Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And while I'm at it, I wish I had a pony

Tanaka Hitoshi, writing in the Financial Times, wishes everyone would just let Japan become normal. And let Japan discard "fictions and taboos". And let Japan focus on building bridges to the east Asian community.

A better way for Japan to live with its neighbours
Financial Times

Published: April 2 2007 17:59 Last updated: April 2 2007 17:59

In recent years foreign observers have reported increasing nationalistic pride in Japan. Such growing sentiment is rooted in frustration over gaps between Japan's security policy and the reality of today's world, and between contemporary Japan and its wartime past.

Japan's humiliation during the 1991 Gulf war first revealed the gap between the constraints of its pacifist constitution and the demands of the post-cold-war world. Despite its $13bn contribution, Japan was criticised for its inability to participate in the operations of the coalition forces. Meanwhile, controversy over Japan’s wartime past – exemplified by the Yasukuni shrine, which honours 2.5m war dead, including 14 Class A war criminals – has loomed over its relations with neighbours and has created an opening for a harmful strain of nationalism.

I'm afraid this is the tenor aria from Act I, Scene II of La MOFA del Destino -- "It's the constitution's fault! And those damn priests at Yasukuni! Always making us look powerless and stupid! Un rengo per il mio cavallo!"

Not exactly.

Japan's problem at the time of the Gulf War was an ossified and illegitimate political class whose members could not move a meter outside their usual billets of shoveling pork and ingratiating themselves to their faction leaders.

How do I know this?

Because the celebrated Mr. K sent the destroyers to the Arabian Sea and the GSDF to Iraq without changing one damned comma in the Constitution--that's why.

Later in the piece Tanaka-san asks that everyone stop politicizing history.

Good luck. No wait, vaya con Dios...pero vaya.

"We should leave history to the historians," is a declaration of personal moral failure masquerading as impartiality.

Just don't tell the PM and Dr. Michael Green at CSIS that I said so, though.

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