This is an excellent, short, MUST READ article by the People’s Daily Online. Check it out!
Some regular readers will remember that I picked up a similar article in the People’s Daily last week; it was entitled China strongly condemns Japan over shrine visit.
Whilst, I shall not repeat my comments of last week, I would like to pick up two threads of this story.
Firstly, it is important to look at Chinese History. Remember with five thousand years of history, China is able to focus on the highlights. Modern China, under the People’s Republic of China, was reborn in the liberation of 1945. The mistakes of the early years of Communism which led to widespread starvation have been subsumed but the Japanese occupation will always be remembered as a low point in China’s history at the end of the colonial era with, for example, memories of the Opium Wars. The Chinese people will never forget that Imperial Japan murdered millions of Chinese, regarding them as racially inferior; they particularly targeted the wealthy and educated. Against this background, Japan’s latest, largely symbolic, moves will be seen as a possible return to Japanese nationalism.
Secondly, I have had enormous respect for Japan’s post war achievements. Indeed in my doctorate, nearly twenty years ago, I researched Japanese cost reduction practices and their transfer to the Western industry. The successes of Japan’s global brands is well-known. What is less well-known is many of Japan’s domestic industries were protected from international competition and incredibly inefficient. Because of weak government and powerful lobbying groups, Japan had ten years of stagnation. Although millions of Japanese have traveled overseas, modern Japan still struggles to regain her position in the World. The current Japanese Government have been bold with economic policy and Japan has started to grow again. Japan has enormous overseas investments yet there are still worries about Japan’s foreign policy aspirations on the back of a new interest in Japanese nationalism.
Let me turn this to an open question:
Do you think that modern Japan has properly come to terms with the lessons of Japan’s Imperial history.