Countries, Near yet Far Away
History testifies to the fact that separated from Korea, Japan’s economic and cultural development is inconceivable. All in all, Japan benefited greatly from Korea long ago.
Korea and Japan are geographically near neighbors.
Various historical research data prove that the Korean nation had a decisive influence on the cultural development of the insular country, Japan. One of them is the material provided by Omoto, a human genetics professor in Japan.
According to him, people from the Korean peninsula and the Asian Continent crossed the sea with rice cultivation techniques and iron implements, thus bringing about the Yayoi period. This first-ever farming period in Japan set up a new milestone for its people’s cultural life. Omoto proved that tombs of the style of Baekje and other states on the Korean peninsula had been set up in days following the Yayoi period.
History testifies that separated from Korea, Japan’s economic and cultural development is inconceivable. All in all, Japan benefited greatly from Korea long ago.
Now, however, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Japan maintain hostile relations.
Japan, in the medieval age, resorted to acts of military aggression against Korea, one typical example being the war unleashed in 1592. Although this seven-year war, called Imjin Patriotic War in Korea, ended with its defeat in 1598. Japan never gave up its aggressive ambitions until it finally occupied the country in the early 20th century. Its military occupation lasted 40 years and the Korean nation was subjected to harsh colonial rule.
More than one million Koreans were killed by the Japanese, and 8.4 million were forcibly conscripted or kidnapped to fight on battlefields or work in backbreaking tasks. The Korean women were drafted forcibly as “comfort women” for the Japanese army, which numbered 200 000, most of whom were killed on the battlefield.
During its military occupation, Japan plundered vast amounts of material resources and destroyed or stole various kinds of Korea’s cultural relics. It even tried to obliterate the nation itself by forbidding the Koreans to use their language and forcing them to change their names to the style of the Japanese.
Such being the case, it is quite natural for the Koreans to regard Japan as their sworn enemy, and it is also unthinkable that the relations between the two countries can be put on a normal track unless Japan makes an apology and compensation for its crime-ridden past.
Over 70 years have passed since the Second World War ended, but the two countries are still near yet far-away neighbors. This abnormal phenomenon is due entirely to Japan’s policy towards the DPRK.
Japan is now making much ado about the “threat” from the DPRK and saying that it should build up a new defense system involving even cyber and outer space to cope with the “threat.”
Then why is Japan so hell-bent on clamoring about the DPRK’s “threat?”
This is because the peace process on the Korean peninsula and its surrounding area is checking its political ambition to make itself a military giant, including increasing defense capabilities, overseas expansion, and amendments to the Constitution.
What Japan desires now is to realize its old dream of establishing the “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere.”
Some people doubt whether Japan's redressing its past will be automatically solved if the “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere” is set up.
It is not accidental that Japan is given a wide berth in dealing with the situation in Northeast Asia.
In an interview former prime minister Hatoyama said that Japan must play its role as a country greatly responsible for the division of the Korean peninsula. Criticizing the current Cabinet for throwing a wet blanket over the peaceful atmosphere on the Korean peninsula, he insisted that Japan should apologize for its crimes such as forced conscription and sex slavery.
Japanese newspapers are filled with articles with such titles as Confused Japan with Fear of Isolation and Embarrassment to the Japanese Government.
Japan is now asking the DPRK to hold inter-governmental talks while clinging to its hostile policy towards the latter by making much ado about “sanctions” and the “abduction issue.” It aims at achieving its militaristic goal by poking its nose into the change in the situation on the peninsula.
Though near to the Korean peninsula, why is Japan regarded as a country far away from it?
Japanese politicians should find an answer to this question by themselves.