisterly harbor two ulterior motives: First, with the adoption of the "Ostrich Policy" of a subjective idealism, they attempt to cope with the issue in line with Japan's Domestic Law to make it the so-called "reference case" and oblige China to accept the "fait accompli"; Second, with the intensification of contradictions between China and Japan, they hype the so-called "China Threat Theory" and proceed to resolve the Futenma Air Station and enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance with the backing of the "U.S. military deterrence theory", adjust its defense strategy and military deployment, especially beefing up the southwestern Japanese islands to aim at China.

The Chinese government clearly and unequivocally admonished Japan not to misjudge the situation at first, but some certain forces in Japan persevered in their own way and clung obstinately to their course, and eventually found things not turn out as they had wished nevertheless.

First of all, China came to see their "smug calculations" or "wishful thinking" from the start. China is steadfast in its stance with the issues involving sovereignty, national united and territorial integrity and when it comes to such issues, it will not yield or compromise.

Secondly, Sino-Japanese bilateral ties are currently in the state of penetrating, in-depth cooperation; Japan's development and prosperity cannot be separated from China's development and prosperity; Japan cannot afford the cost if it pursues a continued rivalry with China. Moreover, the United States gave Japan "cardio-tonics" in injections as well as "reassurance" to set its mind at ease, but it also has to take U.S.-China relations into account itself.

It is not rare or uncommon for Japan to make use of "external events" in history. Both leaders of the Democratic party of Japan (DPJ), Naoto Kan and Ichiro Ozawa, had once made provocative statements to incite and win over public opinions and this was what we often called the "electoral politics" in Japan.

Seiji Maehara, then DPJ vice-president, asked former Prime Minister Taro Aso in 2009 at Japan's powerful lower house: "How Japan will respond if the Senkaku Islands (or the Diaoyu Islands) is invaded by a third country. In reply, Aso said that Japan-U.S. Security Pact was applicable to the islands. These remarks of theirs in question and answer epitomize the "power struggle in parliament".

What the right wingers and a younger faction in Japan today have said and done over the seizure and detention of Chinese fisherman has fanned up Japan's national sentiments, deteriorated an atmosphere for public opinions and made the Diaoyu Islands issue much more complex and intricate.

At present, media in Japan maintain that Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his core cabinet members have neither amassed sufficient experience for handling diplomatic issues, nor given much heed to them; they also suffer from myopia or the "near-sightedness disease." Some prominent figures in DPJ also held similar views.

Shinji Tarutoko, an Ozawa-backed legislator and chairman of the lower house environmental committee, noted that the handling of the incident by the incumbent cabinet is questionable and that the seizure of Chinese fishermen and fishing vessel was a mistake in itself.

The Japanese government should learn a serious lesson from the incident, not letting certain political forces to manipulate and misguide Japan's policy toward China, still less to take an indulgent attitude or make use of words and deeds to vilify Sino-Japanese ties and rope in the so-called public opinions. If such "smug calculations" with ulterior motives are pressed ahead, they would certainly run onto the ground on their own.

By People's Daily Online and its author is PD reporter Wu Huaizhong


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