Abe visit to Pearl Har­bor a po­lit­i­cal ‘show’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, who is on a trip to Pearl Har­bor but has no plan to apol­o­gize for the World War II sur­prise at­tack that killed 2,400 Amer­i­cans, should sin­cerely re­flect on his coun­try’s war crimes rather than just “put on a show”, a Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman said on Tues­day.

“Can a so-called vic­tim-con­so­la­tion trip to Pearl Har­bor com­pletely wipe away World War II his­tory? I am afraid it’s just wish­ful think­ing on his part,” spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said at a reg­u­larly sched­uled news con­fer­ence.

Abe was sched­uled to visit the site of the 1941 at­tack in Hawaii, which drew the United States into World War II.

Abe vis­ited sev­eral memo- ri­als on Mon­day. He and US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama were to lay a wreath at the USS Ari­zona Me­mo­rial be­fore speak­ing at a military base on Tues­day.

An­a­lysts said that Abe’s real pur­pose is not to re­flect on Ja­pan’s war crimes, but to en­hance its al­liance with the US, which could un­dergo stark changes af­ter Don­ald Trump be­comes pres­i­dent next month. Trump has voiced op­po­si­tion to the pro­posed, US-led Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship trade pact, in­clud­ing Ja­pan as a mem­ber. Trump also has threat­ened to force al­lied coun­tries to pay more to host US forces.

Point­ing out that the main Asian bat­tle­field of the World Anti-Fas­cist War was in China, Hua said that Ja­pan “could not turn the page of his­tory” with­out rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with Asian vic­tim coun­tries in­clud­ing China.

“Just like peo­ple in the US will not for­get the at­tack on Pearl Har­bor, the Chi­nese peo­ple will not for­get the

na­tion’s im­mense sac­ri­fice as well as the com­pa­tri­ots vic­tim­ized by the Nan­jing Mas­sacre,” For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang said this month. More than 300,000 peo­ple were killed by Ja­panese troops from De­cem­ber 1937 to Jan­uary 1938 dur­ing the mas­sacre.

On Sun­day, 53 em­i­nent US and Ja­panese peo­ple, in­clud- ing US film­maker Oliver Stone and Univer­sity of Tokyo pro­fes­sor Tet­suya Taka­hashi, sent an open let­ter to Abe to ask whether he planned to pay trib­ute to vic­tims of Ja­pan’s wartime ag­gres­sion in other na­tions.

“Will you also be vis­it­ing China, Korea, other Asia-Pa­cific na­tions, or the other Al­lied na­tions for the pur­pose of ‘mourning’ war vic­tims in those coun­tries who num­ber in the tens of mil­lions?” the let­ter said.

Gao Hong, a se­nior re­searcher in Ja­pan stud­ies at the Chi­nese Acad­emy of So­cial Sciences, said Abe’s trip is meant to gain po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests rather than “mourning the vic­tims, as he is la­bel­ing it”.

Gao said that through such diplo­matic moves, Abe hopes to un­load Ja­pan’s bur­den of World War II his­tory and turn the page on Ja­pan’s atrocities dur­ing the war, he said.

Peter Li, a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Hous­ton, said that Abe’s visit to Pearl Har­bor is mean­ing­less un­less he rec­og­nizes Ja­pan’s war crimes.

De­scrib­ing Abe’s re­fusal to apol­o­gize for the at­tack on Pearl Har­bor as “not sur­pris­ing”, Li said, “this re­fusal to ad­mit Ja­panese crimes against hu­man­ity has been shown in Tokyo’s pol­icy to­ward Asian coun­tries that were vic­tims of Ja­panese ag­gres­sion.”

“This re­fusal to ad­mit crimes was also demon­strated in its de­nial of the use of Asian women as ‘sex slaves’ for the Ja­panese army and its de­nial of its war crimes in Nank­ing, China,” he said.


Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and James Hor­ton, di­rec­tor of the US Na­tional Me­mo­rial of the Pa­cific, ob­serve a mo­ment of si­lence on Mon­day.

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