The Japanese government is being accused of mounting a cover-up worthy of China itself, as not only is it fighting demands that it release a coast guard video of an alleged ramming of a coast guard ship by a Japanese vessel at every step, it is also only offering a 6 minute video of an incident which took nearly 3 hours to unfold.
Critics are already accusing it of editing the video to show China in a less unfavourable light.
Debates about whether to release the video of the incident to public continue, with still no conclusion reached. The government/DPJ position is that the video must not be released as it could “damage relations with China.”
The alternative is a limited showing of part of the video to selected Diet members – a measure unlikely to satisfy the public or anyone else outside of the party.
However, suspicions are mounting over the video itself, which is said to constitute a DVD containing only 6 minutes of video, despite the entire incident having taken 2 hours and 40 minutes to unfold, during which time the coast guard was able to meticulously document everything which happened.
Opposition LDP politicians have openly voiced doubts about whether the government is trying to cover something up: “It is mysterious. Has it not been edited?”
All that has surfaced so far are official accounts made by the government with Chinese relations in mind and the less than reliable testimony of the accused captain and the Chinese government.
The video seems to have convinced Okinawa prosecutors they could have won a conviction, and photos of the Chinese vessel show a large and powerful ocean-going ship which could easily have been involved in a ramming – aside from this evidence just what went on is a closely guarded secret for some reason.
Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara has already claimed he has heard that the video shows the Chinese fishermen harpooning a Japanese coast guard member, certainly incendiary content which could conceivably topple the government and discredit China completely.
As part of their efforts to see the video never sees the light of day, a senior DPJ politician even began claiming that releasing it would violate the human rights of those involved in the investigation, remarks which were widely interpreted as referring to the Chinese captain originally charged with ramming the ship.
In light of this and the size of the cuts it is easy to see why many are convinced the government will now do anything it takes to protect relations with China – even preparing a heavily doctored version to show to the Diet or public in the event withholding the video becomes untenable.
In other news, when asked whether they think the video should be made public, 95% of Japanese agreed: