Plunge Pontificates

A place for my thoughts.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Fascinating Take on China's Problem With Yasukuni

Here is a perspective that I've never heard before, giving reason as to why the Chinese government has reacted so strongly to Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni. If this is true, it just adds to my disgust of Koizumi and my belief that he is the worst thing to happen to relations in that region since normalization of relations.

The Japanese right likes to insist that since Beijing's anti-Yasukuni angst is fairly recent it must be politically inspired. (They also used to say the same thing about recent anti-Japan demonstrations in China, until it became clear that the Beijing authorities were opposed and had even arrested some of the leaders.)

Beijing has its reasons for its recent angst, since it is only recently that Tokyo's more strongly anti-China policies -- the Senkaku Islands question, quasi support for Taiwan independence, promises to cooperate with the U.S. militarily over Taiwan, for example -- have become obvious. Beijing till recently has tried to put all the war blame on the 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted of A-class war crimes and whose souls are said to be enshrined at Yasukuni. (It tried to argue that the peace-loving Japanese people were led astray by these leaders.) Koizumi's homage to the souls of those 14 leaders in effect pulls the rug out from under Beijing's feet, and rather rudely.
So basically, China tried to maintain good relations with Japan by putting all the war atrocity claims on the heads of the 14 Class "A" criminals. Then Koizumi effectively wipes out that policy by his continued visits to the shrine. Brilliant, just brilliant.