When will Abe heed people’s voices on constitutional revision?
AJapanese friend, Michio Hamaji, sent me an email on June 25, saying he was annoyed to hear that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has ruled out the inclusion of some documents related to Japan’s Constitution in its memory register. The 70-something businessman-turned-campaigner for the pacifist Constitution blamed the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the UN body’s decision.
The Asahi Shimbun reported that UNESCO has decided not to consider politically sensitive nominations for its Memory of the World Register, which is designed to preserve important historical materials.
In 2015, UNESCO included China’s dossier on the Nanjing Massacre in the register. The package had documents from Dec 13, 1937, to early 1938, including court records from the trials of war criminals, as well as photographs taken by the Japanese army and a film shot by an American missionary. Japan was so irritated with UNESCO’s decision that it temporarily postponed its contribution of 3.9 billion yen ($35 million) to the world organization, arguing that the UNESCO program should not be used for political purposes.
The Japanese documents submitted by a group of people from Japan, the United States and some other countries to UNESCO in 2016 include transcripts of an interview of former Japanese prime minister Kijuro Shidehara by his aide and lawmaker Saburo Hirano and the testimony of General Douglas MacArthur to a US Senate committee. MacArthur led the Allied occupation of Japan following its defeat in World War II.
According to the documents, Shidehara called on MacArthur to add a paragraph saying Japan would not retain armed forces or other war potential in its postwar Constitution.
He said he supports Article 9 for the sake of his grandchildren.