Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Road to remilitarize Japan dangerous

By Zhang Jingwei (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-22 09:06

Road to remilitarize Japan dangerous

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) attends a memorial service ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two at Budokan Hall in Tokyo August 15, 2015. [Photo/Agencies] 

Japan sees China's military parade on Sept 3 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in the anti-fascist war as an irritation. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement on Aug 14 marking the end of World War II, which was devoid of any sincere remorse for Japan's war crimes, made the victimized people in Asian countries alert.

How can European countries objectively reflect on the tragedy that was WWII but Asian countries cannot even after 70 years?

Despite strong opposition from China and the Republic of Korea, Abe has not deviated from his plan to transform Japan into a "normal country". He railroaded two security bills through the lower house of parliament with the aim of turning Japan's Self-Defense Forces into an unfettered military. Japan's latest defense white paper continues to portray China as a threat and claim all the disputed islands in the East China Sea are Japanese territory. And Japanese enterprises, such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui, apologized only to the United States for forcing American prisoners of war to work as slave laborers during WWII while ignoring the Korean and Chinese slave laborers, who far outnumbered the American POWs. Later, under pressure, Mitsubishi said it would consider apologizing to Chinese and Korean forced laborers if the opportunity arose.

Abe's attitude toward WWII and rightist moves threaten to neutralize all the efforts his predecessors have made to restore permanent peace in the region.

What Abe refuses to accept is that, to become a "normal country", Japan has to first own up to his country's war crimes and see history through the lens of reality. But Japan cannot do so, because repenting on Japan's war crimes, as Germany has done, would mean shaking its political foundation as the then emperor has to also take the ultimate blame for starting WWII.

Abe has always been evasive on Japan's war past, which is not surprising given his family background and political leaning. And as long as the imperial system exists, the Japanese government cannot draw a distinct line between Japan's present and past.

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