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The Senkaku issue as seen from the Falklands War

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KOBE - I read a lot of books, both for fun but also for my work as an academic. Biographies and memoirs are my favorite, but I do not limit myself to those genres alone. That said, one of the best books I read this year so far is the 1993 memoirs of Margaret Thatcher, who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and who passed away in 2013 at the age of 87.

All readers my age and older will certainly remember her, and the close relationship she had with Yasuhiro Nakasone, who served as prime minister from 1982-1987 and is still fortunately with us today (at 101 years old). Symbolizing the instability of Japan’s politics with its usual rapid change in administrations, Nakasone was one of the six Japanese prime ministers who were Thatcher’s counterparts during her time in office, although he was the longest serving then and one of the longest serving in the postwar period.

If Thatcher had a good relationship with the strong conservative Nakasone, she had an extremely difficult time with his predecessor, the former socialist-turned-Liberal Democratic Party member Zenko Suzuki. Her frustrations with Japan during the early years of her administration were clear throughout her memoirs, citing Japan’s stance on issues as “lame,” one of the worst put-downs in sanitized English.

Nowhere was this clearer than in her disappointment with Japan’s stance during the Falklands War, in which Argentina, citing territorial disputes with Britain, invaded the islands, necessitating an eventual military response by the British.

Japan at the time was........

© The Japan Times