World / Asia-Pacific

ROK's painful history must not be repeated by Abe's Japan

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-30 09:51

SEOUL - History repeats itself, yet there is a history that must never be allowed to be repeated: a militaristic Japan, its occupation of the Korean Peninsula followed by innumerable atrocities against innocent people.

Lee Yong-soo, 87, a former South Korean "comfort woman" victim who was forced into sexual slavery for Japanese military brothels during World War II, is one of those who worry about the repeating of the vicious cycle of history.

Lee is now in Washington, holding a rally with civic groups of South Korea, China and the United States in front of the Capitol Hill, where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will address a joint session of the Congress.

The only thing that Lee, the civic groups and victim states to the imperial Japan as well as rational people of the world want is Abe's sincere apology for wartime atrocities of the past.

Abe, who is on a week-long trip to the United States from Sunday, kept his reluctance to apologize, reiterating his cliche of his "heartache" over "human trafficking." It was a blatant denial of Japan's government intervention in recruitment of the sex slaves, passing the buck to private agents.

Wings were attached to non-repentant Japan after the revision of the guideline for defense cooperation between Washington and Tokyo. The new guideline, revised first since 1997, allowed Japan to carry out military operations in third countries outside Japan' s territory.

The wings were attached by Washington, which itself created the demilitarized Japan through "Peace Constitution" in which the country renounced war as a sovereign right "forever". Now the United States has induced Japan to rearm itself, thus triggering worries about the launch of the initial phase of repeated history.

Many South Koreans still remember the US role in inducing Japan to occupy the Korean Peninsula through the Taft-Katsura Memorandum. In July 1905, US Secretary of War William Taft and then-Japanese Prime Minister Toro Katsura held a secret meeting, reaching a conclusion of the US recognition of Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula in return for Japan's acceptance of the US control over the Philippines.

The new US-Japan guideline opened a door for Japan's self-defense forces to operate in South Korea's territory, waters and airspace without an advance consent. Backed by the twin deficits- strapped United States, Japanese forces may conduct military operations around the Korean Peninsula on behalf of American troops.

Any military provocation from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) could serve as an excuse for Japan to wield its military power in and around the Korean Peninsula. The possibility for military conflicts between Seoul and Tokyo got higher given the combination of the ongoing territorial disputes and more leeway to Japan's military operations.

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