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Re: Japan's New Posture Could Benefit India



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Mr Kukreti,

Not much to say abou the content, but the subject "jpan's ... benefit
india" is misleading. agreed, we are far from a free market, but
economic jingoism ( known here as swadeshi)anywhere will NOT benefit
india. If indian dhurries or matgrass were the issue of contention, then
this new posture would have been against us, instead.

We have to accept the fact that China is a very able and agile
production center. we have to compete - on the grounds of price and
quality. One person's loss does not become another's profit. the
agitation in japan was for indegenous japanese producers. I wonder how
that sentiment would be in India's favour

regards
prakash

------------- Original Message --------------
"Sanjai Kukreti" <skukreti@home.com> wrote:
To:debate@indiapolicy.org
From:"Sanjai Kukreti" <skukreti@home.com>
Date:Sun, 11 Feb 2001 03:43:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject:Japan's New Posture Could Benefit India

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Japan starts picking on China
Feb 8th 2001 | TOKYO
>From The Economist print edition



As its economy shows no sign of recovery, Japan is getting angrier. Some

of
that anger is being directed against China

LIFE is not always full of thrills for the mushroom bureaucrats of
Japan's
agriculture ministry. Yet in recent weeks the atmosphere at the
ministry's
forest-products division has been little short of electric. A flood of
cheap
imports is threatening Japan's 30,000 shiitake growers. An investigation

is
afoot, involving colleagues from the exalted finance and trade
ministries.
For the first time since 1955, when Japan joined what is now the World
Trade
Organisation, talk has turned to invoking its "safeguards"-emergency
tariffs
or import quotas. Officials are also considering a move against imports
of a
type of onion, and of the bulrushes used for weaving tatami mats. What
all
three cases have in common is that the targets of Japan's proposed
retaliation are Chinese.
It used to be said that the relationship between Japan and China was
good if
their ageing leaders pronounced it so. These days, a more accurate
description is that, despite official assurances, relations are bad and
getting worse. For this, the Japanese blame Chinese aggressiveness, in
trade
and in foreign policy. Yet a good part of the reason can be found in
Japan.
There, old policies of "engaging" the Middle Kingdom are under sustained

attack from an assertive new generation of politicians, academics and
journalists. Even foreign-ministry officials have begun to pay
attention.
Official China policy has suddenly begun to harden.
The China hawks have an attentive audience: as happens the world over,
Japan
's sick economy and persistent high unemployment are fanning the flames
of
chauvinism. Racial violence is still infrequent. But milder forms of
prejudice are flourishing. Illegal Chinese immigrants infest the
building
industry, grumble the Japanese, undercutting honest native workers.
Chinese
crime syndicates are bringing confusion to Japan's carefully-ordered
society. Chinese burglars are masterminding a surge in petty crime.
The authorities are taking things seriously. Police statistics on rising

crimes by "foreigners" (ie, mainly, Chinese) are followed with keen
interest. Until they were hurriedly removed recently, posters put up by
the
police in Tokyo urged that, since there had been a recent spate of
burglaries by "Chinese and other people", "if you notice anyone speaking

Chinese, call the police."
Trade friction is also rubbing away at the relationship. Although China
has
enjoyed a trade surplus with Japan every year since 1988, the Japanese
have
not worried much until recently. Most Chinese imports, after all, come
from
Japanese manufacturing plants built in China, underlining Japan's
superior
role as a supplier of capital and technology to China, in return for
access
to cheap Chinese labour and natural resources.


But this pattern has begun to change, especially in the ever-sensitive
area
of agriculture. New refrigeration techniques, better distribution and-in

these difficult times-more cost-conscious Japanese shoppers are bringing

wheelbarrowfuls of Chinese tomatoes, aubergines, onions and garlic bulbs

to
Japanese supermarket shelves. Japan's inefficient, and often elderly,
farmers cannot compete. On Tokyo's wholesale markets, for instance,
Chinese
shiitake sell for less than a third of the price of Japanese mushrooms,
and
have quickly snapped up a 40% share of the market.
A threat to its cherished farm lobby is something that even the
bickering
politicians of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which dominates the
coalition government, can unite behind. In the past, the favourite
villain
for Japan's protectionists was always America, says Yoichi Funabashi, a
columnist with the Asahi newspaper. Increasingly these days, it is
China.
Japanese nationalists of various hues, meanwhile, are starting to call
for a
more assertive foreign policy towards China. Hawks such as Ichizo Ohara,

the
leader of the Liberal Party, and Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo's
irrepressible
governor, are finding growing favour, especially among younger Japanese.

Unburdened by war guilt, younger voters feel frustrated and humiliated
by
Japan's low international profile and dependence on American soldiers
for
its defence.
Japan's China diplomacy, thunder politicians such as Mr Ishihara, is
weak-kneed. It appeases Chinese territorial assertiveness in the South
China
seas and across the Taiwan Strait, while allowing generous Japanese aid
and
soft loans to be met with Chinese insults and demands for apologies for
wartime atrocities. These politicians, and their admirers in academia
and
the media, want a "normal" Japan-a country that can exercise independent

diplomacy backed by independent armed forces.
To these Japanese, the disclosure this week of a private e-mail by
Lieutenant-General Earl Hailston, the commanding American officer in
Okinawa
(which hosts 16,500 American troops), says it all. Following an indecent

assault in January by an American soldier on a Japanese schoolgirl, the
latest in a string of attacks over the years, the Okinawan assembly
passed a
resolution demanding fewer American troops on the island. Local
officials,
General Hailston advised his officers, "are all nuts and a bunch of
wimps."
Even urbane foreign-ministry types are waking up to the new mood in
Japan.
Ministry officials have managed to fend off calls by LDP politicians
like
Shizuka Kamei, the party's powerful policy chief, to slash Japan's
overseas
aid budget by 30%-cuts that were clearly aimed at China. But after an
official review last year, aid to China is nevertheless about to fall.
China's leaders are not deaf to Japanese hostility. During a recent
visit to
Japan, for instance, Zhu Rongji, its prime minister, refrained from the
usual demands for another official apology for Japan's wartime sins,
although he could not resist mild needling on the subject. But neither
the
Chinese nor the Japanese government seems fully abreast of the forces at

work in Japan. As Takeshi Sasaki of Tokyo University points out, Japan's

economic crusade has largely sublimated its nationalist urges since the
war.
But, since the crash of the early 1990s, years of recession and
financial
crisis have upset that delicate accommodation. Japan is getting angrier.

And
it is unlikely to stop after taking out its frustration on Chinese
mushrooms.





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