I’m back in Gifu now. I love Hokkaido, but it’s always nice to come home. I drove 1,200 km yesterday, which was a bit more than I planned, but I enjoyed travelling through some beautiful parts of the country.
A few weeks ago, we discussed the argument between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands. At the time, I remember a few of you saying that you had not really thought about the topic. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse, and some reports in the Western media are now talking about the possibility of military conflict between the two countries. (This is big news all over the world, not just in Japan and China.)
As I’m sure you have seen, there have been several attacks on Japanese companies and businesses in China recently, and there have even been some attacks on Japanese people. I read in a British newspaper today that some big companies like Toyota and Hitachi have even gone so far as to close their shops and factories in order to protect their workers. There is also a story that 100 fishing boats have left China heading for the islands. If this is true, everyone is waiting to see how the Japanese coastguard will respond. If even one of the Chinese boat captains decides to do something stupid to provoke them, this could easily escalate very quickly.
I know we discussed the problem of the islands before, but I would be very interested to know what you are all thinking now. Do you blame Governor Ishihara for causing this trouble, or do you think the Chinese government is more at fault? What do you think is the best way to solve this crisis? Do you think it will ever be possible for China and Japan to have a good relationship given their history?
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.