Date
16 December 2017
Former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama is blaming the government of Shinzo Abe for ratcheting up tensions with China. Photo: HKEJ
Former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama is blaming the government of Shinzo Abe for ratcheting up tensions with China. Photo: HKEJ

Japan mainly responsible for spat with China, says ex-PM

Japan is mainly responsible for its deteriorating relationship with China and it should say so, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday, citing former prime minister Yukio Hatoyama.

Hatoyama blamed the government of Shinzo Abe for increased tensions between the two neighbors, saying his visits to the Yasukuni war shrine and Tokyo’s nationalization of the disputed Senkaku islands have worsened the situation.  

“It is the hardest moment for Sino-Japan relationship in 42 years after the normalization of diplomatic ties in 1972,” Hatoyama said.

“I have to say Japan should take greater responsibility.”

Hatoyama said Beijing and Tokyo should set aside their territorial dispute as they did in 1972 but Abe should acknowledge such an issue exists.

Also, he said Japan has overstated the “China threat” which Abe is using as a pretext to lift restrictions on the country’s defense forces.

Hatoyama ruled out armed conflict between the two sides, saying China has no interest in war.

He said the two countries should establish a communication channel and take advantage of the opportunity for dialogue during the leaders’ summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Beijing in November.

Until now, Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have not met, the report said.

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