Abe’s am­bi­gu­ity on state­ments harms Ja­pan

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

Truly fol­low­ing the worl­drec­og­nized “Mu­rayama State­ment” has be­come a tough test for Ja­panese PrimeMin­is­ter Shinzo Abe and his ad­min­is­tra­tion, as the prime min­is­ter has in­creas­ingly re­sorted to a game of words on the key is­sue of Ja­pan’s at­ti­tude to­ward its war­time wrong­do­ings.

Abe gave yet an­other show of his con­ser­va­tive right-lean­ing po­lit­i­cal stand dur­ing an up­per house de­bate onMon­day whenMasayoshiNataniya, a law­maker from the main op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Party of Ja­pan, asked Abe to read word by word some un­der­lined parts of the 1995 state­ment by then PrimeMin­is­ter Tomi­ichiMu­rayama.

The few­lines, which epit­o­mize the essence of the state­ment, read “dur­ing a cer­tain pe­riod in the not too dis­tant past, Ja­pan, fol­low­ing a mis­taken na­tional pol­icy, ad­vanced along the road to war, only to en­snare the Ja­panese people in a fateful cri­sis, and, through its colo­nial rule and ag­gres­sion, caused tremen­dous dam­age and suf­fer­ing to the people of many coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly to those of Asian na­tions.”

How­ever, de­spite Nataniya’s re­peated de­mands, Abe chose to read only “Ja­pan caused tremen­dous dam­age and suf­fer­ing to the people of many coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly to those of Asian na­tions,” de­lib­er­ately leav­ing out other parts, which shows the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion’s con­fes­sion to and re­flec­tion on Ja­pan’s war­time crimes.

Abe’s in­sin­cere show ex­posed his true at­ti­tude to­ward the “Mu­rayama State­ment”. While he reluc­tantly ad­mit­ted the aftermath brought by Ja­pan’s war­time ag­gres­sion and colo­nial rule, he tried by ev­ery means to shirk Ja­pan’s re­spon­si­bil­ity in launch­ing the wars of ag­gres­sion, and avoided even the mere men­tion­ing of words such as “colo­nial rule” and “ag­gres­sion”.

A cor­rect per­cep­tion on his­tory re­quires not only readi­ness to bear re­spon­si­bil­ity for what one has done in the past, but also the courage to look for the root causes of one’s wrong­do­ings. Un­for­tu­nately, Abe does not have the courage and sin­cer­ity to face up to his­tory and apol­o­gize for Ja­pan’s war­time atroc­i­ties.

“No­body can deny theMu­rayama State­ment. It has be­come an in­ter­na­tional pledge and Ja­pan’s na­tional pol­icy,” Mu­rayama him­self said ear­lier at Ja­panNa­tional Press Club.

An­a­lysts in Tokyo noted that the land­mark state­ment has been adopted by all prime min­is­ters since the of­fi­cial apol­ogy was is­sued. But much to the con­ster­na­tion of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, Abe has pre­tended to fol­low the state­ment, while in fact deny­ing its essence through his play of words.

Mean­while, some right-lean­ing Ja­panese politi­cians aim to un­der­mine the very foun­da­tion of “Kono State­ment”, which ad­mits the Ja­pan’s Im­pe­rial Army in­volved in forc­ing be­tween 200,000 and 400,000 girls and women into sex­ual slav­ery in the coun­tries it oc­cu­pied dur­ing the war.

Se­nior Vice-Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion, Cul­ture, Sports, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Yoshi­taka Saku­rada on Mon­day de­nied the ex­is­tence of the is­sue of sex­ual slav­ery, or “com­fort women”.

His re­mark came af­ter the Ja­panese govern­ment de­ci­sion to set up a team to re-ex­am­ine the tes­ti­monies by some for­mer South Korean “com­fort women”, which formed the ba­sis of the 1993 state­ment.

Chief Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga said dur­ing a lower house ses­sion on Feb. 28 that “we’d like to launch a team to re-ex­am­ine and un­der­stand the back­ground”, adding: “It will be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, but it’s im­por­tant to re­viewand see what the sit­u­a­tion was.”

The re­cent moves by some Ja­panese right-lean­ing politi­cians should re­mind the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity that people of the world must sharpen vig­i­lance and try to see through all the tricks Abe and his like play in their at­tempts to white­wash its war­time his­tory and push Ja­pan onto a dan­ger­ous road of chal­leng­ing post-war in­ter­na­tional or­der and en­dan­ger­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion. The au­thors are with Xin­hua News Agency.

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