The humble fisherman who allegedly rammed a Japanese coast guard ship and then became a pawn in China’s plots to extend its borders into Japanese seas was treated to a hero’s welcome on his release and return to his hometown.
Meanwhile, China still holds 4 Japanese nationals on charges which could result in execution, has apparently blocked exports of certain rare materials to Japan, and since the 24th has been patrolling the waters around the Senkaku Islands with 2 ships despite no less than 4 requests from Japan that they be removed.
Chinese media continues to lambaste Japan for its “insolence” and “lies” whilst insisting that the seas and islands of the area are indisputably Chinese territory.
Even after his release, Chinese retaliation appears to be continuing – in addition to demanding restitution, Japan’s day of participation in an international fireworks exhibition in Shanghai was mysteriously cancelled by the Chinese organisers, despite American, Canadian, French and Chinese participation continuing as before.
The truth of whether he actually rammed the coast guard’s ship is still unknown – the incident was recorded by the coast guard, but Japanese politicians have publicly stated that “the Japanese people will be enraged if we release the video,” suggesting the video contains clear evidence of the fisherman’s guilt only likely to further enrage the public.
The Japanese government for its part is now facing indignation and ridicule from both Japanese politicians and public alike – 72 members of the ruling party have formally protested the Prime Minister’s handling of the matter, a further 12 are demanding a permanent army presence on the isles, and the last (and notoriously incompetent) Prime Minister feels entitled to criticise them publicly.
Even the Prime Minister himself was jeered and denounced as a traitor by the crowd as he presented the victor’s cup at the conclusion of a recent national sumo competition. One man has been arrested for approaching the Prime Ministerial residence with a knife in order to “protest.”
Members of the government daring to support their handling of the case have resorted to lamely blaming the Okinawa prosecutors and the former LDP government for the mess.
Only the most left-wing of Japan’s media is sparing in criticising the government’s conduct, and online the reaction is one of outrage.
It seems only a matter of time before yet another incompetent place-holder Prime Minister is forced to resign.
For Japan the only redeeming aspect of the whole affair is that overseas opinion that China’s “peaceful rise” is in fact merely a cover for the subjugation of its neighbours has been immeasurably strengthened by its crude display of the brute-fisted diplomacy of intimidation and coercion.