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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 7:36pm

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine, located in Tokyo, Japan, is dedicated to over 2,466,000 Japanese soldiers and servicemen who died fighting on behalf of the Emperor of Japan in the last 150 years. It also houses one of the few Japanese war museums dedicated to World War II.The shrine is at the center of an international  controversy by honoring war criminals convicted by a post World War II court including 14 'Class A' war criminals. Japanese politicians, including prime ministers and cabinet members have paid visits to Yasukuni Shrine in recent years which caused criticism and protests from China, Korea, and Taiwan. 


Beijing criticised for dragging Japan into a media ‘cold war’

Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper claims Chinese government wants to alienate Japan from international community through campaign focusing on its wartime past

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 3:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 10:14pm

The conservative Japanese daily the Yomiuri Shimbun has accused China of dragging Japan into a media "cold war" and trying to alienate it from the international community.

The newspaper, a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, launched a series of feature articles on Friday examining the worsening ties between the two regional superpowers, with subsequent stories due to look at “the possible challenges lying ahead”.

In a story headlined “Japan-China Cold War: Tactics using WWII imagery should not go unanswered”, the Yomiuri identified 73 countries, territories and international organisations “where China has conducted anti-Japanese propaganda”.

An analysis of the attacks said they followed a similar pattern, starting out by describing Abe as a “militarist” and “spreading accusations that Japan is a dangerous country”.

The Yomiuri pointed out that several Chinese ambassadors have contributed editorial pieces to push Beijing’s line in national newspapers including The Daily Telegraph in London and The Washington Post.

We cannot afford to make light of China’s fierce propaganda against Japan over historical issues
Yomiuri Shimbun

It said Abe’s visit in December to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japanese war criminals, was being put forward as evidence by Chinese leaders – and echoed in the state-run media – that “Japan still glorifies its wartime past”.

The tactic appeared to be to appeal to nations that fought under the banner of the Allied nations during the second world war, to remind them of the atrocities that took place during the conflict and to demonise modern-day Japan, the newspaper said.

“We cannot afford to make light of China’s fierce propaganda against Japan over historical issues,” it added. “Unless Japan solidly refutes China’s assertions, some people in other countries might accept the criticisms without questioning them or closely examining what has been said.”

The article said Beijing’s campaign had not gone completely smoothly, however, revelling in the reaction when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi addressed the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in late January.

“When Wang said, ‘China has been a peace-loving country. China has never invaded or bullied others,’ some in the audience snickered in contempt,” the Yomiuri claimed.

Official reaction from the Japanese government to China’s attacks to date has been very muted.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo told the South China Morning Post there was little point in the government replying to every criticism levelled against Japan by Beijing “as it will just lead to claim and counter-claim”.

The official added: “We are hoping that common sense will prevail.”

Tokyo did win a small victory on Wednesday, with The New York Times correcting an editorial it ran on March 2 which was critical of Abe’s plans to withdraw an apology to women forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military in the early decades of the last century.


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This article is now closed to comments

A Matsui
Shinzo Abe and the Japanese fascists have been behaving like their barbaric ancestors for a very long time. Praying to war-criminals at the Yasukuni War Shrine which is based on the false Shinto religion. Shamelessly and viciously belittling the victims of Japanese barbarity like the hundred of thousands of sex-slaves or comfort-women. Denying Japanese atrocities like the Rape of Nanking and the Manila Slaughter. The Japanese fascists like Shinzo Abe are enemies of humanity. With leaders like these Japan have no future. The two atomic bombs which ended Japanese rampage did not make these Japanese barbarians civilized. Fukushima did not make japan have a greater respect for nuclear safety. Given the dark nature of the Japanese fascists, Japan will destroy itself. All it will take is a few more Fukushimas!
It's the Japanese who are alienating themselves for their continual denial of their past imperialistic actions that have caused grief to many around the world.................until the day the Japanese can face up to their own horrific past, they are their own worse enemy.
I will have to disagree with you if the one country you are referring to is China. (FYI, South Korea is also as you say "trapped in the past".
Most Japanese are peace loving people, the problem is not with the people, but the current administration under the leadership of Abe.
China is "trapped in the past" due to Abe's effort to white wash history and refusing to bring Diaoyu islands to the negotiating table.
Why can't Japan be more like Germany? Then there will be no excuse for China to bring up the past as it is doing now.
You may have traveled and lived in Hongkong, Taiwan and China, BUT you were not there when Japan invaded China and colonized Taiwan. I think your perspective will be dramatically different than now.

There is a Chinese saying: "the guilty party first files the suit".
This is exactly the case with Yomiuri Shimbun trying to attack Beijing first when Japan is the agressor.
Even the New York Times editorial correction is just a technical victory for Abe since as early as February 24, 2014, Suga suggested the interviews given by the comfort woman would be reviewed as reported in the Japan Daily Press under the heading:" Japan to reconsider revising public apology statement to comfort women".
Was Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary not the mouthpiece of Abe? And is it possible for Suga to make such comments without the approval of Abe?
The New York Times has still not responded to Japan's request to correct the statement that "Abe has denied the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China took place" in the same editorial.
There is no doubt in my mind Abe wanted to revise the Kono statement, but due to external pressures from US and South Korea, had to do a 180 degree turn and will set it aside for now.
Abe is the classic nationalistic revisionist who wants to "beautify" Japan's past and there is no telling when he will again bring this up.
"I wasn't here, but neither were you unless you are elderly - so your attitude is learned."
Yes, I was not there, but I heard first hand accounts from my relatives about the atrocities that the Japanese Imperial Army did in China. I will have to assume you do not share my experience unless you have relatives that lived in China and experienced the same horrific atrocities committed by the Japanese.
"Many people there actually adore the Japanese and don't feel ashamed of it."
Here we are talking about the Japanese population and not the administration. The Japanese do have many qualities that I admire also:, work ethics, civic responsibility, honesty (most recently demonstrated during the 2011 Fukushima earthquake where practically no looting was reported) and cleanliness.
But here we are talking about the present far right administration that has repeatedly trying to white wash history, even trying to brainwash the next generation by revising history books used in schools.
The Chinese and Koreans are trying to heal their wounds, but Abe is the one not allowing that to happen by re-examining past histories and opening up their wounds.
As I said before, why can't Japan be more like Germany in this respect?
Marcus T Anthony
Having lived in and visited many parts of Asia, there is really only one country that is trapped in the past, unable to let go of a war that finished 70 years ago. It's government exploits history to keep the population angry and vengeful. It's a tactic that many totalitarian countries have employed over the years. Orwell depicted it well in his book 1984.
Meanwhile other countries which were invaded and violated horrifically - Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philiipines etc have all moved on. Blame is at reasonable and rational levels, not the hysterical levels you find in the one country I'm referring to. It's lowest common denominator nationalism. Most people are so conditioned by it, they are unable to break free from the hate.
I lived in Taiwan before going to live in the mainland and Hong Kong. So I have observed first hand how government policy can assist in healing - or keep a people enslaved in hatred, trapped in the past. This is why you see comments here like "the Japanese have not changed". The vast majority have changed. But when you are stuck in the past change goes undetected.
Marcus T Anthony
I wasn't here, but neither were you unless you are elderly - so your attitude is learned.
But I have experienced first hand the different attitudes to the past. In Taiwan there is some blame and anger, but generally they have moved on. Many people there actually adore the Japanese and don't feel ashamed of it.
When leaders attach national identity to stories of victimhood you can be certain that people will become very attached to that story, and form their collective identity from it.
Notice I am not suggesting that anyone deny the past. It is the relationship with the past that is most important.
It's like all healing. Sooner or later in order to move into the present and embrace your real power you have to stop identifying yourself as the downtrodden, the one who has be abused.
When we are overly attached to stories of past hurt then it doesn't take much for events in the present age to trigger hatred, rage and violence. This is the double-edged sword that certain governments like to sharpen - some more than others.
All Japan has to do is to stood up to admit her war time crimes and come clean.


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