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Japan should not repeat mistakes in Diaoyu Islands issue

(People's Daily Online)

08:26, August 24, 2012

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and U.S. Marine Corps have launched a 37-day joint military drill amid heightened tensions between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands Issue, in order to “simulate the recapture of Japanese islands.” Obviously, Japan is taking China, South Korea, and Russia as its imaginary enemies due to its islands disputes with the three countries.

Japan’s move is unwise and dangerous. Territorial disputes tend to pose major diplomatic challenges to the countries involved, which is exactly why these countries should handle the disputes with great caution. However, Japan has been blindly tough in handling such disputes, and taken advantage of U.S. backing to threaten other countries. As a result, it has been surrounded by enemies that have taken tougher countermeasures. Japan’s actions of undermining regional stability and damaging its relations with neighboring countries will do no good, except for receiving the applause of domestic right-wingers.

The Japanese government has probably realized its mistake, and thus taken some remedial measures. Japan’s central government recently rejected the Tokyo metropolitan government’s request for Diaoyu landing, and announced plans to replace its ambassadors to China, South Korea, and the United States simultaneously in order to clean up the diplomatic mess. In addition, Japanese Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi is scheduled to visit Beijing this week to discuss the Diaoyu Islands issue, according to ribenxinwen.com.

These remedial measures may somewhat ease the tensions in East Asia. However, the outside world should be more concerned about whether they indicate a turnaround in Japanese policy toward the islands disputes, or are just temporary measures or a disguise form of “one step back, two steps forward.” The situation is not looking optimistic as the Noda administration is facing hard times and busy consolidating its power, and Japanese right-wingers are taking advantage of people’s national sentiment to make waves. In addition to launching targeted military drills, Japan has threatened to take new economic measures to deal with its territorial dispute with South Korea. In addition, the Tokyo metropolitan government has filed another formal request to land on the Diaoyu Islands after its previous request was rejected by the central government. The Diaoyu landing farce seems far from ending.

Territorial disputes with neighboring countries are unavoidable challenges facing the Japanese government and leaders. The handling of such disputes tests Japanese leaders’ wisdom and graces. Somebody used to say jokingly that there are no statesmen but only politicians in Japan. Let us hope it is just a joke, and that Japan will not repeat the same mistakes again and again after suffering repeated setbacks from the islands disputes.

Read the Chinese version: 钓鱼岛问题日本切勿一错再错, source: Jiefang Daily , author: Hong Junjie

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