The rise of Japanese nationalism should be seen alongside another trend: the increasingly close links between Japan and the US. Earlier this year Japan affirmed, for the first time, its willingness to support the US in the event of a conflict over Taiwan. It has also agreed to work with the US to develop and finance a missile-defence system whose intention is clearly the containment of China. It is not difficult to see the early signs of a new cold war in east Asia, with Japan and the US on one side and China on the other. It does not have to be like this. If Japan grasped the nettle of its past and ushered in a new era in its relationship with China, South Korea and the rest of the region, it would surely play a major role in the evolution of the most economically powerful region in the world. Instead it looks increasingly likely that Japan will remain in splendid isolation from its continent, weighed down by fear, suspicion and anxiety that its neighbours, above all China, will seek to lord it over Japan in the way that Japan did over them for over a century.Not a position that will ultimately be best for Japan, China or the US.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
As China rises, so does Japanese nationalism
Martin Jacques writes on Japan's increasing isolationism within East Asia, as symbolised by the continuing visits of leading politicians to the Yasakuni shrine where several war criminals are buried: