Article by Komori  


JIIA Commentary Archive

Komori Article

US Embassy Translation 

Japan-dispatched Official Anti-Japanese Essay
Commentary by Sankei special correspondent Yoshihisa Komori

SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
August 12, 2006

It has become increasingly crucial for Japan to dispatch its messages to the
world. It has always been important for Japan to properly explain its case
and to clearly present its views to the international community. At a time
when China and other countries are heightening their criticism of Japan for
a "revival of militarism" that is quite the opposite of the reality in
Japan, it is indispensable in terms of Japan's national interests for it to
rebut such charges.

At this juncture, I thought that the JIIA Commentary, an English-edition
newsletter that JIIA (Japan Institute of International Affairs, which is
under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Ministry) began this spring was coming
out at just the right timing to send such a message. Living in Washington, I
could receive their dispatch by e-mail and read the research on the
institute's website. The commentary would be regularly sent in the form of
essays written in English.

However, on reading some of the essays, I was astonished by the contents.
The essays unilaterally condemned the thinking of the government and ruling
camp, as well as a majority of views in Japan as dangerous, and categorized
the attacks on Japan by China and other countries as proper.

Look at the title of the essay in the May entry,  "How Japan Imagines China
and Sees Itself." The essay starts out: ""Japan watchers (in foreign
countries) increasingly blame the deterioration in Sino-Japanese relations
on Japan, describing Japan's China policies as mindless and provocative,
self-righteous and gratuitous. But in the country itself, there is scant
awareness that Japan is perceived (by some countries) as being
nationalistic, militaristic, or hawkish."

The vast majority of Japan watchers in Washington who are familiar also with
China see the current tense situation between Japan and China as due to
"China's confrontational stance" and as "a clash between the strategic
interests of Japan and China," as well as
a "China's anti-Japan national policy." Moreover, in the same essay, such
false claims are made as, "It is internationally perceived that Japan is
seen as being militaristic."  In a BBC broadcast late last year of its
international opinion poll, the people of 31 out of 33 countries chose Japan
at the top as "the country that has the best influence on the rest of the
world." The exceptions on the list were China and South Korea. The departure
point for JIIA's overseas dispatch is a view that is just the opposite of
international opinion.

The same essay contained the following passages:

"'China is a threat, because it is China.' This seems to be the underlying
assumption prevailing in Japan's national security circles."

"Critics see in Prime Minister Koizumi's stance on Yasukuni a lack of
repentance for past imperial aggression in Asia, about which Japan has long
been silent."

Both quotes are absurd remarks that are the opposite of the truth. The
thrust of the essay rejects moves in the direction of Japan becoming an
"ordinary country" from the aspect of its national security, which can be
said to be the majority view in Japan, rejecting and denouncing them as
dangerous "hawkish nationalism."

The English-language essay is filled with biased words such as calling those
who support paying homage at Yasukuni Shrine the "cult of Yasukuni." The
word "cult" is a derogatory term used to mean a fanatical religious group
such as the Aum Shinrikyo believers in Japan.

The essays contains much too many sensational, emotional and insulting words
of the kind frequently used generally by the Western left or by China to
bash Japan, such as calling the thinking of Japan's pragmatists "ahistorical
imagination" and claiming "selective amnesia" regarding the war by the
Japanese people.  In that sense, the essay can be called "anti-Japan."

The Japan Institute of International Affairs or JIIA is a public institution
that is operated by subsidies from the Japanese government. Its current
director is Yukio Sato, a former diplomat who once served as ambassador to
the United Nations. The opinions in JIIA's international dispatch could be
taken as the official views of the Japanese government, ruling parties, and
majority of Japanese.

Although the English-language essay in question contains a statement that
"these are the views of the author alone," Director Sato has stated that the
intention of the JIIA Commentary was to broadly make known the "thinking of
Japan about Japan itself and toward international affairs." Looking at the
name of the author of the essay, I was even more astounded, and yet at the
same time, convinced, for the author was Masaru Tamamoto, the English editor
at JIIA. Tamamoto* is a long-time residence of America and is well known as
a radical leftist scholar who has often attacked the policies of the
Japanese government. In a Washington seminar in 2003, I myself heard him say
such comments as, "The abduction issue with North Korea has already been
resolved, but the Japanese side is using it as an excuse to keep a hard-line
foreign policy stance"; and, "Japan should never dispatch the Self-Defense
Forces to Iraq; such a dispatch will never occur."

That Tamamoto is not only the author of an essay sent out to the world by
JIIA, he also is the senior editor there. In the April edition, he took up
the topic of criticism by Foreign Minister Taro and others of the lack of
democracy in China, and under the title, "Japan discovers democracy," he
poked fun at Japan's diplomacy toward China now discovering that the country
lacks democratic values.

What is the reason for entrusting Japan's international messages to someone
with extreme views who rejects Japan's current diplomacy and security
foundation? I would like to send on open letter questioning Director Sato,
attaching this column.


Masaru Tamamoto, editor of the JIIA Commentary, was born in Tokyo and
educated in Japan, Switzerland, Egypt and the United States. He received his
B.A. degree in international relations from Brown University and his M.A.
and Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University. At Princeton, he was a MacArthur Foundation fellow in international peace and security (1988-89)

Komori's Article

日本からの対外的な発信はますます重要となってきた。日本の実情を国際社会に向けて正確に説明し、あわせて意見をも明確に述べることは常に重要である。


 中国などから日本の現実とは異なる「軍国主義復活」というような非難が増すこのごろ、日本からの正しい反論はまさに基本的な国益にかかわる不可欠な作業となる。

 この点で外務省管轄下の日本国際問題研究所(JIIA)が今春から始めた英文での「JIIAコメンタリー」は時宜を得た発信だと思った。

 ワシントン在勤の私のところにも電子メールで送信されるし、同研究所のウェブサイトで読むこともできる。そのコメンタリーは英語の論文の形で定期に発信される。

 ところがその論文のいくつかを読んで、びっくり仰天した。日本の政府与党や多数派の考え方を危険として一方的に断罪し、中国などの日本攻撃をそのまま正しいかのように位置づける論旨なのだ。

 5月記載分の「日本はいかに中国を想像し、自国を見るか」という題の論文をみよう。冒頭に以下の記述がある。

 「(外国の)日本ウオッチャーたちはますます日本の対中政策を愚かで挑発的、独善、不当だとみなし、中日関係の悪化を日本のせいだと非難している。

 しかし日本国内では日本がナショナリスティックで軍国主義的でタカ派的だと(諸外国で)認識されていることへの意識がほとんどない」

 ワシントンでの中国に詳しい日本ウオッチャーは大多数がいまの日中間の緊迫を「中国の対決的姿勢」や「日中両国の戦略利害の衝突」「中国の反日の国是」に帰する。

 しかも同論文が述べる「日本を軍国主義的だとみる国際認識」など捏造(ねつぞう)である。

 BBC放送の昨年末の国際世論調査では全世界33カ国のうち31カ国の国民が「世界に最もよい影響を与えている国」として日本を筆頭にあげた。例外は中韓両国だけだった。国際問題研究所の対外発信はまったく事実に反する主張から出発するのだ。

 同論文には以下の記述もある。

 「『中国は脅威だ。なぜならそれは中国だからだ』というのが日本の国家安全保障識者間の基本的な前提のようだ」

 「日本は過去の侵略に長年、沈黙を保ってきたが、小泉首相の靖国への立場にも過去の帝国主義的侵略への反省欠如が指摘される」

 いずれも事実に反する暴論といえよう。

 この論文はいまの日本で多数派の意見といえる日本の安全保障面での「普通の国」らしい方向への動きを「タカ派的ナショナリスト」の危険な策動と断じ、非難することが主眼となっている。

 その英語の文章は靖国神社の参拝支持を「靖国カルト」と評するような偏向言語に満ちている。カルトとはオウム真理教のような狂信的宗教集団を意味する断罪言葉である。

 同論文には日本の現実派の思考を「反歴史的想像」と呼び、戦後の日本国民の戦争観を「記憶喪失症」と断ずるなど、全体として米欧の左派系や中国の日本たたきに頻繁に使われる扇情的、情緒的なののしり言葉があまりに多い。この点では「反日」と呼べる論文なのである。

 元国連大使の外務官僚だった佐藤行雄氏を理事長とする日本国際問題研究所は日本政府の補助金で運営される公的機関である。その対外発信は日本の政府や与党、さらには国民多数派の公式見解とみなされがちである。

 この英文コメンタリーの論文は「筆者自身の見解」とされてはいるが、佐藤理事長は対外発信の意図を「日本自身や国際問題への日本の思考」を広く知らせることだと述べている。

 この論文の筆者の名をみて、さらに仰天すると同時に、ある面、納得した。

 国際問題研究所の英文編集長の玉本偉氏だというのだ。玉本氏は在住の長い米国のその筋では知る人ぞ知る、日本政府の対外政策をたたいてきた過激な左派学者である。

 2003年のワシントンでのセミナーで「北朝鮮の拉致問題というのはすでに解決ずみであり、日本側は対外強攻策の口実にしているだけだ」とか「日本の自衛隊はイラクに派遣されるべきでなく、また派遣は絶対に実現しない」などと断言するのを私もまのあたりに聞いた。

 その玉本氏はいま国際問題研究所の対外発信の筆者だけでなく編集責任者だというのだ。

 4月分の論文では麻生太郎外相らが中国の民主主義不在を批判することを取り上げ、「日本の民主主義発見」と題し、日本がいま対中外交で民主主義の価値を説くことを「発見」だとちゃかしていた。

 現在の日本の外交や安保の根本を否定するような極端な意見の持ち主に日本の対外発信を任せる理由はなんなのか。この一稿の結びを佐藤理事長への公開質問状としたい。