Toshio Nishi: The New Japanese Nationalism
Toshio Nishi is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Japan has been apologizing since the summer of 1945; apologizing to its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific and to the United States. Have we, the Japanese, been kowtowing to the point that no nation believes our sincerity? Or do the Asia-Pacific nations demand more of our prostration? The scene is perhaps like an addict needing a more potent drug every passing day: the drug being Japan’s apology, and the addict you could easily guess.
Don’t the Japanese get sick and tired of our same miserable behavior? Yes, we do. Indeed, a proverbial swing has moved a little toward the center, and Japan has become assertive and recently proclaimed ownership for some little rocks sticking out of the water in the Sea of Japan.
China and South Korea are shocked to see Japan’s unexpected nationalistic, neo-militaristic resurgence. The United States wisely stays out of this potentially volatile shouting match. There is a very good reason for unfriendly bickering. Below the rocks, under the seabed, huge oil and natural gas deposits have been discovered.
Something is going on under the surface of a polite Japanese society that previously enjoyed unprecedented wealth and now is suffering from two decades of recession (but is still without much crime). Granted, the largest earthquake and tsunami in our memory and the four nuclear meltdowns never before experienced in our history have wrecked our daily lives. Yet, on its surface, Japan remains calm and collected. The people’s indignation, however, is heating up within...
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