Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Japanese Xenophobia

If there's one xountry that defines "xenophobia", it's Japan. The nation shut itself off to the rest of the world for four centuries and even today takes pride in its ethnic purity. It's a fertile garden for sowing paranoia, something not lost on a senior official of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party who has warned that his country could become "just another Chinese province" within the next 20 years if Beijing's military development continues at its current rapid rate.

It's hard to imagine anything that could send a greater chill into the Japanese people than the idea of being taken over by China. There remain enormous tensions between the two countries over Japanese atrocities against the Chinese during World War II. The notion of China getting its own back has to be terrifying to many Japanese.

Japanese MP, Soichi Nakagawa, is quoted by the Kyodo news agency as warning, "If something goes wrong in Taiwan in the next 15 years we [Japan] might also become just another Chinese province within 20 years or so." Nakagawa claimed Beijing was seeking hegemony in Taiwan "and beyond."

He later told reporters in Tokyo: "If Taiwan is placed under its complete influence, Japan could be next. That's how much China is seeking hegemony."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang raised suspicions about the timing and nature of the outburst. "China's military expenditure per capita is 7% of that of Japan," he said. "Meanwhile, it claims that China is a threat. We should question: What is the real purpose and motivation behind these claims?"

No comments: