politics

Obama, Abe to address negative images at summit

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By Linda Sieg and David Brunnstrom

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“Both Prime Minister Abe and President Obama are very business-like people,”

really? look at the trade deficit of both nations, yeah running record high !

2 ( +6 / -4 )

U.S. foreign policy makers should not look at China as simply the enemy and try to go deeper and try to understand why they are so upset. I think this administration is slightly more intelligent and compassionate than previous ones. But the State Department tends to focus on realpolitik and preferring one evil over a worse evil.

But if the U.S. takes China's side on this issue, it could do wonders for the relationship. Let's not consider China always on the bad side. They are 1.2 billion people and the relationship between the two countries is more important than the one between the two current governments.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

“The U.S. delivered a moral judgment, saying it’s disappointed,” said a former Japanese diplomat. “That didn’t happen with previous administrations.”

Such statement made by Japanese official is hysterical and scary at the sometime. Does Japan really expect the US and the internal community have the same thread of moral fiber as Japan when it comes to Japan’s war-time atrocious crimes committed against the humanity? I don’t think so.

Thanks to Abe's nationalistic agenda, the US government and American public have become more and more aware of Japanese right wingers’ schemes. Even Republican would take Whitehouse in 2016 election, the day of blindly trust on Japan is over.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

It's about time that Abe (Japanese government) stopped hiding behind this cloak of amnesia about what went on in the 1930's and 1940's.

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“I think the United States places a very high level of importance on the alliance, but thinks the ally should take orders from the boss - and they are puzzled why Japan is not taking orders,” one Japanese government official told Reuters.>

100%. Agree with this statement.

Japan is a US ally. China is a competitor and rival despite what US officials claim and things will most likely get rather heated once China is confident in its military power. No reason to be antagonist with China of course, but publicly siding against Japan on the Yasukuni visit was not the proper thing if you wanted to increase security in Asia.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Abe will be trying to soothe U.S. concerns that his conservative push to recast Tokyo’s war record with a less apologetic tone is overshadowing his pragmatic policies on the economy and security.

In other words, Abe will lie through his teeth to Obama, and then go about doing exactly as he intends once Obama is back in DC.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Starting to doubt the worth of having Japan as an Allie .

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

China is the aggressor here. For all those who would appease their "hurt feelings", remember Lehman Bros loss of 400m dollars when Chinese banks refused to honor their commodity trading errors and pay the option fees. Chinese obey no international rules except when it suits them and any contract or agreement will be more honored in the breech than in the keeping.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

EthanWilberApr. 22, 2014 - 07:48AM JST

"The U.S. delivered a moral judgment, saying it's disappointed," said a former Japanese diplomat. "That didn't happen with previous administrations."

Such statement made by Japanese official is hysterical and scary at the sometime.

The Japanese official is talking about the Yasukuni visit by PM Koizumi in 2006. The Bush Administration did not say anything about it. He is just stating a fact and there is nothing scary about it.

Does Japan really expect the US and the internal community have the same thread of moral fiber as Japan when it comes to Japan's war-time atrocious crimes committed against the humanity? I don't think so.

I am rather scared of you. Yasu in Yasukuni means peace, and kuni means country. It is a place to pray for the peace of the country, and Abe said after his December 2013 visit that he prayed for peace. What is wrong with that?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

This article sounds as if its saying that those in office in Tokyo would prefer to see a white republican in office. I think the overtones of this article pretty much skirted that but didn't say it. Maybe this is the reason Obama is on a short stay and his wife just stayed away and used the family as an excuse of saying why she will not visit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some lawmakers close to Abe have resented the U.S. public chastisement over Yasukuni, which they said tilted towards Beijing and Seoul at Tokyo's expense.

Well .... here's an idea. Stop going!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One view on Crimea in Japan is that “the lack of a strong U.S. response demonstrates that the U.S. global role as a world policeman is dwindling”....

Oh, please. In 1962, the Soviets tried to place nuclear-equipped missiles in Cuba; 52 years later, Russia is struggling to reattach fragments of their old empire with majority Russian population to the mother country. That might not be right, but it's a far, far fall from the days when Russia was a world power.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@CH3CHO "Yasu in Yasukuni means peace, and kuni means country. It is a place to pray for the peace of the country".

Yours is not a very strong argument. What Yasukuni means semantically is neither here nor there. Yasukuni enshrines people who plotted and executed an expansionist war of aggression. The museum at the shrine, which one would assume reflects the view of the shrine's owners and operators, glorifies the Japanese campaign in Asia as a mission of liberation.

In a previous post I referred to the Sook Ching; the demand by the IJA for all ethnic Chinese males to present themselves to be vetted at muster stations falling the Japanese conquest of Singapore. Those meeting certain criteria, such as anyone who held a government post under the British, were taken away and shot, irrespective of whether or not the had taken up arms against Japan. Documented records of the selection criteria exist to this day in Japanese. That is why even the most nationalist politicians do not deny the Sook Ching. As it does not fit the narrative of "liberating Asia", they just don't talk about it and hope it will go away.

In enshrining those who planned and executed the Asian campaign, not just ordinary soldiers drafted forcibly into the army, Yasukuni is a shrine that celebrates this behavior. It celebrates a worldview that placed Japan at the top of the Asian totem pole and let to the slaughter of innocent people in the cities and countryside Japan occupied.

From a very wide historical perspective, it may well be true that Japan did not become a colony due to its proactive military stance. Certainly, one only has to look at, for example Tibet,Hawaii, or Guam and the rest of the ethnic Chamorro islands to realize that the history of the Japanese people, as an ethnic group, good have been very different.

Maybe we in the west look at history through a limited lens. Maybe we need to broaden our perspectives. Perhaps Japan, through her militaristic actions, protected her own sovereignty in the long run and we need to realize those were very different times (even if the bulk of colonial expansion by Western power had already wound down several decades before the second world war broke out).

But however we analyze the alternative fates that could have befallen Japan as a nation, claiming that Japan's military actions were for the benefit of people on the Asian continent is completely false. It's that unsupportable position, completely contradicted by all the evidence, that Yasukuni is built upon.

To say "don't interfere, this is a domestic matter" is highly disingenuous.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese and U.S. officials say the alliance is rock-solid and the atmospherics will be just fine at what will be the first state visit to Tokyo by a U.S. president since Bill Clinton in 1996.

What? Was Obama's visit in 2009 just a figment of my imagination? Does no one remember that one? the one that caused all the silly commotion over the bow/handshake with Emperor Akihito?

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/obamas-bow-to-emperor-causes-outrage-in-washington

Or was that not a genuine "state visit"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ CH3CHO "What is your point? I have no idea what you wanted to say in your very long comment".

Let me summarize for you.

The world view expressed through the museum at Yasukuni's is that Japan fought a war to liberate Asia. That is not true. Japan's military systematically killed Asian civilians, which is the exact opposite of liberating them.

When politicians who share that world view visit the shrine and say they are "praying for peace", they will be condemned for the inconsistency between their claimed motives and the view of history they are endorsing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

jpn_guyApr. 22, 2014 - 08:27PM JST

they will be condemned for the inconsistency between their claimed motives and the view of history they are endorsing.

What inconsistency? It is true that Japanese Army started the War in the Pacific with the pretext to liberate Asia from colonialism. It is true Japanese Army kill a lot of Asians. Why do you say presenting those facts at museum is wrong? Do you think yasukuni should hide those facts?

I do not see any inconsistency to pray for peace at a shrine that commemorates war dead.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@CH3CHO "It is true that Japanese Army started the War in the Pacific with the pretext to liberate Asia from colonialism". "Do you think yasukuni should hide those facts?"

Have you been to the museum at Yasukuni? Have you read, for example, the panel boasting about the speed and efficiency with which the Burma railway was completed, completely glossing over its construction with slave labor and the horrendous death rate among the laborers?

Unlike you (assuming you understand your own use of the word pretext) the curators of Yasukuni do not accept that liberating Asia from colonialism was a "pretext". The exhibits at the Yasukuni museum claim the "pretext" was and remains a true and valid reason. Politicians visiting the shrine also endorse this view.

They are praying for peace while absurdly supporting the lie that liberating Asia was the genuine objective behind the "Japanese Army killing a lot of Asians" (a fact I am relieved to see you recognize).

"What inconsistency?"

The inconsistency of praying for peace at institution that suggests killing civilians and torturing POWs is justified as a form of "liberation". The inconsistency of "praying for peace" while ignoring the concept of fundamental human rights, a key ingredient in achieving the peace they claim to desire. The inconsistency of "praying for peace" while reminiscing favorably about a totalitarian regime controlled by the military, secret police, prosecutors and un-elected officials.

"I do not see any inconsistency to pray for peace at a shrine that commemorates war dead".

If Yasukuni only commemorated the victims of the war, and not its architects, I would agree. As things stand though, I refer you back to the above.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

jpn_guyApr. 23, 2014 - 01:14PM JST

completely glossing over its construction with slave labor

Here we go. You play the little game of changing names and rewriting history. Article 6 of the Hague Convention of War on Land says it is OK to make POWs work. Article 5 of Slavery Convention of 1926 says it is OK to force people to work fro public purpose, and such forced labor is not slave labor.

The exhibits at the Yasukuni museum claim the "pretext" was and remains a true and valid reason.

They are praying for peace while absurdly supporting the lie that liberating Asia was the genuine objective behind the "Japanese Army killing a lot of Asians" (a fact I am relieved to see you recognize).

Your logic looks jumping away. During the Iraqi war, Americans killed a lot of Iraqi. But you do not go backward to say the purpose of the war was to kill Iraqi. The purpose was to destroy WMD, wasn't it?

If you look at the history of wars, the pretext and hidden real motive are always different. Can you name a war that did not have any "real motive"? The pretext was to liberate Asia from colonization, whereas the real motive was to secure natural resources by establishing friendly independent nations. The independence was accomplished in most of the occupied areas, making the promise in the pretext kept. One needs not get upset when the pretext is read, for real motive is known to everyone.

Politicians visiting the shrine also endorse this view.

They also openly admit the real motive as well.

The inconsistency of praying for peace at institution that suggests killing civilians and torturing POWs is justified as a form of "liberation".

No one says it is justified. How can praying for peace mean that atrocities are justified?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@CH3CHO I see you are citing the Article 6 Hague Treaty in defense or your position.

I found the very text you refer to on a Yale university website: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/hague02.asp#art6

" The State may utilize the labor of prisoners of war according to their rank and aptitude. Their tasks shall not be excessive, and shall have nothing to do with the military operations."

"Excessive" is might be open to interpretation but, for reference, lets look at the death rates by country from an official Australian government website. http://hellfire-pass.commemoration.gov.au/surviving-the-camps/

Malay laborers: more than 50% died during construction of the railway.

Burmese laborers: more than 40% died during construction of the railway.

Javanese laborers: more than 30% died during construction of the railway.

British laborers: more than 20% died during construction of the railway.

Australian laborers: more than 20% died during construction of the railway.

US laborers: Just under 20% more than 50% died during construction of the railway.

There were more than 100,000 deaths in all. Do you think those who drew up the convention would accept such death rates as "not excessive"?

"nothing to do with military operations" is also open to interpretation, but we may consider the following from wikipedia "The Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway.., was a 415 kilometres railway between Bangkok, Thailand, and Rangoon, Burma built by the Empire of Japan in 1943, to support its forces in the Burma campaign of World War II."

Going back to your post and "the pretext was to liberate Asia from colonization, whereas the real motive was to secure natural resources [for Japan] by establishing friendly independent nations"

Two points here: 1) it would seem you admit that when Abe goes to Yasukuni shrine he is worshiping at a place that beautifies a war in which many Asians were killed solely in pursuit of Japan's national interest. Surely then you can understand why China and South Korea are upset about the visits.

2) Japan held South Korea and Taiwan as colonies for decades (and Manchuria for more than a decade) and took no steps to grant independence. Where is your evidence that the expansion into Thailand, Malaysia, Burma and other regions was for the purpose of granting independence to these regions rather than making them subservient part of the Japanese empire? Why did Japan not give Korea and Taiwan independence in the decades prior to WWII?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"what will be the first state visit to Tokyo by a U.S. president since Bill Clinton in 1996."

I could swear I remember George W. Bush visiting Japan and going to a yakiniku restaurant in Aoyama with Prime Minister Koizumi...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That was not a state visit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

jpn_guyApr. 23, 2014 - 07:46PM JST

lets look at the death rates by country from an official Australian government website.

What were the causes of the deaths of the railway workers? Disease, starvation, and allied bombing. While I admit Japanese Army was to blame, diseases were inevitable, startvation was due to isolation from Japanese supply lines by allied operations. Actually, the largest cuase of death of Japanese soldiers in the South East Asia was also disease and starvation.

1) it would seem you admit that when Abe goes to Yasukuni shrine he is worshiping at a place that beautifies a war

"Worship" may not be a correct word. You would understand that it is hard to explain a religion to a person who does not believe in the religion. It is more of "remembering" or "commemorating". Any dead person or the soul of any dead person can be a "god" in Shintoism. The notion of "god" in Shintoism is totally different from "god" in Christianity or other religions. Being a "god" does not mean he is right or good. "Gods" can be wrong and do bad things as in Greek mythology. Being enshrined in Yasukuni does not mean what he did was considered right. It just means he is remembered there. So, I think China or Korea should not put more meaning to Yasukuni that it really is.

2) Where is your evidence that the expansion into Thailand, Malaysia, Burma and other regions was for the purpose of granting independence

Thailand and Manchuria were independent from the beginning. Burma and the Philippines became independent in 1943, and Vietnam in 1945. Indonesia was preparing for independence with independence committee headed by Sukarno in 1945 but Japan surrendered before the independence. The governments except that of Thailand were puppets, though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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