Thursday, September 10, 2009

New York Times Online Today

Hatoyama's Japan

Published: September 9, 2009, The New York Times, Letter to the Editor

Yukio Hatoyama (“A new path for Japan,” Views, Aug. 27) indicated a desire to move Japan closer to Asia and an intention to adjust the U.S.-Japan relationship to that of two equals.

Implicit in this shift is Mr. Hatoyama’s desire for Japan to play a large role in building a more cohesive and influential Asia. But Japan is still a country burdened heavily with debts from the past.

As Mr. Hatoyama, who is likely to become the next prime minister of Japan, navigates through the rivalry between the United States and China, he should keep in mind that no matter how hard Japan may want to play a meaningful role in Asia, to the eyes of so many Asians, Japan’s leaders too often look back to its imperialistic past with considerable nostalgia.

In order to bring Asia together, Japan must first correct this.

Sung-Chull Junn, Seoul

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