Junichiro Koizumi, the Japanese premier started his visit to China with the unexampled act of contrition, but he returned to Tokyo being very satisfied.
If a figure from a large, influential power starts a one-day business visit to a neighbouring country with a visit to museum – this surely looks outstanding, wouldn’t you say. Especially if it happens in the critical situation for the whole world. The premier of Japan started the visit with the Marco Polo Bridge - he went there straight from a Beijing airport. This is the war memorial in the memory of the events, when the Japanese samurais undertook the armed provocation in July of 1937. A bit later, when having a conversation with the Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, Junichiro Koizumi claimed he deeply realized the grief of those sufferings, which were caused to the Chinese nation by the war. Like it was reported, Koizumi apologized, expressed his feeling of sorrow to the Chinese, who died during the past aggressive war, launched by Japan. He stressed, Japan must determine the ways for its future development on the ground of deep repentance in order not to allow any new war to happen. On the day of the visit (Monday, September 8) the new war started, however: Junichiro Koizumi’s plane landed in Beijing several hours after America’s first strike on Afghanistan. Japan has ambitious plans connected with that “anti-terrorist” war by the way, and the Japanese premier’s trip to China had the direct implication to those plans.
The Chinese press could not but show the extreme satisfaction with that visit in light of the verbal expressions from the Japanese premier (Junichiro Koizumi laid a wreath at the Chinese war memorial on Monday), as if China forgot that it was Koizumi who took part in the ritual at the Japanese Yasukuni Shrine, in which there were memorial boards honoring the major Japanese military criminals. That ritual raised a wave of protests in all Asian countries, which suffered from Japanese aggression during the World War II. Japan’s media do not blame their premier for that. On the contrary, they report Junichiro Koizumi achieved a “shift” - understanding on the part of China’s leaders towards the changing role of the Japanese “self-defense forces.”
The thing is that the post-war constitution of Japan does not allow Japan’s armed forces to participate in any operations abroad. The “anti-terrorist” operation is like a chance for Japan to take its military forces out of its small territory right into the world. As the Japanese newspapers wrote, the parliament was preparing the adequate correction to the Major law.
Thus, in the course of the brief visit to Beijing, each party is entitled to talk about the diplomatic victory. But if Beijing’s victory (which took the form of Junichiro Koizumi act of contrition) refers to the past, then Tokyo’s victory looks into the future.
Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru Beijing
Reuters photo: Chinese President Jiang Zemin (L) clasps hands with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi