Monday, December 18, 2006

Mr. Nakagawa Keeps Talking Nuclear, in Nagasaki of All Places

Chairman Nakagawa: The US Dropping the A-Bomb Is Unforgivable Crime

Mr. Nakagawa, Chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, made a speech in Nagasaki on the 17th, where he referred to the US dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima and stated that "the US decision was an unforgivable crime from a humanitarian point of view", and went on to state that "atomic weapons should not be used, and I wish to do the utmost not to let it be used."

Moreover, he said that "Japan is surrounded with a slew of nuclear weapons. A country has emerged that might not hesitate at using them if they don't like the situation. Can a politician be fulfilling his role just by hoping [for peace]" and reemphasized the need for debate over possession of nuclear weapons."

This is yet another one of those tiny page two articles (in this case not even posted on the Yomiuri Japanese language webpage), translated in full for your browsing pleasure.
(Tip: When reading Japanese newspaper articles, assume unless you have evidence to the contrary that anything following a quote is an extrapolation from the comment by the reporter, and not a summary of further words by the speaker.)

Some random thoughts:
I won't disagree with those of you who are thinking, look who's talking.
This is not the best way to start meaningful discussions on what is a real, though in my view still remote, threat to Japanese security.
"Crime" is a pretty strong word, though it could resonate with many US revisionists. But "unforgivable"? Have the Jews forgiven Germany or what?
Do you think he was pandering to the pacifist vote?
Don't worry, we're not going to develop nuclear weapons any time soon. But watch out if North Korea makes further moves toward a deliverable weapons system. And I'm not talking about mounting nerve gas canisters on a Nodong.

My personal takeaway:
Mr. Nakagawa in my view is rightly seen as a hard-line nationalist. But his accusations resonate with a broader historical discontent toward the West. If you find to be one-sided and distasteful such declaratives being delivered in the context of a moral blindness toward (or minimization of) Japan's role as the aggressor, then you should surely agree with me that the popularly dominant Western narrative is not a good starting point for dealing with the world's ills either.

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