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Dyer’s article not reflective of facts

I FIND that the article “Japan, China and ‘congagement’”, (Zimbabwe Independent, December 9) by Mr Gwynne Dyer is tendentious and contains allegations which do not reflect the facts.

face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Mr Dyer asserted that Japan has joined in a conspiracy to contain China militarily, and enumerated as proof of this conspiracy theory certain recent movements by Japan such as a change to Japan’s peace constitution, Japan’s irresponsible attitude towards its past war crime, etc.

First, he referred to a recent statement made by Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan which proposed a change to Japan’s peace constitution. This is not true, simply because our prime minister has never said that Japan’s peace constitution should be changed.

The proposed amendment to the constitution by the governing Liberal Democratic Party advocates the basic tenet of pacifism and democratic principles.

Second, Mr Dyer observed that Japan is reluctant to take full responsibility for Japan’s past war crime and the lack of proper atonement for it. I would like to point out the following facts: successive prime ministers of Japan have repeatedly expressed their clear remorse and apology regarding what happened during World War II.

Prime Minister Koizumi, for example, stated in his recent address on the occasion of the Asia-African Summit held on April 22 as well as on the occasion of the War Memorial Ceremony on August 15: “In the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations.”

He also expressed in these statements, feelings of “deep remorse and heartfelt apology” and pledged to “further develop its friendly relations with countries all over the world, and to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world”.

In the context of the bilateral relations between Japan and China, both governments agreed and announced in the Joint Declaration on Building a Partnership of Friendship and Cooperation for Peace and Development dated November 26 1998; “The Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious distress and damage that Japan caused to the Chinese people through its aggression against China during a certain period in the past and expressed deep remorse for this.”

Furthermore, I would like to point out that both countries do not have any pending issue regarding war reparation, since in the joint communiqué issued by both governments on September 29 1972, China renounced its demand for war reparation from Japan.

Third, as for Mr Dyer’s assertion about “redefining the Taiwan Strait as a common strategic objective of Japan and the United States”, and about an assertion of “an equal right to interfere militarily in China’s internal affairs”, I would like to point out that both the governments of Japan and the United States agreed, in their joint statement on the occasion of the Japan-US security consultative committee held at ministerial level on February 19, to “encourage the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue.” This has been one of the consistent policies of Japan concerning the Taiwan Strait, and I do not understand why, in Mr Dyer’s view, this position of both governments is translated into “an equal right to interfere militarily in China’s internal affairs”.

Nobuaki Yamamoto,

Deputy head,

Embassy of Japan in


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