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Abe still driving wedge between Japan and China | Updated: 2017-08-15 20:17

Over the past five years, the world has waited and hoped for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to acknowledge the truth in his perception of history. However, he has constantly let the world down.

He did so again on Tuesday, when, at a national memorial service to mark the 72nd anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, he once again shied away from Japan's wartime atrocities and failed to mention that he had "reflected" on his country's past aggression that brought untold suffering to Asian countries such as China and the Republic of Korea. Neither did he pledge his country will not engage in war again.

The atrocities committed by the Japanese during their occupation of Asian countries are irrefutable. Much as they would like to bury them, the historical truths are well evidenced and documented. Any attempt by Japanese leaders to whitewash or even deny that part of history is an open defiance to peace-loving people around the world.

If Abe continues to pretend that Japan's past aggression never happened, he will only reinforce his image as a politician willing stoop to any level, no matter how low, to realize his ambitions for Japan to play a bigger role in regional and world affairs.

The deceitful paramnesia displayed by Abe and like-minded Japanese makes a mockery of this aspiration, and it is simply helping to cultivate a national image that is at odds with their assertions that Japan is a peace-loving country.

Abe and his right-wing followers in Japan know well their repeated denial of historical truths have reopened wounds that had begun to heal. Their unwillingness to face up to the truths of history has soured Japan's relations with China and the ROK, and is pulling Japan further apart from them.

It is no exaggeration to say the past five years have been among the darkest days in Sino-Japanese ties since the two established formal diplomatic ties.

And Abe is painting the picture even darker by stubbornly refusing to listen to reason and adamantly leading Japan in the wrong direction.

Abe has nothing to lose by changing tack and helping Japan lay down the burden of history; indeed, his country has much to gain as he would create the opportunity to reset Sino-Japanese ties.

The door for putting China-Japan relations back onto a normal track remains open, Japan has to reflect sincerely upon history and face up to its past.

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