Sunday, April 28, 2013

Even Japanese media are blasting the Yasukuni visits

The revival of Yasukuni Shrine visits presents a serious diplomatic setback for Tokyo. The costs have been high and the benefits hard to find. More importantly, it reveals the reactive nationalisms afoot in Northeast Asia that are dangerous and unpredictable. The debate over Yasukuni is fraught with political tensions, even within Japan. Yasukuni Shrine carries the stigma of state secrecy and complicit activism. The inclusion of the Class-A war criminals was done furtively in 1978 at the behest of a Yasukuni Shrine official, Nagayoshi Matsudaira. Even Japanese domestic media are criticizing the visit as an unnecessary act of nationalism. Japan and China both need to work on a peaceful solution to their territorial issues. But it seems especially foolhardy for Japan to inflame hostilities with China and South Korea when all countries need to be working cooperatively to resolve the problems with North Korea and its nuclear program. Instead of exacerbating historical wounds, Abe should focus on writing Japan’s future, with an emphasis on improving its long-stagnant economy and enhancing its role as a leading democracy in Asia and beyond.

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