Abe playing tricky game with WWII

Updated: 2015-03-14 08:18

By Wang Ping(China Daily)

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Abe playing tricky game with WWII

Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama speaks in front of portraits of former leaders of his Social Democratic Party during an interview with Reuters at the party headquarters in Tokyo March 10, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

As the world prepares to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory against fascist forces in World War II and the triumph of the Chinese people in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), the spotlight will be on former fascist powers, especially Japan, and their attitude toward their war crimes.

In a statement issued on Aug 15, 1995, half a century after the end of WWII, then Japanese prime minister Tomiichi Murayama expressed deep remorse over Japan's wartime invasion of and atrocities committed on neighboring countries. He said mutual trust and understanding between Japan and its Asian neighbors were vital to forge a stable Asia-Pacific region and a peaceful world.

Moreover, Murayama admitted that Japan's decision to wage a series of wars was wrong, which caused nothing but misery to the people in the victim countries, including China and the Republic of Korea.

Murayama's apology, known as the "Murayama Statement", not only helped improve Japan's relations with its neighbors, but also set a good example for his successors to follow.

But even before taking office for the second time as Japan's prime minister at the end of 2012, Shinzo Abe began his attempt to whitewash his country's history of war crimes.

To garner support for his Liberal Democratic Party in the 2012 election, Abe declared in his election manifesto that, if elected, he would improve standards for textbook censorship by revising the clauses that require Japan to respect the sentiments of its Asian neighbors. His move was an open challenge to Kiichi Miyazawa, who as Japan's chief cabinet secretary in 1982 had pushed for the implementation of the clauses.

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