The English version of the Asahi Shimbun article about the U.S. action against China in the WTO over intellectual property has a pretty obvious headline: “WTO complaints against China put Japan in a bind.” It addresses the fact that the U.S. government asked Japan to join the action (and they haven’t decided yet as far as I’ve seen), and how that’s kind of awkward when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is in Tokyo for a “thawing” visit.
But the final two paragraphs seem to make a point of sticking it to China more than the United States:
Honda Motor Co., for example, has won a suit against a Chinese company that made “Hongda” motorcycles. In the 10 years ending in January, Chinese authorities acted on about 2,000 cases of intellectual property rights violations involving Honda products and technology.
Meanwhile, Chinese vendors sell batteries labeled “Sqny” (not Sony Corp.) and pirated versions of Japanese anime DVDs.
Francis Fukuyama, the U.S.-born political scientist who made his name by declaring another discipline, history, to be so over in End of History and the Last Man, does not work much with Japanese issues, despite what some people assume based on his name.
But he learned something about establishment Japanese nationalism when he had The End of History translated into Japanese. His publisher chose Watanabe Shoichi [jp], an ally of Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro, to be translator. Fukuyama describes his revelation:
In the course of a couple of encounters, I heard him explain in front of large public audiences how the people of Manchuria had tears in their eyes when the occupying Kwantung Army left China, so grateful were they to Japan. According to Watanabe, the Pacific War boiled down to race, as the US was determined to keep a non-white people down. Watanabe is thus the equivalent of a Holocaust denier, but, unlike his German counterparts, he easily draws large and sympathetic audiences.
Remind me to screen potential translators later in life for holocaust deniers! But in this column, Fukuyama’s greatest insight is this: “The legitimacy of the entire American military position in the Far East is built around the US exercising Japan’s sovereign function of self-defense.”
Fukuyama makes some pretty odd assumptions in the column, including that the United States government would prefer that Japan not revise Article 9, but this observation certainly seems to support that idea.
I’m reading Margaret MacMillan’s Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World these days. Here’s a paragraph to consider from page 97.
In the early days of the republic, many Chinese looked to the United States as a model—of government, but also of a society. President Woodrow Wilson’s promises of a new world order founded on justice and peace, his talk of national self-determination, and his evident antipathy to Japanese attempts to dominate China and the rapid expansion of Japanese forces into Siberia in the wake of the Russian Revolution made him, briefly, a hero to nationalistic Chinese. That came to an abrupt end in 1919, when Wilson took a prominent role in the gift of former German posessions in China and Japan. The americans, so many Chinese concluded, were simply imperialists in republican clothing
Sometimes, it’s useful to remember that arrangements of the China–United States–Japan triangle have been so different in the last century as to seem a fantasy hypothetical—something out of a Star Trek: The Next Generation allegory.
A Nikkei Shimbun poll found that the Japanese public ranks China as Japan’s highest diplomatic priority, followed by the United States and South Korea.
Reuters reports that the leaders of the United States, Japan, and China will meet in Hanoi:
China, Japan and the United States will “exchange views on bilateral ties and international and regional issues of common concern” on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Hanoi, the official Xinhua news agency reported in a brief dispatch.