In an op-ed published January 31 in Al Jazeera America, Asian Studies Program Director Constantine Vaporis writes about East Asia’s “history wars” and the growing tensions among countries in the region.
In “Japan stokes regional tension by revising school curriculum,” Vaporis writes the history wars are grounded in four issues: visits to the Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese officials, ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of several islets in the Sea of Japan, Japan’s responsibility for the suffering of “comfort women,” and recent controversy over Japanese textbooks and their explanation of colonial and wartime history:
At the root of the troubling and deep-seated problems between South Korea and Japan — two of Washington’s strongest allies in Asia — is history. The stability of East Asia and the success of President Barack Obama’s much-heralded “pivot” toward Asia now hinges on the potential outcomes of these disputes, sometimes referred as the “history wars.” The enormity of the challenge warrants a swift plan of action from the United States.
You can read the full op-ed in Al Jazeera America by clicking here.