Japan’s ambassador to the U.K. dispensed with diplomatic niceties in a Sunday op-ed in The Telegraph that warned China not to play the role of “Voldemort,” the noseless wicked wizard of Harry Potter fame. China’s ambassador lobbed the same unflattering comparison at Japan in a Jan. 2 op-ed.
The dueling articles centered on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s trip to a shrine where several convicted war criminals are interred. Japan’s Keiichi Hayashi noted that during the visit Abe renewed a pledge for “everlasting peace” and intended “by no means to pay homage to war criminals.”
He contrasted Japan’s 68-year record of democracy and a stated “commitment to peace” with China’s recent military buildup. “It is ironic that a country that has increased its own military spending by more than 10% a year for the past 20 years should call a neighbour ‘militarist,’” he opined.
“Voldemort,” on the other hand, seems to be fair game in the increasingly heated war of words between the East Asian neighbors’ diplomatic corps.