In an editorial on Monday, Taiwan's China Post described Yasuo Fukuda, the front-runner in the upcoming Japanese election for prime minister. While the Post's editors didn't directly endorse Fukuda, one can assume his policies would meet with their approval:
Fukuda, 71, an advocate of a less U.S.-centric foreign policy, stressed he would not visit Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, seen by many Asian countries as a symbol of Japan's past militarism. He is also critical of Abe's proposal for a "broader Asia" partnership of countries that would include India, the U.S. and Australia - but not China.
From the point of view of a Chinese nationalist, any Japanese P.M. who'd give China more of a free hand by weakening Asian alliances is a P.M. "devoutly to be wish'd."
Meanwhile, the Taipei Times came out in favor of Fukuda's rival, Taro Aso:
There are already too many leaders who are willing to cozy up to Beijing -- and what good has that done Taiwan or Tibet, or the countless Chinese locked up in jail for seeking human rights?
Aso, perhaps, isn't such a leader, and therein lies a tremendous opportunity for Taiwan.
The reason for the Times' optimism has something to do with a statement he made in 2006:
Taiwan's "democracy is considerably matured and liberal economics is deeply ingrained, so it is a law-abiding country," then Japanese foreign minister Taro Aso said in March last year, adding that "in various ways, it is a country that shares a sense of values with Japan."
Aso said Taiwan is a law-abiding COUNTRY? Not too hard to see why supporters of Taiwanese independence would like him. Not coincidentally, today's Taipei Times and Taiwan News both featured stories portraying Aso as a sort of political version of Hiro Nakamura from the TV series Heroes:
An avowed booster of "manga" comic books and animation known as "anime," Aso has won the support of fans - called "otaku," or nerds - for his promise to promote Japanese pop art overseas.
"Aso is a true nerd. He should be prime minister!" said Asami Suzuki, a 20-year-old college student shopping for comics in Akihabara.
"He understands that manga and anime are so important to Japan's image," Suzuki said.
(Hiro Nakamura image from Vividrealism.com)
Unfortunately, the truth is that Aso's not quite as lovable as Hiro:
While Aso was the presumed successor until quite recently, he is widely disliked by powerful figures in the LDP and is prone to gaffes. (Referring to a fellow Diet member, descended from members of Japan’s once-untouchable caste: “That burakumin can’t be Prime Minister,” which would be kind of like a GOP presidential candidate in the US replying, “That [N-word] can’t be President,” when asked about Barack Obama. Referring to the Korean slaves who worked for his father prior to and during World War II being forced to adopt Japanese names: “Most Koreans wanted Japanese names anyway.”)
So, one more time. Who do you like in the Japanese election? The polite guy who'll be no friend to Taiwan, or the politically-incorrect jerk who will?