Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Tuesday China supports India's bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.Ah, so what does this have to do with Japan? Oh, not much:
"We fully understand and support the Indian aspiration to play an even bigger role in international affairs and in the UN," Premier Wen said while addressing a question at a press conference before winding up his four-day visit to India.
Increasingly anti-Japan demonstrations in China have sent bilateral ties to their lowest ebb since diplomatic relations were normalized in 1972.These protests in China have been fueled by a number of things, but the two most important are the perennial "textbooks" issue (China and South Korea accuse Japanese textbooks of whitewashing the Pacific War) and, more directly important today, Japan's attempt to get a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
On Saturday, about 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Beijing. The protesters hurled stones and plastic water bottles at the Japanese Embassy and damaged Japanese restaurants. Demonstrations also spilled over to Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province in the south and Chengdu in Sichuan province. In Shanghai, two Japanese students were beaten and injured by protesters.
The sad thing is, in this case, Japan hasn't done anything wrong. There are textbooks which do try to justify the war as "defending Asia from the White Man" or some crap like that (seriously) but they're almost never used in actual schools. That they exist is a sign of Japanese publishers' freedom, not necessarily racism*. Moreover, Japan has apologized for its conduct in the war a number of times. On top of all this, Japan has been central in driving the growth of both China and South Korea - and not entirely out of its own self-interest, either. South Korea was given billions in reparations for the war in 1964.
It goes without saying that Japan deserves a permanent seat on the Security Council. Certainly, if nations like China and France have them, Japan meets the threshold.
*One caveat to my defense of Japanese textbooks. While very few schools actually use the textbooks put out by the ultranationalists, their existence seems to have created a trend in the other national textbook publishers to become more forgiving of Japan's wartime activities. Obviously, this is a bad thing. All the same, this really shouldn't prejudice Asian international affairs as much as it does - but that's history for you.