Former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara dropped another bombshell statement at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo when he told reporters that Japan must “simulate” possessing nuclear weapons if it wants to be taken seriously in diplomatic negotiations.
The controversial politician, known for his hawkish views on China, said the government should try to resolve disputes with Beijing in a calm but resolute manner and should not be like Tibet which has fallen under Chinese power. Ishihara also stated that the defense budget, currently limited to one percent of the national budget, should be increased. He believes this measures are necessary to ensure that the country can stand firm against China and give it a stronger diplomatic voice. Some consider Ishihara to be responsible for the current territorial row with China when the Japanese central government was forced to step in and preempt his purchase of the disputed Senkaku / Daioyu Islands.
Ishihara’s comments were made just days after he was named the co-leader of the newly formed Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) which aims to set up a third force to face the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the opposing Liberal Democratic Party in the upcoming national elections in December. Although he clarifies that he is only expressing his personal opinion and not that of his party, his comments will definitely ruffle the feathers of the public who, especially after last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, have grown distrustful of nuclear power. But it might also gain some traction from those who are growing weary of the government’s handling of relations with China.
[via Daily Star]