Japanese Ambassador rapped over the knuckles by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Feb 26, 2021

But did he get the message?

In his first media interview in Australia, Ambassador Shingo Yamagama urged Australia to ‘push back on China’.

What is the Japanese Embassy in Canberra up to?

Did he decide to signal early in his posting that he would be joining the growing anti-China chorus in Australia? This anti-China chorus is led by some of our journalists and so called ‘think’ tanks that are partly funded by US defence interests.

Is the Ambassador choosing deliberately to publicly add his voice to this chorus? It seems so.

But apparently Frances Adamson, the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, was not impressed with his  behaviour and told him so at their first meeting. But some wonder if the Ambassador got the message.

Ambassador Yamagama reportedly leads a Ministry of Foreign Affairs faction that is similar to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s wolf warrior faction.

Was he posted to Australia to stiffen up Australia’s anti-China stance?

We should be very careful about where the Japanese Ambassador is trying to lead us against China.

China in the Second World War.

It is worth recording some very important history about the valuable role of China for Australia and others in the past. We should not forget it.

China suffered greatly at the hands of the Japanese military in the 1930s and the 1940s. Twenty million Chinese died and a large part of the country was plundered and extensively damaged. Fifty million Chinese were made homeless. A rural and undeveloped China was no match for a modernised industrial nation like Japan. China barely survived.

In that war China was on the Allies’ side and with its great land mass China absorbed, at heavy cost, a great deal of Japanese military energy. This tying down of the Japanese military was in some ways similar to the way the USSR absorbed a great deal of Germany’s military might. The Allies benefited but at the cost of great suffering by the people of China and the USSR.

But four years after the end of World War II the Communist Party of China took charge. China became the ‘enemy’ and the story of its suffering at the hands of Japan was lost for decades. Other issues, such as the Korean War, also pushed China’s World War II experience into the background. Now with China modernising and growing in confidence, it is not surprising that it expresses concern about what it endured from an invader who consistently seeks to avoid the truth about WWII.  It is best expressed in Japan trying to make it’s school curriculum more “patriotic”.

If we are truly aware of China’s historic hurt and anger and our own self-interest we should at the least keep out of attempts by some Japanese to enrol us in their antipathy to China.

Footnote: In his speech at the NAB Australia-China Business Week on 5 September 2014, Malcolm Turnbull referred to the horrible histories of Japan and China.

He said:

There is one chapter in those histories which is all too often unread even where it is written at all.

For China the war with Japan had begun in 1937 and for for four years she fought alone. Japan had 680,000 troops in China at the time it launched its offensive in the Pacific – four times the number it deployed to sweep through South East Asia until they were stopped at our doorstep in the jungles of New Guinea.

Had China been defeated and become a collaborating puppet state, like Vichy France, not only would Japan have been able to fling vastly greater resources into the war against Australia, but it would have been able to invade Siberia in 1942, as Hitler asked, when the Red Army was almost smashed by the Nazi offensive in the West.

We may not have succeeded in resisting Japanese aggression without the tenacious heroism of our Chinese ally.

The Soviet Union, reeling in the face of the blitzkrieg, may not have been able to survive a two-front war at its moment of greatest weakness.

The central role of China as our ally in the Second World War is barely remembered in Australia today. But it will never be forgotten in China.

We should never forget that China’s war against Japan was not just their war, but our war too – and without China we may not have won it at all.

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