[EDITORIALS]U.S. also tired of the shrineHenry J. Hyde, chairman of the Committee on International Relations of the U.S. House of Representatives, has sent a letter to the Japanese ambassador to the United States and criticized Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. Thomas Schieffer, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, has also said that Mr. Koizumi’s visit to the shrine created worries among Asian countries, including China and Korea. Washington, which has kept neutral toward the issue, seems to have changed its position and is saying what it should.
Mr. Hyde rebutted the Japanese logic for the visits one by one. First of all, he contended that the Tokyo Tribunal, which convicted Japan’s “Class A war criminals,” was not a trial imposed by the victors. He also emphasized the fact that Yasukuni became the symbol of Japan’s militarism because the war criminals were enshrined there. Thus, he said, the Japanese logic was unreasonable if they argue that the trial was “justice of the winner” and that those convicted were not war criminals.
We are curious to know how Japan will respond to the U.S. action. In the meantime, Japan ignored the protests of Korea and China. In his speech commemorating the 60th anniversary of Japan’s surrender, Mr. Koizumi apologized for the invasions and pledged to “promote regional peace together with Korea and China.” But he made another visit to the shrine only two months after that. While apologizing for the past on one hand, he maintained the dual attitude of paying homage to war criminals on the other. He has even showed arrogance in retorting that other countries shouldn’t interfere in the way he paid homage to Japan’s war dead.
At the root of the attitudes of the Japanese leadership lies the thinking that as long as Japan keeps a strong alliance with the United States, there is no need to study the mood of other Northeast Asian countries. This is why Japan ignores its neighbors and only pays attention to U.S. protection.
Now the United States is intervening in the affairs of Japan. The United States doesn’t want to strain its relations with Korea and China for the sake of its relations with Japan. In particular, there is no reason for Washington to side with Japan despite the historically proven crime of the Japanese invasions.
Japan must understand why Washington has decided to give a strong warning to Japan, breaking the silence Washington has maintained so far. Japan shouldn’t open the wounds of its neighbors again.