Play nice, America and Japan

sandboxOne of my colleagues recently posted a blog about the danger in words and how they can amplify tensions between nations if used carelessly. This post loosely reminded me of an article published in the New York Times last week about the recent strain on Japan-U.S. relations. The Japanese have been discontent with their treatment by the Obama Administration since last year. They feel as though they’ve been kept at arms length and are that the U.S. riding the fence about their dispute with China over the control of islands in the East China Sea.

The article can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/world/asia/nationalistic-remarks-from-japan-lead-to-warnings-of-chill-with-us.html?ref=japan&_r=0

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked in a Youtube video, “Why doesn’t America treat Japan better?,” before quickly taking it down.  The video was in response to the Obama Administration expressing disappointment with the Prime Minister’s visit to a shrine honoring war criminals. Instances like this and others are putting stress on relations between the two countries–who have been allies for many years now, despite their turbulent past. Japan feels isolated from the U.S. while the United States views recent actions by the Japanese as being too nationalistic.

Words have undeniable power. Prime Minister Abe made a strong statement about the United States in his Youtube video. While it may have been made more out of frustration than anything, it has caused a big debate and now people are questioning just how stable relations are between the two countries. I’m sure that more can be done on both sides to appease hurt feelings. The article is also a testament to the fact that even amicable nations suffer public diplomacy stumbling blocks. What do you think about the “sticks and stones” spat between Japan and the United States?

4 thoughts on “Play nice, America and Japan”

  1. Indeed, words can be (and are) dangerous. I believe Japan’s lack of self-criticism and historical revisionism will always be a gargantuan barrier to advancing their relations with any country in the future. Credibility is pinnacle to relations in the information era.

    PM Abe would do his country great service by refraining from the defense of statements such as this from JBC’s senior manager.

    “A senior manager of Japan Broadcasting Corporation who denied that any massacre took place in Nanjing during the 1930s did nothing wrong, Japan’s government said yesterday, fanning a storm over revisionist views aired by Japanese officials.”

    http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1420651/japanese-government-defends-nhk-director-who-denied-rape-nanking

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