Commentary: Abe should show more sincerity, play less tricks during visit to Pearl Harbor

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-26 14:53

Commentary: Abe should show more sincerity, play less tricks during visit to Pearl Harbor

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gestures during a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 21, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe starts a two-day visit to Pearl Harbor on Monday, where he is slated to attend a ceremony with US President Barack Obama to remember the thousands of US soldiers and civilians killed during a surprise attack by Japan there on Dec 7, 1941.

Abe expected that the trip will be a symbol of reconciliation, but his no-apology stance fully demonstrates that the visit is only a diplomatic show aiming to score political points and strengthen Japan's alliance with the United States, while constituting no sincere reflection upon Japan's wartime crimes.

Japan's prime minister has emphasized that the nature of the visit was intended to "console victims" of the Japanese attack in 1941, the phrasing of which was typical of Abe, who has always avoided using more direct language that might constitute an apology.

Abe's top spokesperson, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, has also made it clear that during Abe's visit between Dec. 26 and Dec. 27, "no apology would be offered" for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Behind Abe's latest no-apology gesture is a pragmatic and opportunistic logic which, while not wanting to truly reflect upon past crimes, is geared towards hoping the world let Japan off the hook regarding its past war debts, especially amid uncertainties surrounding the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump.

Japan has also wanted to assign more diplomatic significance to this visit than it deserves, mistakenly calling it the first visit by a sitting Japanese leader to Pearl Harbor, though local media reports uncovered later that at least three Japanese leaders, secretly to some extent, visited Pearl Harbor before Abe.

What Abe should note is that these tricks are not going to fool the world and anything other than a genuine apology and a true reflection on its wartime atrocities will not lead to reconciliation in any true sense.

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