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A summary of editorials from leading Japanese newspapers (August 19, 2014)

post date : 2014.08.19


A summary of editorials from leading Japanese newspapers, posted biweekly.


Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida attended a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings on Aug. 9-10 held in Myanmar, including bilateral meetings with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts held on the sidelines of the international conferences. Five major national dailies wrote about the meetings in their editorials on Aug. 12 with The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun and The Sankei Shimbun focusing on Japan-China diplomatic relations and The Yomiuri Shimbun and The Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) highlighting China’s attempts to expand its maritime reach in the South China Sea.


Japan-China relations

The Mainichi, The Asahi and The Sankei welcomed the fact that Kishida did meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the first foreign ministerial talks between the two nations in nearly two years.

“We welcome this positive development, which has come on the heels of a meeting in July between Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Chinese President Xi Jinping,” The Mainichi wrote.


The three newspapers, as well as The Nikkei, expressed hopes that the meeting would pave the way for the first summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Xi when China hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Beijing in November.


However, hurdles for such a meeting remain, they acknowledged.

“Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul should ensure that nothing will take place” on World War II related anniversaries that “could dampen the budding diplomatic momentum for improving the bilateral ties,” The Asahi said. “Abe and other Japanese political leaders should refrain from visiting Yasukuni Shrine. China, for its part, should stop using Japan’s past acts as tools for its international propaganda campaign.”


The Sankei urged China to drop its two conditions for holding a bilateral summit meeting: Abe’s pledge not to visit Yasukuni Shrine and Japan’s acknowledgement of the existence of a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands. “China should change its unbending attitude. If China thinks these issues constitute problems, the leaders of the two nations should meet for a start and carry out talks candidly, as Prime Minister Abe proposes,” it said.


South China Sea situation

The Yomiuri said tensions in the South China Sea “have been caused by China’s self-righteous actions such as carrying out reclamation work to build facilities and drilling for oil in disputed waters…” “The root cause of the problems was that China has been insisting on territorial rights with no grounds in international law and trying to expand its effective rule with the backing of its military might,” it added.


To prevent China from changing the status quo in the South China Sea, the newspaper called on Japan and the United States to strengthen cooperation with not only ASEAN member nations but also Australia and India.


The Nikkei, meanwhile, pointed out China’s apparent success in driving a wedge between pro- and anti-China camps over a proposal by the United States for the parties to territorial disputes in the South China Sea to freeze provocative actions.


The economic paper then urged Japan, which, for its part, is in confrontation with China over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, to actively support efforts to stop China’s attempt to expand its reach in the South China Sea.


*English translations of The Yomiuri, The Asahi, and The Mainichi are from The Japan News, The Asia & Japan Watch and The Mainichi, respectively. Those for The Sankei and The Nikkei are provisional. The content of this page was made by the Foreign Press Center/Japan and does not reflect the opinion of the Japanese Government or any other organization.


Copyright 2014 Foreign Press Center/Japan

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