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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien



Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
3-3-6 Kudan-Minami, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0074
Tel: 03 – 3222 5198, Fax: 03 – 3222 5420


Registration Info

The lecture will be given in English. It will take place on monday, January 16th 2006 at 6.30 p.m. at the DIJ.
Admission is free, space is limited, so please register with Ms. Dinkel at the DIJ.

Foreign Policy and Nationalism in Contemporary Japan

January 16, 2006 / 6.30 P.M.

Katsuyuki Yakushiji

While Prime Minister Koizumi was partly successful in reforming
the  Japanese economic system and the organization of the LDP,
his foreign policy put diplomatic relations with China and South Korea
at great risk. In particular, his visits to Yasukuni Shrine were
criticized as both a means to glorify the Asia-Pacific War and as
symbolic acts to justify Japanese invasion and colonization in Asia.
Mr. Koizumi’s insistence in this matter and the ensuing
refusals of both Chinese and Korean heads of government to meet with
him, point to the seriousness of the situation and the danger of Japan
becoming increasingly isolated in North-East Asia.

In my lecture, I argue that the Japanese public needs to acknowledge
this development as a home-made historical problem.  Still,
many Japanese don’t agree with the claims made by China and
South Korea, but instead harshly criticize both countries. Many weekly
magazines and TV wide-shows stir nationalist feelings and there is
virtually a flood of emotional articles in which the neighbouring
countries are strongly rebuked. In addition, politicians cater to these
spreading nationalist tendencies. In order to see a real change in
Japanese public opinion, I would maintain that sufficient education on
Japanese war-time history in Asia is indispensable. In my paper, I
explore the historical and political background of these phenomena and
suggest some ways to deal with foreign policy and nationalism in
contemporary Japan.

Katsuyuki YAKUSHIJI is Chief Editor of the monthly magazine RONZA (Asahi Shinbun). A
graduate from Tokyo University, he has been lecturing at Waseda
University, Osaka University, Denki-Tsūshin University and was a
Visiting Fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Center (Washington DC). His
major books and articles include Gaimushō
(“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, Iwanami 2003),
“Jimintō wa kyokū seitō ni naru no desuka”
(“Is the LDP turning into a party of the extreme
right?”, Sekai,
Oct. 2004) and “Nihon seiji wa yomigaeruka?”
(“Will Japanese politics revive again?”, Sekai, Oct. 2003).