17 April 2005
In Japan, expectations are high that the Japanese foreign minister's meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing will calm tensions between the two countries.
The escalating anti-Japanese protests in China are captivating a worried nation that is becoming increasingly alarmed with each passing day. Tours to China are being postponed, and Japanese businessmen there say they now fear for their personal safety.
The protesters say Japan is not taking responsibility for militarism in Asia before and during World War II, and that is reflected in recently approved school texts, which they say do not reflect a true history.
Tens-of-thousands of Chinese have marched in cities throughout China this past week, with crowds often attacking Japanese diplomatic and commercial properties.
Japanese television newscasts scrutinize every incident, down to close-up shots of each shattered windowpane, while commentators in the studio struggle to explain why latent hostility against Japan over its 20th Century colonial past is now erupting with such ferocity.
If the intention of the demonstrators in China was to prompt a national soul-searching in Japan, that has failed. Instead, Japan's media are calling for the country's government to take a harder line against Beijing.
The liberal Asahi newspaper calls the violence in China "shocking," and says, if it continues, it "will become impossible for international society to trust China."
The conservative Yomiuri, Japan's largest circulation newspaper, calls the protests "intolerable" and says that they will inevitably "deal a big blow to economic relations."
Sunday newspapers across the political spectrum contend that the Chinese government bears serious responsibility, because police have turned what they say is a "blind eye" to the violence.