Dalai Lama implore's Japanese government to engage with China on Tibet

The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 27, 2008

Excerpts of the Yomiuri Shimbun's interview with Dalai Lama

London, UK -- Following are excerpts from The Yomiuri Shimbun's exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama in Nottingham, England, on Sunday

The Yomiuri Shimbun: What do you think about the Japanese government's reaction to the Tibet issue?

Dalai Lama: I think the [comments] of [the] Japanese government, including prime minister, we very much appreciate [them]. And Japan, one of the Asian countries, herself suffered a lot, including war. I think only Japanese people experienced nuclear weapons, so there is strong emotions among Japanese, a desire [for] peace [and] antinuclear [feelings are] very strong. So that means the desire for peace is very strong. So firstly, I feel, Japanese can lead the peace movement.

Now [the] Tibet issue, essentially, [has to do] with peace and Tibetans, our sort of way of approach [in our] struggle [is] strictly [one of] nonviolence--that means promotion of peace. And so supporting the Tibetan struggle, the nonviolent struggle, actually [means] helping promote peaceful ways and means to achieve or solve problems. Then, [regarding the] Tibetan culture, our basic aim of the struggle is preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture, that is [a] peaceful culture.

So I thought your support is fit and appropriate. And then Japanese [helped] a lot Chinese, People's Republic of China, [with] economic development. Japan gives loan and also some help, investment for Chinese development. That is, physical development or material development. In that respect Japan [has] done a lot.

Now the time has come: Japan, as a close friend of China, as Tibetans see it, if you are a close friend, it is important to make clear your friend's mistake. I think the Chinese people, and also the Chinese government always say [China is a] peace-loving nation. [For] a genuine peace-loving nation, in order to be a peace-loving nation, just words [are] not sufficient.

Actions should prove that they are peace-loving nation. Some of [the Chinese] government's policy [that is] ruthless and repressive is actually bad for China, [if it wants] to be a superpower. More...respect from the rest of the world is essential. For that reason, some Chinese policy needs correction. So the Japanese prime minister's [comments were] helpful to make clear some mistakes, [some] wrong policy carried out by the Chinese government, [which is] in the long run harmful for the image of China.

Do you mean Prime Minister [Yasuo] Fukuda's remarks to Hu Jintao?

That's right. He expressed his concerns about the Tibet crisis. Even I heard [that the fact that] the prime minister mentioned the Tibet issue [is] now already becoming [an] international issue. It's fact, reality, now make it clear, express the reality--I think it is good.

Are you going to visit Japan?

From time to time and also last year I visited [Japan], and in recent years have visited more often. It is very clear, [seeing] the interest of Japanese, particularly that of the younger generation, growing and also interest showed by Japanese Buddhist monks, that [of] the Buddhist community also [is] growing. So I always, from my first visit to Japan, that was in 1967, [said that] Japan has the ability and opportunity to combine traditional values and modern values. I think Japanese people generally wear suits while you are working, and in the home traditional sorts of [clothes]. And Shintoism and Buddhism [are] an important part of Japanese culture.

And [in the] meantime, modern technology, modern science [are] highly developed. So that is my first impression. So it seems now because of some difficulties with the economy, [which is] stagnant and at a standstill, not [experiencing] rapid...growth, that also, I think, provides an opportunity to look at our traditional values, that means inner values, not money, money, not yen, yen, yen. That is my impression: [that there is] now a growing interest [in this way of thinking]. This, I think, is a sign of maturity.

And I think the suicide rate among students, young generation [is] quite alarmingly high. And many students...are really depressed. These are clearly showing that [the] inner values [of Japanese] are not adequate.

Are you recognizing a growing interest in inner values among the young generation of Japanese?

Yes. It seems that it is growing. That is positive, it is [a] healthy sign--very good.

Most probably at the end of this year, around November, I may go to Japan, because I have been invited, and I have time.