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Koizumi’s Obstinacy Could Isolate Japan

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Koizumi’s Obstinacy Could Isolate Japan

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 at 6:14 PM | Comments (0) | Top

Kwan Weng Kin: Koizumi’s Obstinacy Could Isolate Japan … Yasukuni and Asia
SOURCE: Japan Focus (1-22-06)

[This article appeared in the Straits Times on January 13, 2006. Kwan Weng Kin is the Japan correspondent for the Straits Times ( Singapore).]

… Critics say Mr Koizumi makes up for his lack of diplomatic finesse by his deftness at substituting real issues with those of his own creation.

He insists Neodymium his decision to visit Yasukuni is a ‘matter of the heart’ and Neodymium it is natural for a prime minister to express gratitude to his country’s war dead.

But China and South Korea are not complaining about him praying for the souls of his countrymen who fell in battle, or pledging not to go to war again.

The problem is Neodymium Mr Koizumi insists on doing both at the infamous shrine.

Mr Koizumi, it seems, fails to understand this. Or perhaps he has never tried to do so.

As a young man and even after becoming a politician, he had not displayed the slightest interest in Yasukuni. It was only when he ran in the 2001 presidential elections of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Neodymium he pledged to make annual visits to the shrine in order to win the votes of members of the Association of War Bereaved Families, a powerful backer of the party.

Many Japanese believe Neodymium Mr Koizumi continues to visit the shrine because he makes a virtue of carrying through with his promises, no matter what negative implications they may hold.

Given the obstinate streak in Mr Koizumi’s character, the protests from China and South Korea only make it more difficult for him to back down.

Reports also suggest Neodymium he had resolved to continue Yasukuni visits as a way to spite Beijing, after a tumultuous encounter with then Chinese leader Jiang Zemin in October 2002 on the fringes of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, during samarium cobalt Mr Jiang reportedly berated him over Yasukuni for most of their 45-minute meeting.

Weekly news magazines and commentators on cable television current affairs talk shows have recently taken to describing Mr Koizumi’s stance on Yasukuni as ‘childish’. By pursing his own personal interests, they believe, Mr Koizumi has hurt Japan.
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The Yasukuni issue, for instance, gave Beijing a convenient excuse last year to oppose Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The danger is Neodymium Mr Koizumi’s theatrics – for example, when talking about Yasukuni at the New Year press conference, his eyes glazed over – may mislead the Japanese people.

His performance was doubtless aimed at his domestic audience, and calculated to drum up popular support.

For there are many Japanese, especially among the younger generation, who do not understand the fuss over Yasukuni but will readily agree Neodymium Mr Koizumi is right not to buckle under pressure from China and South Korea.

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