Shrine offers sanctuary to Abe's politics as PM kowtows to right-wingers

Updated: 2014-03-02 07:47

By Xinhua(China Daily)

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The People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, on Saturday carried a commentary accusing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of using the Yasukuni Shrine as a spiritual sanctuary for his right-wing politics.

It said Abe's visit to the war-linked shrine on Dec 26 was an attempt to stir Japan's right-wing forces, a denial of the outcome of the anti-fascist world war, and a challenge to the post-war international order.

The commentary traced the history of the shrine and asserted that it provides a spiritual sanctuary to Abe's right-wing historical view.

The shrine, founded in 1869, enshrines 2.46 million individuals, most of whom died from wars Japan waged as an invader. On Oct 17, 1978, the shrine included 14 Class-A World War II criminals as martyrs.

Abe, as prime minister, honored the war dead despite international opposition because he was determined to seek a spiritual symbol to rally the "fearless and unflinching" right-wing activists, said the commentary.

Abe's right-wing historical view is "genetic", according to the commentary. Abe is the grandson of Nobusuke Kishi, who served in the Hideki Tojo cabinet and was for a time imprisoned as a "Class A" war criminal after WWII.

Kishi had been pursuing his dream of the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", a pretext used by Japanese militarists to invade Asian countries.

Soon after his inauguration in 1957 as Japanese prime minister, Kishi visited the shrine. Abe spent his childhood with Kishi.

Kishi's brother Sato Eisaku, who was another iconic right-wing figure, also influenced Abe's ideology.

After his rise to power as a politician, Abe was determined to cast off the "burden of history", following his grandfather's "state building" vision.

Abe dismissed the death sentence handed down to seven Japanese war criminals in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also known as the Tokyo trials, defending them as non-criminals under Japan's domestic law.

His remarks received fanatical applause from the right-wing and hawkish politicians domestically.

Abe's right-wing politics are also emboldened by the entire right-wing in Japan, who acts as Abe's think tanks and champions, the commentary said.

Abe has applied his historical view to policymaking. The Abe administration has advocated amending its peaceful constitution, and expanding its military.

On the diplomatic front, Japan has provoked territorial disputes with its Asian neighbors, making unprecedented confrontational gestures ever since WWII.

The Japanese government's military spending has mounted, with its annual military budget above $50 billion. The country has also strived to abolish the restrictive "Three Principles on Arms Exports".

However, the twisted historical view of Abe will only lead Japan toward a hazardous direction and all these attempts are doomed to fail, the commentary said.

If Abe carries on with his right-wing politics, unrepentant, defying human justice and the feelings of the Asian people, "Japan will find itself again on the defendant's seat of history", the commentary warned.

(China Daily 03/02/2014 page2)