Revisionism is against reason
Updated: 2013-05-29 08:04
By Li Jiping (China Daily)
Whatever words and tactics Shinzo Abe uses for self-defense, the ultra-rightist Japanese prime minister should face up to history and bear in mind that paying respect to the feelings of Asian victims has never been an academic issue. Instead, it is a serious human, political and diplomatic issue.
For a period of time after his reelection as Japan's prime minister at the end of last year, Abe chose to conceal his extremist political inclinations and focus attention on domestic economic development in a bid to win public approval and consolidate his political support. Such an option helped Abe gain a high public approval rating, but his remarks and behavior concerning the historical issue in the following months have betrayed his innermost political nature.
At a parliamentary meeting on April 22, Abe said that he would reconsider the Murayama statement, in which former prime minister Tomiichi Murayama made an apology to Japan's Asian neighbors for the "enormous sufferings caused by Japan's colonial rule and aggression" during World War II. Abe also claimed he was doubtful of the exact definition of "aggression", given that "the definition of what constitutes aggression has yet to be established in academia or in the international community". Such provocative remarks came almost concurrently with a ritual offering Abe made at the Yasukuni Shrine where 14 Class-A war criminals are honored among ordinary war dead, and with his questioning the legitimacy of Japan's post-World War II pacifist constitution. At a ceremony held on April 28 to mark what Japan calls "Sovereignty Day", Abe and his cabinet members even shouted "long live the emperor", a slogan that was used by Japanese soldiers during World War II to show loyalty to the emperor, who was at the heart of Japan's wartime militaristic bureaucracy.
Not surprisingly, his words and doings angered China, the Republic of Korea and other of Japan's neighbors, but they also caused concern among Japanese media and some members of its ruling and opposition parties.