Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor called ‘ hypocritical gesture’
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s announcement to visit Pearl Harbor is a “hypocritical gesture” to cater to the United States rather than a sincere reflection on the country’s World War II-era war crimes, analysts said.
Yoshihide Suga, chief Cabinet secretary of Japan, said on Tuesday that Abe will not apologize for the surprise attack that killed more than 2,000 US citizens and triggered the entry of the US into World War II.
“This visit is for the sake of consoling the souls of those who died in the war, not for the sake of an apology,” Suga told a news conference.
Abe said on Monday that he will visit Pearl Harbor in late December with US President Barack Obama, 75 years after Japan’s attack on Hawaii in 1941. He will be the first Japanese leader to visit the site since the end of World War II.
Abe’s refusal to apologize has triggered online protests among Chinese netizens. A micro-blogger named Chang Ray said Abe should visit Nanjing, where more than 300,000 people were killed by Japanese troops from December 1937 to January 1938. The netizen got more than 300 “likes” on his micro blog account for his comment on the issue.
A series of activities will be held in Nanjing to commemorate the anniversary of the massacre, which falls on Dec 13.
Abe’s lack of an apology during his Pearl Harbor trip could disappoint some US war veterans, Reuters reported.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a news conference on Monday that it was natural for World War II veterans to be “embittered” about Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor, but they should get over it for the sake of the United States.
Zhang Jingquan, a professor of Japanese studies at Jilin University, said that Abe aims to strengthen the Japan-US relationship by visiting Pearl Harbor to emphasize Japan’s “common value” with the United States.
“There is no ‘common value’ at all between Japan and the US on many issues, such as the comfort women (sex slaves during World War II) issue,” he said.
Abe’s refusal to apologize showed that his visit is just “a hypocritical gesture” to cater to the US, Zhang said.
Zhou Yongsheng, a professor of international relations at China Foreign Affairs University, said Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor is merely a pragmatic act to show Japan’s loyalty to the United States.