New PM Sparks Concerns in Sino-Japanese Relations - Page 2
Naoto Nonaka and Koichi Nakano, political science professors in Tokyo have stated that Noda will likely downplay his past comments and will probably avoid the issue in order to not create another Koizumi “ice age”. I wouldn’t be surprised. Regardless, though, this does not diminish that to make comments about “military risk” and then also take such a position on the convicted Class-A war criminals is Pecksniffian and contradictory. These people made a conscious decision to invade other countries and commit mass acts of horror upon their populations, and they led Japan into the axis with Mussolini’s Italy and the Third Reich. Just like in Europe, Imperial Japan set-up concentration camps and forced prisoners of war, reduced close to skeletons, to construct railways and other edifices, and officers serving the regime would regularly shoot those who would not comply or starve them to death.
These people include Kenji Doihara, who earned the ironic nickname “Lawrence of Manchuria” for his role in the invasion of Manchuria in 1932 and the subsequent oppression of that land. In China he instigated campaigns which led to the decline of social structure to decrease resistance to the invading power, which affected thousands upon thousands in some of the worst actions humans have perpetrated. These include the splitting of north China by kidnapping Puyi and setting up the “Manchukuo” government from which Doihara and his conspirators plundered the resources of northeastern China for fourteen years. These were not committed by people “following orders”; rather, these were the people who made the orders.
Japan’s government is obviously not responsible for any of these actions, and only a fool would make such an anachronistic claim. But Mr. Noda’s comments are anachronistic: they grossly misrepresent the actions and responsibilities of these decision-makers from the imperial past. The concerns expressed in China and South Korea over such comments as Mr. Noda has made are not only because of the sickening horrors from the past and the slight anxiety over possible future political tensions in the region. These concerns are also because they come from someone who has hinted that some of the current policies from Japan’s new largest trading partner are aggressive or concerning. If these actions by China, standard actions that nearly all countries make because of the ways politics works, are of concern and to be denounced, but those such as Doihara are not, then we better pack our bags now and take off with the Cheshire Cat. To claim that the Doiharas are to be honored but also express concern over a naval capacity is absurd.Continued on the next page