Opinion / Chen Weihua

Abe should clarify his views on history

By Chen Weihua (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-03 07:45

Japanese-American Congressman Mike Honda from California has been the most vocal critic of Japanese revisionist views. House Resolution 121, which he introduced and was passed in 2007, asks the Japanese government to apologize to the "comfort women" and include them in the curriculum of Japanese schools.

No one seems to be sure what Abe will say while addressing the US Congress or in his August speech. But his interview with The Washington Post's David Ignatius, published on March 26, has already stirred a controversy in China and the ROK, because he said the "comfort women" were "victimized by human trafficking" without mentioning the responsibility of the Japanese army. The interview was also devoid of any attempt by Abe to apologize to Chinese and Koreans for the atrocities committed by Japan before and during WWII.

Yet many Japanese believe Abe should apologize for Japan's war crimes. A survey by Japan's Kyodo news agency, released March 29, shows 54.6 percent of Japanese want Abe to use his August declaration to apologize for Japan's colonial rule and aggression. In contrast, only 30.5 percent said such sentiments should not be part of the statement.

In his address to the US Congress, Abe could try to please some Americans by talking about the US-Japan security alliance or trade cooperation, including the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership talks. But it seems he will not get a pass at least in China and the ROK if he does not take the opportunity to clarify his troubling views on history.

Some US politicians, eager to use Japan to advance the rebalance to Asia strategy, should not be blind to the confusion created by Abe over historical facts, for that would be a total betrayal to the memories of the millions of heroes who died fighting fascism during WWII.

The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA.

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