Posts Tagged Shinzō Abe

China Criticises Abe’s Visit to Shrine

Shinzo AbeChina summoned Tokyo’s ambassador on Thursday and delivered a “strong protest and severe reprimand” over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the flashpoint Yasukuni shrine, the foreign ministry said.

Foreign minister Wang Yi said the move — the first such visit by an incumbent Japanese prime minister since 2006 — was “a flagrant provocation against international justice and treads arbitrarily on humanity’s conscience”, according to a ministry statement on its website.

China-Japan relations were “already grim”, it said, adding: “It’s absolutely intolerable for the Chinese side.”

Tensions between the two were already high over disputed islands inthe East China Sea.

The Japanese embassy in Beijing said a meeting between Chinese vice-premier Liu Yandong and visiting Japanese lawmakers had been cancelled.

Yasukuni is believed to be the repository of around 2.5 million souls of Japan’s war dead, most of them common soldiers but also including 14 high-level officials indicted for war crimes after World War II.

“The essence of Japanese leaders’ visits to the Yasukuni shrine is to beautify Japan’s history of militaristic aggression and colonial rule,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement immediately after Abe’s action.

Abe was “brutally trampling on the feelings of the Chinese people and those of other victimised Asian countries”, he added.

China’s ruling Communist Party seeks to bolster its public support by tapping into deep-seated resentment of Japan for its brutal invasion of the country in the 1930s.

Before and during World War II Japanese forces swept through much of east Asia, and their treatment of both civilians and prisoners of war was often appalling.

According to estimates by Chinese government researchers, China lost 20.6 million people directly from the war.

The 1937 Nanjing Massacre was one of the worst atrocities. Qin told reporters at a regular briefing that if Abe genuinely wanted to improve relations between Tokyo and its neighbours, “he should go to the memorial for the Nanjing Massacre rather than to Yasukuni shrine”.

Even now the two countries’ history is a key element of the backdrop to their bitter dispute over islands in the East China Sea, which Beijing sees as having been seized by Tokyo at the start of its expansionism.

The world’s second- and third-biggest economies have significant business ties, but politically their relationship is often troubled. At times tensions over the islands have raised fears of a military incident.

Taiwan, which Japan colonised from 1895 to 1945, urged Tokyo to “face the facts and remember the lessons from history to refrain from taking any moves to hurt the people’s feelings in neighbouring countries”, according to a foreign ministry statement.

In a commentary soon after Abe’s shrine visit, Xinhua said he “knows perfectly what he is doing and the consequences”.

“Instead of a pledge against war, as Abe has claimed, the visit is a calculated provocation to stoke further tension,” it said, adding that the visit “is the culmination of Abe’s year-long policy of right-wing nationalism”.

Users of China’s popular social networks responded with fury, with many noting that Abe made his move on the same day that Chinese President Xi Jinping was paying tribute to Mao Zedong on the 120th anniversary of the former leader’s birth.

“The base of Abe’s power comes from his confrontation with China, so whatever upsets China, that’s what he’ll do,” said one post.

“No matter what he says about China-Japan friendship, Asian prosperity and joint promotion of peace, it’s all a facade.”


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French President Hollande Praises “Abenomics”

Hollande and Abe

French President Francois Hollande said on Friday the big spending and ultra-loose money aimed at boosting Japan’s flagging economy was “good news” for austerity-weary Europe.

Speaking in Tokyo, where he is on a three day visit, he noted the apparent early success of policies implemented by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his bid to end 15 years of growth-sapping deflation.

“The Japanese government has taken a number of measures since Mr Abe’s team came to power,” he told reporters. “It is not for me to judge them, they are a matter for Japan.

“But the priority given to growth and the fight against deflation, along with the emphasis on competitiveness for business… is good news for Europe, because in Europe we also have to give priority to growth.”

France is leading a growing charge in Europe against Germany’s insistence on fiscal discipline as the eurozone tries to dig itself out from under a mountain of uninspiring economic news.

In a draft document released in April, Hollande’s Socialist Party pilloried German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her “selfish” insistence on austerity as the solution to Europe’s debt crisis.

It said she was obsessed with “Berlin’s trade balance and her electoral future”.

Since his election a year ago, Hollande has vowed to tip the main focus of Europe’s economic recovery efforts towards growth rather than austerity.

Japan’s Abe announced huge fiscal stimulus measures and pressed the country’s central bank into a huge easing programme as he tries to get the economy moving after years of its treading water.

Although the sheen has somewhat dulled after steep falls in the last two weeks, the Tokyo stock market had lapped up the moves, rising by around 80 per cent at its highest point.

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Opposition conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) wins Japanese election

Japan elections

The opposition conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Shinzo Abe has won the Japanese election, exit polls predict.

The LDP, which enjoyed almost 50 years of unbroken rule until 2009, is projected to have an overall majority in the new parliament.

Mr Abe has already served a Japan’s Prime Minister between 2006 and 2007.

He campaigned on a pledge to end 20 years of economic stagnation and to direct a more assertive foreign policy at a time of tensions with China.

Exit polls by television broadcasters showed the LDP winning nearly 300 seats in parliament’s powerful 480-member lower house, while its ally, the small New Komeito party, looked set to win about 30 seats.

That would give the two parties the two-thirds majority needed to over-rule parliament’s upper house, where they lack a majority and which can block bills, which would help to break a policy deadlock that has plagued the world’s third biggest economy since 2007.

“We need to overcome the crisis Japan is undergoing. We have promised to pull Japan out of deflation and correct a strong yen. The situation is severe, but we need to do this,” Abe said on live TV. “The same goes for national security and diplomacy.”

Parliament is expected to vote Abe in as prime minister on December 26.

Analysts said that while markets had already pushed the yen lower and share prices higher in anticipation of an LDP victory, stocks could rise further and the yen weaken if the “super majority” was confirmed.

Top executives of the LDP and the New Komeito confirmed that they would form a coalition. “The basis, of course, is a coalition between the LDP and the New Komeito. But if there’s room to cooperate with Japan Restoration Party, we need to do so,” said LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, referring to a new, right-leaning party that was set to pick up about 46 seats.

“I think there is room to do this in the area of national defence,” he said, referring to cooperation with the Japan Restoration Party. The New Komeito is more moderate than the LDP on security issues.

Exit polls showed Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) winning only 65 seats, just over a fifth of its tally in 2009.

The DPJ, which swept to power in 2009 promising to pay more heed to consumers than companies and reduce bureaucrats’ control over policymaking, was hit by defections just before the vote.

Party executive Kohei Otsuka told NHK that Noda would likely have to quit the party leadership over the defeat, in which several party heavyweights lost their seats.

Many voters had said the DPJ failed to meet election pledges as it struggled to govern and cope with last year’s huge earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, and then pushed through an unpopular sales tax increase with LDP help.

Voter distaste for both major parties has spawned a clutch of new parties including the Japan Restoration Party, founded by popular Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.

With Japan stuck in a two-decade slump and receding behind China as the region’s most important economic player, people appear to be turning back to the LDP, which led Japan for so many decades.

The LDP’s vows to build a stronger, more assertive country to answer increasing pressure from China and threats of North Korean rocket launches also resonated with voters. Abe has repeatedly said he will protect Japan’s “territory and beautiful seas” amid a territorial dispute with China over some uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

“I feel like the LDP will protect Japan and restore some national pride,” Momoko Mihara, 31, said after voting for the Liberal Democrats in the western Tokyo suburb of Fuchu.

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