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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #292: May 2, 2005

'Normalising' with Japan

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

'Normalising' with Japan
Daily Times, Pakistan


Prime Minister Koizumi declared in Islamabad to resume Japan's ODA (Official Development Assistance) to Pakistan after seven years of suspension.

Mr Koizumi's trip to India and Pakistan en route to Europe was realized amidst the anxiety, in international context over China's state-supported mobs possibly attacking whatever related to Japan in their cities, and domestically with the fate of a controversial bill presented to the diet to privatize Japan's postal services along with the government's savings and insurance services.

India and Pakistan has been rivals since they acquired independence from the U.K. after the WWII. (Incidentally, neither of the nations condemns the U.K., at least officially, for its rule and exploitation during their colonial days -- a sentiment seemingly different from what can be seen in East Asia.) Japan, however, kept good relations with both countries by providing ODA's to them ever since Japan recovered from the war and accumulated enough wealth to start assisting other societies, especially in Asia.

On 11 May 1998, the Buddha's birth anniversary, India tested three nuclear devices. Two days later, two more tests were conducted. Then on 28 May 1998, only half a month after India, Pakistan detonated five nuclear devices, followed by another test two days later. Thus, they became the fifth and the sixth nations to become a member of the atomic club. The five previous members were the U.S., Russia, the U.K., France, and China, - the five permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations, perhaps by no accident.

If there was anything the tolerant Japanese could not stand, it was the nuclear weaponry as Japan being the only nation to be attacked by nuclear bombs, and having been killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. As such, Japan had no choice but to protest against such behaviors by India and Pakistan, and by way of so doing, suspend the ODA program which was deemed to indirectly but effectively fund the development of the atrocious weapon.

Seven years have passed since, and while the evilness of nuclear weapons has not changed, the minds of the people shifted albeit slightly. With the real danger of terrorists utilizing such destructive force, and other countries are rumored to own them, the existence of such weaponry has become an irreversible fact of life. -- North Korea says they have it, Israel has neither confirmed or denied having it, Iran says they don't but many suspect they have it, South Africa at least used to have it, and Libya has declared canceling the development.

It would been, therefore, not inappropriate for Prime Minister Koizumi to lift the suspension and restart providing ODA to Pakistan, especially the political agenda calls for Japan to gather as many supporters as possible for it to become a permanent member of the Security Council, and that simultaneously with Pakistan's rival, India.

The article, an editorial by a notable media in Pakistan, while cautious in balancing its position between Japan and China, genuinely welcomes the resumption of ODA from Japan. As for Japan's people, it is more comforting to know that the recipient is indeed welcoming the funds, unlike some of the regimes in the East Asia who have been using Japan's ODA money to fuel hatred toward Japan among its people.

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