Mayor of Nagoya, Takashi Kawamura
Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura recently kicked up a storm by denying that the Rape of Nanking ever took place. Despite strong protests lodged by China — albeit somewhat belatedly — Kawamura did not apologize, but even repeated what he said yesterday. Nanjing has since suspended its sister-city ties with Nagoya. Now, Global Times continues to bay for blood, calling for China to sanction the mayor. In an editorial, the paper said Kawamura “must pay for arrogance”:
We advise China to levy sanctions on Kawamura, for example listing him as an unwelcome person and barring his entry into China. Nagoya can be delisted from the schedule of Chinese tourism groups to Japan. China can also consider reducing economic exchanges with the city.
These are fully reasonable steps. Kawamura directly offended the delegation from Nanjing, the city victimized by the brutal killings in 1937. It is a serious mistake both from a diplomatic and historical perspective. As a result, he has infuriated the whole of Chinese society. Due punishment will appease the Chinese public, which has long thought of the Chinese diplomatic approach as weak.
Kawamura should be pressed to apologize or even resign. Denying the Nanjing Massacre is not a mainstream view in Japan. Japanese authorities admitted the Massacre took place, though disagreement around the exact death toll persists. Hideaki Omura, governor of Aichi Prefecture where Nagoya locates, has called upon Kawamura to correct his charged remarks.
Punishing Kawamura is right. We understand the questions raised by a few Japanese rightists on Nanjing Massacre under certain circumstances. But Kawamura, as a politician, has crossed the line. A similar mistake would cost dearly for politicians everywhere. Imagine if a Chinese official applauded the atom bombs dropped on Japan in front of a delegation from Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Could the Japanese accept it?