Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Japan cannot disguise its past

By Cai Hong (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-13 07:46

With such an analysis, the museum exposes itself to ridicule and ignorance, if not bad faith in misleading its audience.

The exhibits are awash with fabrications. When discussing the period from the start of the Russo-Japan War in 1904 to the Manchurian Incident of 1931, the museum states that "the Chinese ... with nationalistic and xenophobic zeal after the revolution, focused their animosity on the then existing international agreements. An anti-Japanese movement in Manchuria... prompted the action by the Kwangtung Army, and the establishment of Manchukuo".

This narrative suggests that the Chinese chose to build the Japanese army which controlled Japan's puppet state in Northeast China and Inner Mongolia.

In his written confession, Rokusashi Takebe, who served as chief of general affairs of the "Manchukuo", said he had implemented the industrial development of the "state" during Japan's aggression against China. And the designs were approved by the Japanese government and army at that time. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East convicted Takebe of being a war criminal.

The Yushukan describes Japan's invasion of China as an "incident" because the two countries, in the museum curators' words, did not declare war against each other, in defiance of the fact that China formally declared war against Japan in December 1941. The museum exhibits Japanese Emperor Hirohito's written declaration of war against the US and Britain.

The narrative the museum has chosen to tell is about war between Japan and the US and Britain. It selectively and deliberately omits what it did to other Asian countries.

Shigeru Honjo, commander-in-chief of the Kwangtung Army, took his own life in November 1945. Maintaining his loyalty to Japanese emperor and his country and seeking to discredit China to the last, Honjo said in his farewell letter that the Manchurian Incident, which took anti-Japanese sentiment to its peak, began with a railway blast. "Insofar as the Kwangtung Army was concerned, we took action unavoidably, in self-defense."

"We received no orders whatever from the government or from the supreme military commander of the Kwangtung Army at the time," his letter continued.

This justification is only too blatantly an alibi for the imperial Japanese government, which drew up detailed plans for invading China.

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