Japan's game will not succeed

Updated: 2012-08-20 08:03

By Pan Guoping (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

On Aug 15, 1945, the Japanese emperor accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and announced the unconditional surrender of Japan's military forces.

On the 67th anniversary of Japan's unconditional surrender, it is very important to urge Japan to fulfill its obligations of unconditional surrender, and warn the United States to refrain from taking any action that could revitalize Japanese militarism. This is necessary for the implementation of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.

On July 26, 1945, the US, the UK and China issued the Potsdam Declaration, saying the Allies, after victory over Nazi Germany, have resolved to put unrelenting military pressure on Japan until it agrees to unconditional surrender. The erstwhile Soviet Union joined the declaration after declaring war on Japan on Aug 8, 1945.

World War II ended with the unconditional surrender of Japan. The instrument of surrender or the Potsdam Declaration, which Japan accepted, has certain legal responsibilities.

First, the basic principle of the Potsdam Declaration is to end Japanese militarism and protect human beings from the horrors of war. The declaration says the Japanese military shall be completely disarmed, stern punishment shall be meted out to all war criminals, and the industries that could enable Japan to rearm itself for war shall be destroyed.

Second, the Potsdam Declaration says a peaceful and democratic Japan shall be established after the war by providing freedom of speech, religion and thought, and respecting fundamental human rights. It also says Japan shall be allowed to access raw materials, participate in world trade, and the occupying Allied forces withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives are fulfilled and a peaceful and responsible government is established in accordance with the free will of the Japanese people.

To this end, Article 9 of the Japanese constitution says: Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes; to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained; the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

And third, the declaration says Taiwan and its subsidiary Diaoyu Islands shall be returned to China, and implementing the terms of the Cairo Declaration, Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as the Allies determine. All the territories that Japan had captured from China such as Northeast China, Taiwan and the Penghu Islands shall be returned to China. It should be noted that the Ryukyu Islands and the Diaoyu Islands were not allocated to Japan.

But in 1951, the US and Japan signed the Mutual Security Treaty, which allowed American troops to be stationed on Japanese soil for the defense of Japan. This was unilateral repeal of the Potsdam Declaration, which the US had no right to do.

The US unilaterally granted a waiver to Japan's obligations of unconditional surrender and the two countries formed a military alliance. The Potsdam Declaration is a multilateral treaty and no state can unilaterally modify or repeal it. The US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty is a serious violation of the Potsdam Declaration. It has no legal sanction and, hence, cannot have a bearing on the Diaoyu Islands

In addition, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, the US has threatened the UN's collective security system by establishing bilateral and multilateral military alliances. The US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty also violates the Charter of the United Nations, and it has no legitimacy and rationality.

China has the right to seek the fulfillment of the Potsdam Declaration. China made huge sacrifices and great contributions to the victory of the anti-fascist forces. It is an initiator of and state party to the Potsdam Declaration. And, as in the past, it has the right to supervise the Potsdam Declaration now and in the future.

In the context of the US' recent strategy to "pivot" to the Pacific, Japanese right-wing forces are trying to create disturbance. They are calling for a change in Japan's peaceful constitution, and re-interpreting the country's right to self-defense, deployment of troops overseas, expansion of armaments, and manufacturing and development of high-end military weapons.

Japan has held regular military exercises with the US in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, and showed little inclination of repenting and mending its ways by denying its World War II crimes, such as the Nanjing Massacre, the bacteria war, forced labor and comfort women and other crimes against humanity.

Also, Japanese right-wing forces and the government have colluded to play petty tricks over the Diaoyu Islands, which belong to China. The US and Japan have worked together to deploy CV-22 Osprey military transport aircraft and RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft in Okinawa and other US military bases to "defend" the Diaoyu Islands.

The US' unilateral distortion of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration deserves to be condemned. The Potsdam Declaration has not lost its importance; it never will.

If Japan continues to blatantly violate the obligations of its unconditional surrender and the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, and attempts to revive its war machinery, it will forever be bound by the "enemy state" clauses of the UN Charter and will never be accepted by people in China, Asia and the world. And its dream of acquiring a permanent seat in the UN Security Council will never be realized.

The author is professor of International Law at Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing