Thursday, September 21, 2006

Please, Please Don't Go to Yasukuni (and I'll Feel Fine)

The Chinese official media's continuing silence on the relationship between Abe Shinzō and leaders of the Tsukurukai remains deafening.

Not one peep about textbooks.

Abe urged to keep his word, mend ties
China Daily

China expressed hope yesterday that the newly-elected president of Japan's ruling party will "make sincere efforts" to improve Sino-Japanese relations.


"We hope the new LDP leader can match his words with action and make sincere efforts for the improvement of bilateral relations," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

Abe who has repeatedly declared that he seeks better ties with China is set to succeed Junichiro Koizumi as Japan's prime minister next Tuesday, given the LDP's majority in the House of Representatives which has the final say in the choice.

He has defended Koizumi's pilgrimages to the Yasukuni Shrine, where Japan's war dead, including World War II criminals are honoured; and refused to say whether he would visit the shrine as prime minister.

"The key to solving the present difficulties is for the Japanese leader to make an early resolution on removing the political barrier of the shrine visits, and bringing bilateral relations back on to the normal track," Qin told a regular news briefing on Tuesday.

Judging from Abe's political record and his words and actions while serving as chief cabinet secretary in the cabinet of the outgoing prime minister, it is hard to expect breakthroughs in the settlement of disputes between the two nations, said Zheng Donghui, a researcher on Japan at the China Institute of International Studies.

The son of a foreign minister and grandson of a prime minister, Abe has positioned himself as a hawkish politician. Pacifists say Abe is a nationalist who will push for a militarized Japan, while supporters claim he just wants a stronger foreign policy.

"Anyway, he can't avoid the problem of the Yakusuni Shrine, on which he has to make a wise political decision if he wants to improve Sino-Japanese relations," Zheng said.

Mea Maxima Culpa - In a previous post, I said that Yagi Hidetsugu and Shimada Yōichi were the chairman and vice chairman of of the Tsukurukai.

Neither is correct.

Yagi stepped down from the position of chairman to the position of vice-chairman in March of this year. In May, he resigned from position of vice chairman.

Shimada Yōichi was a Senior Editor of the Tsukurukai's civics textbook.

Missing from my list of close Abe confidants associated with the Tsukurukai is Kyoto University professor Nakanishi Terumasa.

Nakanishi resigned from the Tsukurukai's Board of Directors on May 22, 2006.

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