If Abe has his way, history would vanish

By Cai Hong ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-01-15 07:37:11

While Japanese officials were desperately trying to explain Abe's action to the international community, something more alarming happened in Japan. On Jan 8, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party released a draft proposal for 2014, omitting the "pledge never to wage war again" and "pacifist nation" in a turnaround from its last year's stance. The draft, expected to be formally adopted at the LDP's convention on Jan 19, says: "We take (Yasukuni Shrine)visits to bolster our veneration for and offer our gratitude to those who served as the cornerstone of the country, and renew our commitment to lasting peace." But Yasukuni is not the place to pray for Japan's peace and to pledge not to wage war.

Abe is set to use the parliament's ordinary session from Jan 24 to June 22 to make Japan embrace the right to collective self-defense. In his New Year's address, he said he expected Japan's Constitution "will have been revised" by 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games.

He is desperate to remove the peaceful safeguards put on Japan by the international community after the end of WWII, making even some right-wingers in Japan worried about his moves. "Having been a right-wing activist for more than 40 years, I find today's rightist movement too dangerous for my liking. That is because there aren't enough people left nowadays who understand the true horrors of war," Kunio Suzuki, 70, adviser to Japan's right-wing nationalist group Issuikai, was quoted by the Asahi Shimbun as saying.

Abe wants to rewrite history to whitewash the atrocities Japan committed on the people in neighboring countries, especially China, during WWII, and accord the pride of place to war criminals in the country's pantheon.

In contrast, Germany is still on the lookout for Nazi war criminals. In fact, on Jan 8, an 88-year-old man in Dortmund was charged with the murder of 25 people, and for aiding and abetting the killings of several hundred residents of Oradour-sur-Glane village in central France in 1944. Germany was an ally of Japan during World War II, but the two countries couldn't be more different today.

The author is China Daily's Tokyo bureau chief.

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