Le Yucheng, China's assistant foreign minister. (File photo/CNS)
A Chinese diplomat warned on Friday that China should be aware of growing right-wing forces in Japan, as they may work to undermine bilateral ties.
"The so-called 'purchase' of the Diaoyu Islands is not happenstance, but the result of changes in Japan's domestic political climate. There is an 'evil trend' in Japan that is leading the country and China-Japan relations toward an extremely dangerous situation," Assistant Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said at a seminar on the dispute over the islands in the East China Sea held in Beijing.
Le said Japan's economic slowdown and a devastating earthquake last year have resulted in instability and uncertainty, allowing right-wing forces represented by Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara to take advantage of the situation and fan the flames of right-wing ideology. Ishihara launched a campaign to raise funds from the public to buy the uninhabited islands in order to develop them. His plan was pre-empted by a move this week by Japan's central government to pay US$26 million to the private owners of the islands in order to nationalize them and preserve them in their current state. This has nonetheless brought a furious reaction from China and Taiwan, which also claim the islands and view the move as illegal and a violation of sovereignty.
This shows that right-wing forces have begun to influence the political climate of Japan and the policies of its government, Le said, adding that people in neighboring countries and around the world have warned that Japan is moving toward the far right.
Japanese authorities have indulged the right wing and used it as a shield when engaging in provocative acts and diverting attention from its own problems, Le said, adding the situation has led to tense relations between Japan and its neighbors.
He warned against Japan's tendency to revise its pacifist constitution and stray from the three non-nuclear principles, which have caused it to break away from the restraints of post-World War II international order.
"The 'evil trend' has had a strong showing in bilateral relations. There are people who are unwilling to accept China's development. They seek ways to make trouble for China and cause disturbances in bilateral relations. The Diaoyu Islands issue has become an excuse for them to damage bilateral relations," Le said.
The islands are known as the Diaoyutai in Taiwan and Senkaku in Japan.