When will Abe heed peo­ple’s voices on con­sti­tu­tional re­vi­sion?

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS - The au­thor is China Daily Tokyo bureau chief. cai­hong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

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