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Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012


Ishihara's mysterious appeal


Regarding the Nov. 21 front-page article "Ishihara rattles saber against China": Poor Shintaro Ishihara (Tokyo's former governor). It seems that the grumpy old man realizes he is in the twilight of his political career and has been working feverishly in past months to destroy Japanese-Chinese relations while he still can.

His attempt to ride the coattails of the much younger and more popular (yet no less circumspect) Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto into the Diet is pathetically transparent and an indication that he can't make it with his reactionary ideas alone.

Yet why do so many people, or at least the news media, continue to take Ishihara seriously? Does he just make good copy, or does he personify a militaristic alter ego shared by a silent but uncomfortably large number of Japanese?

If this were the case, it would confirm the suspicions of Japan's neighbors that, underneath a facade of polite civility, Japan is a warmongering nation. If not, there seems to be a need for more people to speak out against Ishihara and his continual pot stirring.

Ishihara is disgusted by what he sees as an effete Japan that can't stand up and say "no." Ironically, on this point I would agree with Ishihara: The Japanese should summon their courage to say no, but the "no" should be directed at Ishihara himself.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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