Posts Tagged ‘World News’

Right-wing activist commits suicide in front of Japanese parliament

5 March, 2008

 Imperial Japanese WWII-era propaganda poster

A suspected right-wing activist arrived at the Japanese parliament building by taxi, got out and shot himself this morning, in an apparent protest against Japan’s warming ties with China.

Police discovered two letters on the dead man’s body: one addressed to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and one to the Japanese media.

Fukuda is known for his willingness to forge stronger links with near-neighbour China, and his refusal to visit Yasukuni, a shrine dedicated to Japan’s war dead. Prime Ministerial visits to Yasukuni are a particularly sensitive issue for Chinese and Koreans, as 12 convicted World War II class A war criminals are enshrined there.

For the right-wing nationalists (uyoku), Yasukuni remains a rallying point and symbol of Japan’s imperial past, despite former Emperor Hirohito’s to visit the shrine from 1978 until his death because of the enshrinement of war criminals. The current Emperor, Akihito, has never visited Yasukuni.

(See Wikipedia’s pages on Yasukuni Shrine and  Japanese nationalism for history and background information to supplement this story.)

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China becomes Japan’s biggest trading partner

29 February, 2008

Smogging it up

China now accounts for 17.7 per cent of Japan’s total trade, overtaking the United States to become its biggest trading partner.

Exports to China rose to US$109.1 billion in 2007, boosted by strong demand for cars and electronics. Meanwhile, imports from China amounted to US$127.6 billion, leaving the overall trade deficit at US$18.6 billion – a reduction of 27.9 per cent on 2006’s trade deficit figures.

Full story from the IHT: “China overtook US as Japan’s largest trading partner in 2007