Day: Wednesday, 12 March 2014 @ 23:43

Editorial – Punish Russia and side with US – yes, but…

Russia (read Putin) is rushing to annex Ukrainian Crimea peninsula ignoring the international law. US will surely impose quite severe sanctions (though many of those will be unannounced) on Russia and most importantly on Russian officials and state-owned enterprises.

Personally I very much welcome the Ukrainian revolution and would like to help it in any way to fight much stronger and nationalistic Russia, but if we think about Japan’s national interests how should we go about the issue?

Obviously the US is the biggest and the strongest ally of Japan and the common sense and international law calls for Japan to side with US on this issue. And Japan should do so because it is the right thing to do.

But should Japan go over the board as some East-European countries do? – no, there is no reasons for this. It will not be in our country’s interests. PM Abe chose a so-called ‘personal’ approach strategy in relations with Russia. The strategy a developed country would usually take in Africa, maintaining good relations with the local chief even if he eats his rivals for dinner. But probably Abe did not have a better one. Anyhow, he tries to maintain good relationships with Putin. But behind the Crimea invasion is Putin himself. If Japan is to take a harder stance on the Crimea issue, this will certainly hinder Abe’s strategy.

Japan has already stated its position as a G7 member and frozen any preparations for the upcoming G8 meeting in Sochi. Today there was another statement that G7 members will take further steps (probably sanctions) against Russia. And the steps will be taken by both G7 as a whole and by the individual countries.

Surely Japan should participate in any collective G7 steps against Russia. However, it is very probable that our American allies would ask Japan to impose further sanctions on Russia and/or to support the wider US sanctions. Here is where Japan has a space for maneuver. The recent American “disappointment” about PM Abe’s visit to Yasukuni will certainly be a part of the bargain.

Japan should act smartly and carefully on any ‘additional’ sanctions against Russia and I believe Abe is the person who can abstract himself away from any lobbyist groups and act solely in the best interests of Japan.

by naokawa


“Comfort women animation” failed to receive the Canadian Screen Award amidst the protests of the Japanese residing in Canada

Animation “Mary and Myself” created by the two Canadian female postgraduate students of Chinese decent from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design failed to receive the Canadian Screen Award.

This animation is dealing with the theme of ‘comfort women’ and raised numerous protests of the Japanese citizens residing and Canada and also the women in Japan protesting that “this lie is being spread over Canada and the entire world as if it was a truth”.

Amongst the protesting groups were the “The Canadian Japanese protecting the honor of Japan” and the network of Japanese women group “Nadesiko Action” that aims to pass down the knowledge of the true history to the next generation. They appealed that “should this animation win the award the lie that ‘from 200 thousand to 500 thousand women were abducted by the Japanese army’ will spread around the world”. They called for petitions of protest to be sent to the executive committee of the Canadian Screen Awards and to the college.


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