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Shinzo Abe disgraces Japan

2014/01/07

New Year's Day is usually a moment of joy and celebration, of pause and meditation, and of reflection and introspection. But just several days before New Year’s Day, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan staged an outrageous provocation against other Asian nations and the entire world by visiting a controversial Yasukuni Shrine that glorifies 14 convicted Class A war criminals of World War II.

Who are these Class-A war criminals? They are the ones engaged in plotting, waging and implementing Japanese militarism's war of aggression. They are criminals of history subject to trials of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. They have the blood of people from victimized countries on their hands. They are fascists and "Nazis" of Asia.

That’s why there were strong condemnations from China, South Korea and across the international community within hours of Abe’s visit.

Visit to Yasukuni Shrine by Mr. Abe can not simply be an internal affair for Japan, or a personal matter for any Japanese official.' Nor does it concern only China-Japan and Korea-Japan relations. His visit in nature, is to overturn the Tokyo trials, whitewash the history of aggression and colonial rule by militarist Japan and deny the outcome of the world anti-fascist war and the post war international order. It is a willful trample on human conscience and an unscrupulous challenge to justice.

It reveals whether Japan is trustworthy. It raises serious questions about attitudes towards its history of militarism, aggression and colonial rule in Japan. At stake is the credit of that country’s leaders in observing the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and upholding peace. It is a choice between aggression and non-aggression, between good and evil. Regrettably, what Mr. Abe did has raised the spectre of militarism rising again in Japan.

Mr. Abe’s track record provides evidence. Since taking office in 2012, he has been talking enthusiastically about justice, democracy, peace and dialogue. But the reality is seen in his actions. He is unrepentant about Japan’s militarist past and makes no apologies for it. He has openly questioned whether his country should be defined as an “aggressor”, and did his utmost to beautify its history of militaristic aggression and colonial rule.

In May 2013, Mr. Abe caused great offence in China and Korea when he was photographed posing in a military jet boldly marked with the number 731, this was the code of an infamous Japanese biological warfare research facility performing human experiments in China during the war.

With these precedents, the world should be very alert. Mr. Abe wishes to amend the post-war pacifist constitution, imposed on Japan by the USA. Close attention should be paid to his colleagues, such as Taro Aso, Deputy Prime Minister, who asserted that Japan could “learn” from Nazi Germany about revising constitutions. Mr. Abe has worked hard to portray China as a threat, aiming to sow discord among Asia-Pacific nations, raising regional tensions and so creating a convenient excuse for the resurrection of Japanese militarism.

Mr. Abe’s conspicuous lack of historical honesty contrasts shamefully with the courage and vision of late West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, who 43 years ago dropped to his knees at the monument to victims of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in a spontaneous act of genuine repentance. The sincere remorse and in-depth reflection of Brandt and other German leaders paved the way for their nation to be accepted by the international community. The moment Brandt knelt down, his nation stood up.

The one who pursues a just cause enjoys abundant support and the one who has no justice on his side gets little support. Will the Japanese leader face up to history, do deep soul-searching and develop future-oriented relations with other Asian countries based on lessons drawn from history? Or will he act wilfully and move alone down the path of error and danger? He is the one to make the choice. We hope that the Japanese leader could give priority to the fundamental and long-term interests of his country and people, bear in mind regional peace and development and be a responsible man in both words and deeds.

As an economic and political heavyweight, Japan has an inherent responsibility to play a constructive role in regional and global affairs. Abe and like-minded Japanese politicians should realize that now they are spawning more uncertainties in an already volatile region.

Global peace and regional stability need an honest and well-behaved Japan. The Japanese people and the international community should join hands to make sure that Japan behaves that way.



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