Bloomberg column: “A rebuke to Japanese nationalism”, gets it about right


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Hi Blog. Although I have been commenting at length at Japan’s right-wing swing, I have focused little on the geopolitical aspects (particularly how both China and Japan have been lobbying their cases before the congress of world opinion), because is more focused on life and human rights in Japan, and the geopolitics of spin isn’t quite my specialty. That said, I’m happy to cite other articles that get the analysis pretty much right. Here are two, one from Bloomberg, the other from Reuters. After all, Japan can take its constant “victim” narrative only so far, especially in light of its history, and that distance is generally its border.  These articles highlight how outsiders are increasingly unconvinced by the GOJ’s behavior and invective, despite the longstanding bent towards giving Japan the benefit of the doubt as a regional ally.  ARUDOU, Debito


A Rebuke to Japanese Nationalism
By The Editors Bloomberg News, Feb 16, 2014
Courtesy of Baudrillard

A series of recent blunt statements from U.S. officials have left no doubt that Washington blames China’s maritime expansionism for rising tensions in Asia. Now, America’s main ally in the region needs to hear a similarly forthright message.

Japan had been clamoring for the U.S. to speak out more forcefully after China imposed an “air-defense identification zone” over a set of islands claimed by both countries. Officials in Tokyo have warned that any hint of daylight between Americans and Japanese only encourages further bullying from the mainland. For that same reason, U.S. officials have tempered their criticism of statements and actions by Japanese leaders that irk China, not to mention other victims of Japanese aggression during World War II.

This circumspection is becoming counterproductive. Since China imposed its air-defense identification zone in November, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited the deeply controversial Yasukuni shrine, which honors, along with millions of fallen soldiers from various conflicts, 14 Class A war criminals from World War II. What’s more, several of Abe’s nominees to the board of the state broadcaster NHK have made appallingly retrograde comments that Abe has declined to disavow. One claimed the horrific 1937 Nanjing Massacre never took place, while another pooh-poohed complaints that the Japanese military had exploited thousands of women from Korea and elsewhere as sex slaves during the war. Other Abe allies are busily trying to rewrite textbooks to downplay Japan’s wartime brutality.

Japanese officials seem unconcerned with the impression all this creates abroad, arguing that relations with China and even with fellow U.S. ally South Korea can hardly get worse, and in any case are unlikely to improve so long as nationalists remain in power in those countries. A more conciliatory Japanese attitude, they are convinced, would only prompt endless humiliating demands from Beijing and Seoul.

Worse, Japan seems to be taking U.S. backing for granted. Abe went to Yasukuni even after Vice President Joe Biden quietly urged him not to. Details of their conversation were then strategically leaked, presumably to showcase Abe’s defiant stance. In private, Japanese officials snipe about the Barack Obama administration’s alleged unreliability. Anything other than unstinting support for Japan is taken as a lack of backbone.

The U.S. should push back, and less gently than usual. President Obama’s trip to Asia in April is an opportunity for the White House not only to reaffirm its disapproval of Chinese adventurism but also to make clear that Abe’s provocations are threatening stability in the region, and damaging the U.S.-Japan alliance.

This won’t change many minds inside Abe’s inner circle, of course. But most Japanese are acutely sensitive to any hint of U.S. displeasure. (Nearly 70 percent of respondents to one poll called on Abe to heed the negative reaction to his Yasukuni visit, which included a mild expression of “disappointment” from U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.) Voters threw out Abe once before when he let nationalist obsessions distract him from minding the economy. Sustained domestic pressure is needed to rein him in again.

Abe is not necessarily wrong to want to make Japan a more muscular nation — to rejuvenate its economy, open up its society and normalize its self-defense forces. A more robust Japanese military could play a bigger role in promoting global and regional stability — whether through anti-piracy patrols or peacekeeping missions — and come to the defense of its allies. Inflaming Chinese and Korean sensitivities helps achieve none of those goals.

All it does is raise the likelihood of conflict in the region. That Abe’s recent actions and comments may be less dangerous than China’s adventurism is beside the point. He’s eroding the international goodwill that Japan has built up over decades as a responsible democracy — all for no good reason. If he can’t see that for himself, perhaps the U.S. — and his own citizens — can help him.


Abe put Japan on back foot in global PR war with China
REUTERS, FEB 17, 2014

Japan risks losing a global PR battle with China after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to a controversial shrine for war dead and comments by other prominent figures on the wartime past helped Beijing try to paint Tokyo as the villain of Asia.

Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by territorial rows, regional rivalry and disputes stemming from China’s bitter memories of Japan’s occupation of parts of the country before and during World War II.

Relations chilled markedly after a feud over disputed East China Sea isles flared in 2012.

Beijing, however, has stepped up its campaign to sway international public opinion since Abe’s Dec. 26 visit to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine. The shrine is seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism because it honors leaders convicted as Class-A war criminals with millions of war dead.

That strategy has helped China shift some of the debate away from its growing military assertiveness in Asia, including double-digit defense spending increases and the recent creation of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea that was condemned by Tokyo and Washington, experts said.

“Right now, this is a real war,” said Shin Tanaka, president of the FleishmanHillard Japan Group in Tokyo, a communications consultancy.

“Japan and China are using missiles called ‘messages’ and the reality is that a lot of damage is already happening in both countries,” he added, warning of a mutual backlash of nationalist emotions and potential harm to business ties.

Abe has repeatedly said he did not visit the shrine to honor war criminals but to pay his respects to those who died for their country and pledge Japan would never again go to war.

Getting that message across is not easy, communications and political experts said. Abe’s Yasukuni visit “gave China the opportunity . . . to attack Japan and send the message that China is the good guy and Japan is the bad guy,” Tanaka said.

Some Japanese diplomats and officials dismissed any suggestion they were worried, saying Tokyo’s rebuttals and the country’s postwar record of peace would win the day.

“Their Goebbelsian PR binge — repeat it 100 times then it becomes true, ungrounded or not — shows all the symptoms of a Leninist regime still remaining in the 21st century,” Tomohiko Taniguchi, a councilor in the Cabinet secretariat of the prime minister’s office, said in an email.

He was referring to Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s minister of propaganda from 1933 to 1945.

“Yes we feel annoyed, but the next moment we relax for we have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Still, experts said Abe’s shrine visit had made it easier for Beijing to try to link Abe’s plans to bolster the military and loosen limits on the pacifist Constitution to Japan’s militarist past.

“The most fundamental thing they say is to assert that Japan is going on a path of militarism a la the 1930s. That’s just nonsense,” said Daniel Sneider, associate director for research at Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. “But the problem is the Chinese are able to blur a lot of this stuff because of what Abe did.”

Recent remarks about Japan’s wartime past by the chairman of NHK and members of its board of governors have added grist to China’s PR mill.

Among those remarks were comments by new NHK Chairman Katsuto Momii, who told a news conference last month that the “comfort women” — a euphemism for the vast number of females forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels — had counterparts in every country at war at that time. He later apologized.

NHK’s chief is selected by a board of governors that includes four Abe appointees.

Since the start of the year, Chinese ambassadors and other officials have targeted Japan 69 times in media around the world, the Foreign Ministry said in Tokyo. The campaign includes interviews, written commentaries and news conferences.

As of Feb. 10, Japan had issued rebuttals in 67 cases with the other two under review, Foreign Ministry spokesman Masaru Sato said.

Asked if China had won over international opinion, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said countries such as South Korea — where memories of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule run deep — had also criticized Tokyo.

“The mistaken ways of the Japanese leader have incurred the strong opposition of the international community,” Hua told reporters. “China is willing to work with other victims of the war and the international community to uphold historical justice.”

The verbal jousting has spanned the globe from capitals such as London and Washington to remote Fiji and South Sudan.

The best known exchanges are the “Voldemort attacks” in which China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, last month compared Japan to the villain in the Harry Potter children’s book series. In reply, Japan’s envoy, Keiichi Hayashi, said China risked becoming “Asia’s Voldemort.”

“We try to explain that Japan faces its history squarely and has expressed remorse . . . (and that) Japan will continue to pursue the path of a peace-loving country,” Sato said.

“Sometimes they try to link the visit to the shrine to security policy. That is a totally unrelated matter.”

Still, some in Japan fear that China’s PR blitz is having an impact on world opinion.

“A lie is repeated so that people are brainwashed and start to believe it,” Akira Sato, head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s panel on defense policy, told Reuters.

Echoed a Western diplomat in Beijing: “China is being successful at getting its message across while Japan keeps saying stupid things like questioning the existence of comfort women. I think (China) has changed opinions.”

Tokyo’s mostly reactive approach, some PR experts said, was not enough to sway international public opinion, a worry some Japanese diplomats share privately.

“Japan is very worried that China is winning this propaganda war,” said an Asian diplomat based in Beijing. “Their diplomats have been asking how they can better put their side of the story and win people over in the West.”

That could be tough if Abe declines to say whether he will visit Yasukuni again or other prominent Japanese figures make contentious comments on wartime history, experts said.

Other matters, such as revisionist changes to Japanese textbooks to promote patriotism, could add fuel to the fire.

“Even if he doesn’t go to Yasukuni again, there are plenty of issues on their (the Japanese government’s) agenda,” Sneider said.


29 comments on “Bloomberg column: “A rebuke to Japanese nationalism”, gets it about right

  • I won’t 100% side with Japan against China, but I’d put that figure at 90%. Given its bullying of all its neighbours, rampant human rights abuses and genocide in places like Tibet, compared to China, Japan is a model global citizen, even if as we all know there are issues.

  • In regards to this thread, the comment I made above (not the first time this year that this guy has criticized Obama’s commitment to Japan), and the continuing appalling statements from Abe’s hand-picked friends at NHK, is all part of Abe’s wider plan.

    I think that Abe wants to show the nationalists that he is ‘the Japan that can say up-yours buddy’, and I also deeply suspect that he is trying to manipulate a situation whereby the US administration either; denounce him publicly by name, or Obama decides to slight him by ‘skipping Japan’ on his up-coming Asian trip, or the US administration doubts the utility of the future of the alliance if Abe et al continue to make statements that are unpalatable to the US public.

    My money is on the last option, so that Abe can arrange the leak of any US hint that the alliance could be questioned, so that Abe can use the resulting ‘fear of Chinese power’ as an excuse for more explicit re-militarization (and maybe nuclear weapons), and make formal security alliances with other Asian nations (prohibited by the US-Japan alliance) thus fulfilling (in Abe’s mind at least) his dream of a new Asia with Japan as leader.

  • We here, & the pot-kettle argument are in fact liberal; we take the middle road.

    Yet Japan fans will see us as radicals, because we are not blind or fawning, as Bloomberg points out. The Japanese establishment lacks maturity; sometimes your best friends will give you honest criticism if you are wrong or on a dangerous path.

    To childishly pout and act the victim is churlish.

    Similarly, those pro China or with an axe to grind against Japan, will see us as radicals.

    And yet we merely say both sides are to blame. The percentage of blame to be allocated to which side is missing the point, is pedantic.

    Japan is incorrectly branded as a “reliable, Western country”. In fact, it is prohibited from making alliances with other countries than the United States,no one wonder there are moves from both major Japanese parties to change this.

    Tho for different reasons, Abe is as sure to fail in this as did Hatoyama.

    Similarly, China has rebranded itself as a reasonable economic partner of the west. I laughed when a former boss of mine from Shanghai felt the urge to suddenly tell us all in a meeting, “China is no longer communist”.

    Really. Well was it ever? But I seem to recall the name of the government is “CCP”

    I applaud for taking the middle ground. Anyone who doesnt has either bought into the Japan Brand or the China Brand, i.e. has a vested interest.

    Pot, meet Kettle again.

    — I don’t think China is a paragon of good (just as I don’t think any nation-state is, although some nations and societies try harder to be responsible global members and give decent treatment to all residents and good-faith visitors). But I definitely don’t think Japan has been taken to task enough for its past or present actions (at least not the way China has, quite rightly). If that’s a middle ground, okay, but I just say that’s an honest accounting.

  • HA! I really thought this was about Japan on first reading:“Their Goebbelsian PR binge — repeat it 100 times then it becomes true, ungrounded or not — shows all the symptoms of a Leninist regime still remaining in the 21st century,” Tomohiko Taniguchi, a councilor in the Cabinet secretariat of the prime minister’s office, said in an email.

    Repeat it 100 times with no change, no concession, until you get tired (hopefully) and give in to what they deicded they wanted years ago is what Japan usually does both on the macro govt level to the micro level- e.g. the awkward customer, boss or even stalker/hostess bar customer.

    Wearing down tactics as opposed to sensible, logical dialogue or tacticial negotiating.


  • @ Johnny T #2

    Why do you have to take either side? The only ‘side’ to take is respect people as human beings.
    Why are you pointing out that China has ‘alleged’ human rights issues? What has that got to do with Abe and his right-wing gang hi-jacking public discourse, changing the law. and indulging in the pursuit of their own imperialist fantasies? What are you trying to say, that China ‘deserves’ to be abused by Japan again? Or are you saying that China’s human rights record is worse than Japan’s, so Japan is the ‘good guy’? Maybe there are just two ‘bad guys’.
    Japan *was* a ‘model global citizen’ right up to Dec 26th, 2012 (if I’m being generous) and then it started back-tracking on all the good work it had done since the end of the war with all these revisionist statements about sex-slaves, Nanking, 731, ‘victors justice’, kamikaze, etc. Now I think that Japan was just telling the world what it thought the world wanted to hear since 1945, and the honne was always ‘tenno heika banzai!’.

    If you haven’t noticed, the kind of people you’re apologizing for, are the kind of people who would say ‘go home gaijin’ if you told them that you only support Japan ‘90%’.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Mr. Nobutaka Machimura made a quick response to Eto’s erratic pillory on US over Abe’s Yasukuni visit.

    Machimura is a former two-time MEXT ministry and MOFA ministry during Koizumi era. Arguably, he’s one of the very few moderate LDP politicians. Most of his political records looks fine, except for the issues with political funding and connections with PM Abe(NOTE: he’s Abe’s Senpai within the party sectors).

    Here’s his criticism of Eto:


    It’s unnecessary to make it public if you’re gonna say it and retract it in the next moment. That’s how [critics] show we are being slacking off and arrogant as an entire LDP. This kind of remarks will do no good by hurting us so bad.

    — I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you regarding Machimura as a “moderate”. He’s a silver-spoon botchan entitled zombie candidate LDP mould for gorilla cookies like the rest of the LDP elite. Except that he comes from my electoral district in Hokkaido, and has to temper his words somewhat vis-a-vis minorities. If being less entitled in the sense of not having blue-blooded elites as relatives (he’s a scion of a very prosperous branded farming family) like Abe makes him a moderate, then okay, but make no mistake: Machimura is still part of the rot that personifies the LDP as a ruling party.

  • Loverilakkuma says:


    Oh, that’s fine. I’m sure there’s a moot point in how to describe politicians as “moderate,” “far-left”, or “far-right.” I use the term “moderate” just like I see Mitt Romney in contrast to other hardcore GOP candidates like Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich. I have rarely seen Machimura saying something really stupid–like many LDP politicians do in the Diet. Of course, this doesn’t mean I give him a seal of my approval, as I touched upon his questionable records on political donation and connections with Abe.

    So, there’s no doubt he’s a wolf-in-a-sheep-clothes sitting in the back watching his people from behind. But, I don’t know how a ‘silver spoon-fed zombie’ can be different from ‘Mitten Kitty’ sitting on a million-dollar couch every day (even during his presidential rally in 2012). Hmmm.

  • Debito – I’m interested to hear your take on Yoshiro Mori’s comments about naturalized citizens Chris and Cathy Reed. Sounds to me that “naturalized” is not good enough for him (although their mother is Japanese)
    We all know him to be one of the most inept PMs in the history of the country, a real feat considering the steady stream of them. However, he is now head of the organizing committee for Tokyo 2020.
    One huge point to remember is that he has never made a peep concerning the several fast-tracked naturalized Kiwis on his beloved national rugby team. If there is rot in the LDP, this animal is ground zero.

    — Please send us a link.

  • @Jim Di Griz
    Fair enough, I know you have an axe to grind re Japan, and that’s fine. All I am saying is that when it comes to Japan and China, Japan is by far the lesser of the two evils. It would be utterly myopic to think otherwise.

  • @ Johnny, there is no greater or lesser, just intertwined antagonists. Abe’s Japan is the trigger for increasing tensions with China. He also gives China moral ground, when there shouldnt be any. Even if we see it your way, Abe’s antics distract the world from concentrating on taking China to task.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Johnny, #11

    >”Japan is by far the lesser of the two evils.”

    I don’t disagree with this statement with the exception for the emphasis “by far.” China is definitely NOT a role model of good, democratic country.

    But this doesn’t give Abe and right-wing LDP leaders any justification for political moves and choices they are making. Especially the way Abe regime instigates their opponent in a way to make them more hostile–rather than reaching out to help refusing the tension. Japan and China have a long history of diplomatic conflict way before Japan’s bid for UN Security Council and the Senkakus. The government has a plenty of time and opportunity to reconcile the issues. But, in many cases, they simply shut down diplomatic communications by saying ‘unresolved’ territorial and historical issues ‘resolved.’ That’s the cultural norm of GOJ since the Nakasone Era—and it has deeply sunken into their heart until today.

  • Why are Abe and Co acting like China then?

    They are sinking to China’s level with this tit for tat behavior. Dont forget it was Ishihara who started this- he wouldnt let sleeping dogs lie.

    I hope these arent the dogs of war.

  • “”@Jim Di Griz
    Fair enough, I know you have an axe to grind re Japan, and that’s fine.”

    I ll bet Jim started out as a Japan fan, fooled as man of us were by the happy smiley Japan as future of humanity in the 80s and then got disillusioned.

    Japan (Govt and society) really has reaped what it has sown if alot of NJs leave as detractors- they put out a lot of fake, false images creating cognitive dissonance, and then give incorrect explanations to vistors along the lines of “In Japan We….”

  • The only axe I’ve got to grind I’d that Japan can’t stop lying to itself and the world about itself.

    @ Baudrillard;

    Bang on!
    I used to love Japan because I didn’t know anything about it.
    Now I can see the truth behind the lies, and I find it offensive.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    FYI, I just found the EWC presentation by Japanese scholar Dr. Yoichiro Sato today. Dr. Sato came to Washington, DC for speaking a couple of weeks ago. He mainly talked about international perception of Japan’s national narrative, focusing on Yasukuni controversy. Although Dr. Sato doesn’t defend Abe, he challenges the critics’ excessive characterization of Japan’s right-wing swing in relation to the constitution of Abe’s popular votes.

    That’s the main focus of the issue.

    I think you might be a bit confused since he said he’s slightly leaning toward “conservative” compared to his comrades(he describes Asia Pacific as “liberal”). But he has no ties with national government, and he’s way better than Abe’s gaijin handler–Dr. Kitaoka.

  • Well, this wasn’t in the script;

    How is Abe going to overturn the constitution and restore the emperor when both the Emporer and the Crown Prince are in favor of defending the current constitution? Perhaps he will have to copy Mishima and say that whilst the Emporer is indeed a living god, this particular Emporer is a traitor?

    And hang on a moment, here’s the Emporer and the Crown Prince saying that the constitution is the basis of Japan’s post-war prosperity! I was reading only the other day that Abe said that he visited Yasakuni for peace, because today’s prosperous Japan is due to the soldiers who died in the war. And I also read a similar claim in support of the UNESCO listing for the Kamikaze letters!

    I think that it is about time the Japanese royal family put the nationalists back in their box. What will the nationalists do now that the symbol they have adopted/refused to give up, is acting against them.

  • Jim, good point. There is a precedent for the emperor reigning in extreme rightists, e.g. the October movement in the 30s, I think it was.

    In the UK the king/Queen has powers (that they do not usually use) which are thus denied to a prime minister. Japan is a bit like this- shudder to think if Abe had the powers of the French or American president.

  • This is interesting:

    “..Chinese lawmakers on Thursday approved 3 September as Victory Day and 13 December as a memorial day for Nanjing, Chinese state media said….A Chinese spokeswoman said marking the days was “a necessity in current circumstances”….”


  • ..and to follow on from the above:

    “..Japan will form a team to review the lead-up to a 1993 statement which acknowledged its wartime use of sex slaves, its top spokesman says…”


    At least some are more pragmatic

    “..Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama has urged against any revision of the apology….Speaking in Tokyo on Thursday, Mr Murayama, who was prime minister from June 1994 to January 1996, said that the Kono statement was based on evidence…”


  • Scores of copies of Anne Frank’s diaries have been torn up in Tokyo libraries (

    For context, Deputy Prime minister Aso recently publically praised the Nazis
    (, while far fight groups have been adopting neonazi imagery, threatening to hold “anti-Jewish rallies,” and celebrating Hitler’s birthday (

  • Baudrillard says:

    ..Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama has urged against any revision of the apology”
    @ John, I was going to post that too, as Debito didnt like him for his (more likely, the LDP bureaucrats”)procrastination over the Kobe earthquake.

    But I think he is one of the good guys. Hell, even Koizumi is a good guy compared to Abe.

    — Don’t forget Murayama’s direct link in causing the implosion of the Japan Socialist Party. But anyway, Murayama did good with the wartime guilt admissions.

  • Oh dear…poor old Abe. Once the school ground bully makes noises about defending themselves against aggression, it just attracts more attention……seems like he’s bitten off more than he can chew

    “..Japan says it will strongly protest to Russia over military exercises it is staging on disputed islands off northern Japan…” *

    Abe cant force everyone to his own agenda of “peace”….funny that!


    — Not really news. Russia/USSR has been doing this sort of thing for decades now, and plenty of protests are reflexively lodged from Japan’s side. I doubt the Russian side is doing it in response to Japan’s rightward swing in particular, although Abe is probably going through the motions to keep the ping-pong ball in play from his side of the table. It’s just the typical thrust and parry of geopolitics here. Especially in August every year, when Japan remembers not only the atomic bombings down south, but also the seizure of the Northern Territories in the closing days of WWII (I’ve happened to be in the Nemuro area three times for the right-wing sound truck demonstrations, and living more than two decades in Hokkaido have imbued me with a sense of governmental mission regarding these islands).

    The article:

    Japan angry at Russian army drills on disputed islands
    PHOTO: Volcano Mendeleyev is silhouetted against the sunset on Kunashir Island, one of the Kuril Islands,
    The islands lie off Japan’s northern-most island of Hokkaido
    BBC NEWS. 13 August 2014

    Japan says it will strongly protest to Russia over military exercises it is staging on disputed islands off northern Japan.

    The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said the drills were totally unacceptable.

    He has been trying to improve relations with Russia at a time of high tension with China over other islands, but has angered Moscow by backing sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.

    Russian media said 1,000 troops and attack helicopters were taking part.

    The dispute over the islands, known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, have prevented the two countries signing a formal peace treaty.

    They were seized by Soviet troops at the end of the Second World War and the Japanese population was expelled in the years that followed.

    Mr Abe met the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, five times during his first year in office.

    He has been trying to improve relations with a country that is becoming an ever larger source of oil and gas to the region.

    Japan, as a close ally of the United States, imposed sanctions on Moscow over the annexation of Crimea, but has kept them lighter than some other countries for fear of antagonising Mr Putin.

  • D.A.D

    I take your point, but agreed, this is not necessarily news worth owing to its annual occurrence and the fact that Japan is still technically at war with Russia, not having signed any peace treaty. BUT…with Abe’s nationalistic push, for votes/approval at home and changing the rules to “arm” himself better and attempt to act as a peace maker, by having a large number of tools at his disposal, the annual spats have risen in their intensity and purpose. As noted by many media outlets Abe is stoking the fires not quelling them….as he attempts to portray to his neighbours. I cannot image Abe being “forceful” with China, and Russia, let along the other spats he has to address…in a fight with either…he would loose and badly. He may be doing the usual posturing as he does every year….but as we have seen in the Crimea, Russia doesn’t care about what others think or say..if it wants, it goes for it. Abe’s merry dancing for respect on the global stage “to protect its neighbours” for the sake of peace….may be his undoing if Russia decides its had enough…

  • John,

    Russia could care less about Abe’s domestic political posturing. They are pissed because Japan went along with the US/EU on sanctions re Ukraine. Now, if Japan were politically like Russia, this is the time when they would send in some “liberators” to take back the territories with Russia occupied in Ukraine. But Russia knows Japan is not like them politically and this will never happen. I don’t see any military conflict between Russia and Japan as conceivable unless there is some huge change in geopolitics, like Russia completely collapses again and this time Japan has a nuke shield that definitely works, and the Russian military in the East all quit.


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