• Wed
  • Sep 24, 2014
  • Updated: 5:20am
CommentInsight & Opinion

Japan needs to mend fences

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 4:32am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 9:39am

Numbers are culturally important to Chinese. It was therefore inevitable that yesterday, the 77th anniversary of the start of the second Sino-Japanese war on the seventh day of the seventh month in 1937, would be elevated to special significance. Xi Jinping , the first president to officiate at the ceremony at the site of the attack on the Marco Polo Bridge outside Beijing, amplified calls made during a trip to South Korea last week for Japan to apologise for its war-time aggression. But Japanese leaders show no such desire and have reinterpreted the country's pacifist constitution so that its troops can again fight overseas.

As Xi condemned the interests of a "minority" group in rewriting history, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was embarking on a week-long trip to Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. His government rejected the criticism by Xi and his South Korean counterpart, Park Geun-hye, of the lifting of the ban, but it should not have been surprised. Surging Japanese nationalism has raised tensions in northeast Asia and nations that suffered at the hands of its imperial troops are bound to be worried. Regional geopolitics are shifting and Beijing and Seoul are now likely to jointly commemorate the 70th anniversary next year of Japan's second world war defeat.

Anniversaries are useful to re-examine trends, outcomes and choices. Gains and losses can be reflected upon with an eye on future decision-making. Rhetoric has to be used carefully in such circumstances and nationalism has no place. The region's leaders have to keep this in mind as historic dates approach.

China, Japan and South Korea are economically important to each other. They share concerns about energy supplies, air pollution and North Korea's nuclear threat. Low-level dialogue is taking place, but only through leaders' meetings can understanding and trust be found. The Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Beijing in November offers such an opportunity. It would be the perfect forum and location for Abe to work with his regional counterparts to defuse tensions.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

[Xi Jinping (...) amplified calls made during a trip to South Korea last week for Japan to apologise for its war-time aggression. But Japanese leaders show no such desire (...) ]

Mr Xi should perhaps inform himself better and consult Wikipedia on the matter.


After apologising dozens of times, in many shapes and forms, and paying vast sums of money for war reparations, is it really that odd that Japanese politicians are sick and tired of China milking the events of over 70 years ago?
Daniel Lee
The Japanese war mongers like Shinzo Abe and the LDP fanatics including their sponsors Snake Obama should be locked up in Tokyo Zoo under the sign Homo Horribilis.
"Surging Japanese nationalism has raised tensions in northeast Asia" and not a word about China's, Editor Wang? Time you came clean about your Party membership and stop publishing sycophantic pieces about Crimes Against Humanity Expert Xi.
A Kuro
A Japan that lies about it's barbaric history, have no remorse over Japanese barbarism, is hostile towards her neighbours is both uncivilised and dangerous. An uncivilised Japan can never be able to live in peace. Such a Japan have no future.
And the hostility of China towards its neighbours doesn't matter, I suppose?
Well, so far, China hasn't tried to eradicate its neighbours with chemical and biological weapons, such as Japan attempted in China, nor have they bombed, raped and pillaged their way through South East Asia. I guess that's the difference here.
It's OK to be a rabid anti Chinese bigot, but at least study history before you post something. Thanks!


SCMP.com Account