Watching the unimaginable scenes of the recent storming of the U.S. Capitol on world news channels was a painful experience. The words being used to describe the event –– coup, insurrection, sedition –– were equally disturbing.
Readers may be interested in the view from Japan. Below I have posted excerpts of a lengthy Japan Times editorial.
Sadly, unlike other world leaders who have condemned the violent behavior and expressed concern, Japanese Prime Minister Suga has remained silent.
“Heartbreak, Humiliation and Tragedy for the United States.”
The Japan Times Editorial Board | January 8, 2021
Images broadcast from the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. this week are sickening. The building was breached by a mob rejecting Joe Biden’s victory in the November election and demanding that Donald Trump remain as president. One person was shot in the melee, Capitol offices and the chamber were looted and incendiary devices were found there and elsewhere in the city. No one should be surprised by this grim and depressing turn of events. It is the natural culmination of weeks of increasingly strident, baseless and desperate assertions by the president and his supporters that the election was stolen.
The manic intensity erupted Wednesday in Washington when a mob, encouraged by Trump to assemble and protest in support for him, stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing suspension of proceedings to certify the Electoral College results and evacuation of the building, all of which played out on television. One protestor was shot and later died and looters proudly desecrated the building. It is telling that the mob carried the Confederate flag and the “Trump flag” — a U.S. flag with a blue line running through it. Both confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s declaration on Wednesday that the violence “borders on sedition.” “It was not protest,” he added, “It is insurrection.”
The future is uncertain, but sometimes its outlines are clear. The horrific ending of the Trump administration was not ordained, but it was foreseen and ever more likely as bad behaviors were ignored and enabled. Abigail Spanberger, a Democratic representative from Virginia who served as a CIA case officer, recognized what had transpired. “This is what we see in failing countries,” she said. “This is what leads to a death of democracy.”
That is unlikely in this case. Americans are sobered, horrified and outraged by these events. Still, friends of the U.S. and supporters of democracy must denounce the violence and demand a return to regular order. Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato was right to say that he “hoped for a peaceful transfer of power,” but that is not enough. He must denounce the violence and demand that the results of the election be respected. We expect better from the United States and we must let our ally and partner know that it is falling short of the example it has hoped to set.
The United States will survive this moment, but it will be wounded. We must recognize that even the United States, a bastion of democracy, can be undermined, destabilized and seduced by an autocrat. The guardrails can be and are being stressed and it is up to us all as citizens to see them made strong.Read the complete editorial and other news coverage here: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2021/01/07/editorials/us-capitol-mob/