Abe should show more sincerity, play less tricks during visit to Pearl Harbor

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe starts a two-day visit to Pearl Harbor on Monday, where he is slated to attend a ceremony with U.S. President Barack Obama to remember the thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians killed during a surprise attack by Japan there on Dec. 7, 1941.

Abe expected that the trip will be a symbol of reconciliation, but his no-apology stance fully demonstrates that the visit is only a diplomatic show aiming to score political points and strengthen Japan’s alliance with the United States, while constituting no sincere reflection upon Japan’s wartime crimes.

Japan’s prime minister has emphasized that the nature of the visit was intended to “console victims” of the Japanese attack in 1941, the phrasing of which was typical of Abe, who has always avoided using more direct language that might constitute an apology.

Abe’s top spokesperson, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, has also made it clear that during Abe’s visit between Dec. 26 and Dec. 27, “no apology would be offered” for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Behind Abe’s latest no-apology gesture is a pragmatic and opportunistic logic which, while not wanting to truly reflect upon past crimes, is geared towards hoping the world let Japan off the hook regarding its past war debts, especially amid uncertainties surrounding the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

Japan has also wanted to assign more diplomatic significance to this visit than it deserves, mistakenly calling it the first visit by a sitting Japanese leader to Pearl Harbor, though local media reports uncovered later that at least three Japanese leaders, secretly to some extent, visited Pearl Harbor before Abe.

What Abe should note is that these tricks are not going to fool the world and anything other than a genuine apology and a true reflection on its wartime atrocities will not lead to reconciliation in any true sense.

Despite Abe and his rightist administration claiming that Japan is a trustworthy ally for the United States, its dodging of its war culpability and remorse and its consistent increases of military spending has given its neighbors and other countries sufficient reason to be vigilant about Japan’s moves and true intentions.

Meanwhile, people are calling on Japan to offer “condolences” and apologies not only to its close ally the United States, but more importantly, to its Asian neighbors, who suffered more at the hands of Japanese militarism before and during World War II.

A veteran of the famous Flying Tigers jet fighters squadron during World War II has recently sent an open letter to Abe, urging him to apologize to the Chinese people for the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army during the war.

Japan bears an inescapable responsibility to apologize for what it has done in the past, and only by acknowledging the true history, can it hope to face the future and have better relationships with its neighbors.

It is also the duty of Japan’s neighbors and other nations that fought together in WWII to make more efforts to insist on a sincere apology from Japan and to protect the post-war order. Enditem

Source: Yan Lei, Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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