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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 December 10 - 16  > Japan in two East Asian frameworks must work to encourage peace and cooperation
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2008 December 10 - 16 TOP3 [WORLD]
editorial 

Japan in two East Asian frameworks must work to encourage peace and cooperation

December 16, 2008
In enhancing cooperation with the ASEAN, Japan has been wedded to its military alliance with the United States and has worked hard to make the Asian regional system better serve U.S. interests. This, as a matter of course, caused anxieties to other Asian countries and hampered efforts to enhance Asia’s cooperation to achieve independent economic and political development.

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The leaders of Japan, China, and South Korea held a summit meeting on December 13 for the first time separately from the ASEAN Plus Three.

In the face of the serious global financial and economic crises that started in the United States, the three leaders focused on economic issues, such as the South Korean won’s loss of value against the dollar, and agreed to expand the currency swap deals between the three countries.

The three leaders also expressed their resolve to promote their “cooperation in a future-oriented manner” and confirmed to increase exchanges in broad sectors such as politics, regional cooperation, culture, and environment.

Developing cooperation between the three countries is essential for securing the peace in Northeast Asia.

However, further cooperation cannot be achieved unless the Japanese government changes its postwar Asian policy that has often obstructed such Asian cooperation.

Reflection on the war of aggression is essential

It is essential for Japan to critically review its past war of aggression and promise not to go to war again as an integral component of its foreign policy.

In 2005, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichiro repeatedly visited Yasukuni Shrine in disregard of growing public criticism, leading to the cancellation of the planned trilateral summit talks.

The three leaders stressed the need to take a “future-oriented” course in the latest summit, but the issue of Japan’s view of history was not discussed. Prime Minister Aso Taro is a member of the pro-Yasukuni Shrine forces and has often revealed his distorted view of history even since before he became prime minister.

Japan cannot play a role in promoting cooperation between the three countries unless it expresses deep remorse over the past war of aggression.

For an independent regional community

In enhancing cooperation with the ASEAN, Japan has been wedded to its military alliance with the United States and has worked hard to make the Asian regional system better serve U.S. interests. This, as a matter of course, caused anxieties to other Asian countries and hampered efforts to enhance Asia’s cooperation to achieve independent economic and political development.

Everyone knows that in the Asian currency crisis in 1997 the U.S. obstructed Asian countries’ independent efforts to resolve the crisis.

The ongoing global financial crisis also suggests that the U.S. quest for hegemony over the world is crumbling.

An honest appraisal of the ongoing structural changes, both political and economic, shows that Japan must give up its outdated policies and contribute to building an independent and peaceful regional community in East Asia.
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