[EDITORIALS]Japan must solve current rift

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[EDITORIALS]Japan must solve current rift

It is not likely that Japan will become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. A majority of UN members have expressed opposition to increasing the number of permanent member seats, though their concern was not aimed directly at Japan.
Strong opposition from East Asian countries, including Korea and China, must have affected Japan’s plan adversely. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s chief secretary has also expressed concern that the tension in East Asia over Japan has prevented the UN reform agenda from being successfully carried out.
Japan, which wanted to be a permanent member without reflecting on its past, is now faced with negative opinions.
Japan seems not yet to realize the severity of such critical international public opinion. Some Japanese have falsely alleged that the aging South Korean women forced to serve as sex slaves during Japan’s imperial era, who participate in protest rallies, are North Korean agents.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has reiterated that “Japan is not responsible for anti-Japan protests in China.” He obstinately made further unreasonable comments: “The anti-Japan protests and my visits to the Yasukuni shrine are separate matters.” He is not showing any signs of reflection or efforts to improve the situation, but rather is aggravating the situation.
We again ask Japan to take note of Germany. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder went to a concentration camp just a couple of days ago and offered another apology for his country’s past brutality. Japan should also bear in mind the fact that Germany built many memorial halls nationwide in which their past is reflected upon and criticized.
Unlike Germany, Japan attempts to beautify its past rather than objectively evaluating it. And that is why not only East Asian countries, but also world public opinion, has turned sour on Japan. If Japan had showed a modest attitude like Germany, then the situation would not have turned so bad.
Anti-Japan protests, of course, shouldn’t be violent. The tension in East Asia should not increase due to these protests. But Japan must realize why its neighboring countries are so outraged, and the world responds. Japan initiated the conflict.
If Japan shows an effort to solve it, the world’s opinion of the country will change.
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