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2008年5月31日 (土)


(May. 31, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

SDF dispatch to China a historic step not taken

空自機中国派遣 見送られた歴史的な一歩(5月31日付・読売社説)

It is unfortunate to see that the Japanese government has shelved its plan to dispatch Air Self-Defense Force C-130 transport airplanes to China to carry relief supplies to earthquake victims in Sichuan Province. But the current situation made the decision inevitable.

Instead, the government is planning to transport the relief supplies on chartered commercial planes early next week.



chartered commercial planes=民間チャーター機)

According to government sources, it was the Chinese side that first asked Tokyo if it would be possible for Japan to transport relief supplies to China. At that time, Chinese officials in charge of relief operations did not object to the use of ASDF aircraft, the sources said.


The Japanese side saw the planned ASDF dispatch as a historic step for Japan and China to take to overcome bitter memories of the war and build mature relations.


However, after Japanese media reported the government plan to dispatch ASDF aircraft to China, some Chinese people expressed strong objections. Beijing then started expressing concern about accepting ASDF planes.


stareted expressing concern about~=~に対して難色をしめす)

A Japanese rescue team is now assisting quake victims in China, and its activities are highly appreciated. Both the Japanese and Chinese governments apparently concluded that it would be unwise to risk putting a damper on Chinese public opinion toward Japan, which has finally warmed up, with the controversial dispatch of ASDF planes to China. Such caution is understandable to some extent.




SDF no longer distrusted


Members of the Chinese public have held a strong sense of animosity toward the Self-Defense Forces for many years due to their bitter experiences during the 1937-45 Sino-Japanese War.



China expressed wariness over the participation of SDF troops in peacekeeping operations in Cambodia in 1992, with senior Chinese officials repeatedly calling on Japan to take a cautious approach on the "deployment of soldiers abroad," which they pointed out was a "very sensitive issue."



Since then, however, the SDF have steadily made noteworthy achievements in PKO's and international peace cooperation activities in various places around the world. China no longer objects to the SDF's overseas activities.


More than 45 million people were affected by the devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province. Afflicted areas have a severe shortage of tents and temporary housing. Speed is the crucial element in relief activities. Japan planned to use the ASDF's C-130s, which are capable of short takeoffs and landings, based on this humanitarian viewpoint.

The United States, Russia and South Korea have already used military planes to deliver relief supplies to China.





Patriotic education' to blame


When he visited Japan in May, Chinese President Hu Jintao put priority on improving Japan-China relations and departed from the hard-line policy that his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, took toward Japan by not harping on the so-called history issue.



Circumstances in China seemed to have become favorable for the ASDF dispatch. Nonetheless, public opposition toward the plan spread on the Internet in China. Behind this is the anti-Japanese public opinion that has been nurtured by slanted "patriotic education" since the mid-1990s. The Chinese government itself now has difficulties reining in the passionate public opinions expressed on the Internet.



The ties between Japan and China will start to resemble the "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" envisaged by both countries in the true sense of that phrase if they can conduct disaster-relief activities in a natural way.



mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests=戦略的互恵関係)


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 31, 2008)

20085310130  読売新聞)


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