Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Tadae Takubo

【#195】U.S. Criticisms against Japan Cannot Be Ignored

Tadae Takubo / 2013.05.29 (Wed)

May 27, 2013


      In what country, in what position and for what reason do people criticize Japan? Who in Japan are subjected to overseas criticisms? What’s happening now among Japan, the United States, South Korea and China is too confusing to understand without marshaling the arguments. Particularly, U.S. criticisms against Japan are a matter of concern.

Americans share historical perception with Chinese and Koreans
      Americans must have known that offering prayers at Yasukuni Shrine dedicated to the war dead is a mental matter for Japanese. Then why do some Americans join Chinese and South Koreans to criticize it? I was relieved to hear that former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer told a symposium at the Capitol Hill he understood Japanese citizens’ wish to pay respect to those who lost their lives for their country. China and South Korea have their own purposes when taking up the history issue. The U.S. position should differ from that of China or South Korea. I would like American journalists to read an opinion advertisement on prayers at Yasukuni Shrine, which our Japan Institute for National Fundamentals published in four major Japanese newspapers earlier this month. Quite a few Japanese have sympathized with the opinion.
      In a recent report on Japan-U.S. relations, the U.S. Congressional Research Service said some statements by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “suggest that Abe embraces a revisionist view of Japanese history that rejects the narrative of imperial Japanese aggression.” This indicates the same stance as South Korea. South Korean President Park Geun-hye made an insinuation against Japan in her speech at the U.S. Congress. “The Japanese have been opening past wounds and have been letting them fester,” she said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I hope that Japan reflects upon itself,” she added. Do many Americans applaud her statements?
      An editorial writer of the South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo has recently described the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as “divine punishment.” How much this offensive description did shock Japanese people! A U.S. State Department spokesperson has refused to make any comment on the editorial. Are there any Americans who feel sympathetic for the South Korean editorial writer? No reaction to the editorial has appeared so far in the American journalism. In South Korea, there might be a peculiar atmosphere that could have heightened enough to make even supposedly intellectual journalists senseless.

Where are pro-Japanese Americans?
     In postwar Japan, leftists have persistently embraced anti-U.S. sentiment. Conservatives have been divided into anti-U.S. and pro-U.S. groups. Therefore, I am not very sure if we can judge that Japan and the United States have a steady relationship of mutual confidence based on common values and security outlook.
     Most of pro-U.S. conservatives in Japan have felt confidence in Prime Minister Abe and expect that the Abe Cabinet will build a firmer Japan-U.S. relationship. But I cannot easily ignore Americans joining Chinese and South Koreans to criticize Japan. Now I see the strange absence of U.S. opinions that figure out the entire picture of Asia and call for building a cool-headed Japan-U.S. relationship.

Tadae Takubo is Vice President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.