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Politician wants to provoke a clash between China and the US so Japan can rise again as a political and military power
The seeds of the current crisis between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands originated with the national magistrate conference of Japan in April 2010 when the Japanese media tried hard to sensationalize the Chinese navy's normal activities.
Former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara questioned then-Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama on whether the Japan-US Security Treaty was applicable to China's Diaoyu Islands (known as the Senkakus in Japan). After reiterating the agreement reached by the United States and Japan during the Liberal Democratic Party's regime that the security treaty applied to the islands, Hatoyama said Japan still needed to talk with China about the sovereignty of the islands.
These words infuriated Ishihara and Japan's cyberspace was immediately filled with accusations that Hatoyama had "betrayed" his country. This was the first blow delivered by Ishihara in his scheme to overthrow the Hatoyama Cabinet, which was forced by the will of the Japanese people to dismantle because of the Futenma Air Base issue in July that year.
A "forbidden rule" was thus formulated that no Japanese politicians are allowed to acknowledge the dispute between Japan and China.
Then the collision between Japanese and Chinese vessels in the waters off Diaoyu Islands in 2010 during prime minister Naoto Kan's Cabinet plunged Sino-Japanese ties to a new low since the two countries resumed their diplomatic relations after World War II. Yet, the close economic and trade relations between China and Japan, the cooperation among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea in their efforts to establish free-trade agreements, and the progress in the negotiations between China and Japan on their currency swap gradually thawed the freezing diplomatic relations.
Ishihara, feeling uneasy with the improving Sino-Japan ties and seeking to enrage China, declared Tokyo would "purchase" the islands during his visit to the United States in late April 2012. He said if China opposed his purchase it would be declaring war with Japan. He chose to preach his nonsense in the US. But he had miscalculated, believing a war with China was already on the US' agenda because of Obama's return to the Asia-Pacific strategy. He then launched a fundraising campaign to "purchase" the islands and former Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda took the opportunity to declare the "nationalization" of the Diaoyu Islands. Since then, the islands dispute between China and Japan has escalated into a crisis.
It was not a flash of wit when Ishihara made his declaration to "purchase" the islands but rather part of a well-planned conspiracy with ready schemes, strategies and "dreams". A recent Japanese book Senkaku Islands: Magic of Territorial Nationalism, clearly exposes Ishihara's schemes, strategies and dreams and points out the dispute actually provides a platform for Ishihara to pursue "antagonism nationalism". Ishihara's ultimate political purposes are to topple the post-war order built by the US and the United Nations after the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, rid Japan of its position as "concubine of the US" and rearm and revitalize Japan as the "Empire of Japan".
However, he dared not show the spearhead directly to the US because he knew it would be doomed to failure. So he designed very delicate stages. First, provoke China by stressing the Diaoyu Islands are jointly defended by the Japan and the US under the Japan-US Security Treaty. Second, as China will necessarily rise to the provocation and take action, Japanese politicians will proclaim a "State calamity" and seek to amend Japan's Constitution and rearm Japan's Self-Defence Forces. Third, if there is a clash over the Diaoyu Islands, the US will necessarily be involved and the conflict between China and the US will benefit Japan as a bystander, giving it the golden opportunity to get rid of the US and rise again as not only an economic power but also a political and military power.
Ishihara has long been called the "anti-three man": anti-China, anti-the US and anti-government. He hates the US, because his father, a representative of a shipping company, saw almost all the company's ships scuttled during the war. The good old days came to an end, and his hatred toward the US was ignited.
He even dreamed that Japan would win the war and Singapore would be Japan's Light of the South and the whole Pacific Ocean would be Japan's "continental sea". But his dream evaporated.
He can only take an indirect path to rescue his dream of empire, not waging war directly with China or the US, but manipulating the US and China to confront each other according to a scenario directed by him. In his mind, the confrontation between China and the US will create the "opportunity" for Japan to militarily rise again.
But neither China nor the US will endow Japan with this kind of opportunity.
The Japanese government must realize the US will not allow it to have a war with China either. As the Japanese book on the Diaoyu Islands dispute pointed out: "Most people have already seen through Ishihara's crafty plot of sowing discord between China and the US."
The author is a senior researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
(China Daily 01/30/2013 page8)