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Should Tokyo cancel Xi’s visit due to Hong Kong?

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Yasuhiro Nakasone, the eighth longest-serving prime minister of Japan, passed away last Friday, bringing to close a life of more than a century. U.S. President Ronald Reagan used to call him “Yasu,” but many in Japan still call him, with admiration and awe, (the holder of) “the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.”

The front-page headline of The Japan Times on the news of his death was “Nakasone: political titan who spanned eras.” The New York Times noted that Nakasone “called for a stronger military and a larger global role for Japan and was one of the few Japanese leaders to win recognition on the world stage.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially expressed his deepest condolences to the Nakasone family and the people of Japan. His statement read, “Prime Minister Nakasone was a courageous leader at a critical juncture for Japan and a trusted friend of the United States,” and “As a great statesman, his efforts to improve relations with neighboring countries … have had a lasting impact on the international community.” President Donald Trump later expressed similar admiration for the late Japanese leader.

Now I have some simple questions. If Nakasone were prime minister again, how would he deal with China now? Would he publicly support Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement or enact a Japanese version of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act? And, ultimately, would he cancel Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Japan?

My answers are not as simple as my questions. If he were prime minister now, Nakasone might neither publicly support the students in Hong Kong nor try to enact........

© The Japan Times