Yasukuni visit reveals Japan’s provocative stance

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-4-23 0:03:01

Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso visited the Yasukuni Shrine on Sunday, while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled a pine tree that commemorates the shrine. The occasion marked the beginning of a three-day festival at the controversial memorial to Japanese war dead. 

These visits represented the most conspicuous efforts to glorify Japanese war dead since former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi stepped down in 2006.

Abe is skirting the edge of a red line. He didn't make a pilgrimage himself, but offered equipment for ceremonies and sent his deputy prime minister. This marks a significant step, which has left Beijing and Seoul little room for diplomatic maneuvers and little choice but to show their firm resolve.

The controversial visits once again prove that Japan is the troublemaker and provocateur in East Asia. Japan has once again been the one that broke the uneasy regional balance.

Apparently, Abe has taken into consideration reactions from neighbors, especially Beijing. But these reactions weren't the deciding factor. He probably believes that during this time of chilly Sino-Japanese relations caused by the Diaoyu Islands spat, Beijing, as much as Tokyo, does not want further confrontation.

The Chinese are unable to change the Japanese attitude toward the Yasukuni Shrine issue. But China still needs to take serious diplomatic steps and adopt certain countermeasures.

This will show China's firm stance that the nation will never back down on the shrine issue and will fight back against any serious provocations by the Japanese side. The Japanese may not worry about Chinese reactions and the spiraling decline of Sino-Japanese ties, but they also need to know that China despises their attitude.

China certainly hopes to develop friendly relations with Japan. But in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to achieve this goal. Perhaps confrontation between the two is inevitable, unless China exercises forbearance with a very broad strategic mind.

But this is not feasible in an era when national strategy is increasingly influenced by public opinion. No matter what insightful strategic intentions the government harbors, the Chinese public will not agree to a friendly approach to a nation that has left deep historical scars on China and still adopts very aggressive stances.

But there is no need for China to be emotional and appear easily irritated. We need to maintain calm despite discontent with Japan's provocative moves, and take appropriate countermeasures.

Denying Japanese provocative behavior is China's bottom line, which will never be compromised.

Posted in: Observer

blog comments powered by Disqus