On the 68th anniversary of the end of WWII, a man in a Japanese

Imperial Navy uniform pays his respects to the nation's war dead,

at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.



Embarrassing Words of Japan's Leaders 'Ring Absurdly Hollow' (Ibaraki Shimbun, Japan)


"Entangled in pursuing constitutional reform, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso referred to the Nazi regime, suggesting 'we could learn from Nazi tactics.' This is absolutely egregious. ... If he had been a politician in any major Western nation, his career would likely have ended then and there. ... Wise political words are required from Japanese politicians, who are said to hail from a mature nation."




Translated By Violet Knight


August 20, 2013


Japan - Ibaraki Shimbun - Home Page (Japanese)

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: As friction with China and Korea grows, Abe, the most right-wing Japanese leader in years, wants to revise Japan's post-war constitution for the first time.

AUSTRALIA NEWS NETWORK, AUSTRALIA: Japan's neighbors fear nationalism of Abe Administration, Aug. 15, 00:07:20RealVideo

The anniversary of the end of World War II 68 years ago has again brought with it sweltering heat. Yet even now, this country has been unable to move past the post war period. Similar to last year, this summer's oppressive heat points to that inescapable conclusion.


A year ago, days before the August 15th anniversary, then-South Korea President Lee Myung-bak unexpectedly landed on the disputed Takeshima Islets [aka/Liancourt Rocks]. On the very day of the close of World War II, activists from Hong Kong landed on Uotsuri-shima to protest the proposed nationalization of the Senkaku Islands [aka/ Diaoyu Islands], leading to a flurry of arrests. Seemingly all at once last summer, our territorial issues with neighboring countries erupted. A year later, we still have yet to glimpse a path toward improved relations with China or South Korea. Both relationships have cooled to a point reckoned to be at rock bottom.


Public opinion polls in China and Japan reveal that over 90 percent of citizens in both countries have an “unfavorable” impression of the other. These are the worst results since surveys began in 2005. On top of that, more than 50 percent of Chinese respondents think a military confrontation with Japan is likely to occur.


In Japan, hate speech against Japanese citizens of Korean origin has become a significant social problem. For a year now, politics, diplomacy and society have been caught in a vicious cycle.


Irresponsible comments made by Japanese politicians, concerned primarily with interpretations of history, are one background cause. These days, one cannot help but notice how hollow and impoverished the language of our country’s politics is. And because we live in such times, the language of politics is crucial, as is a profound understanding of history. Politicians must wake up and pay proper attention.


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Entangled in pursuing constitutional reform, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso referred to the Nazi regime, suggesting “we could learn from Nazi tactics.” This is absolutely egregious. We might infer from the context that Mr. Aso was playing for a laugh. If he had been a politician in any major Western nation, his career would likely have ended then and there.


[Editor's Note: Minister Taro Aso's comment about "Nazi tactics" for altering Japan's constitution refer to the pacific constitution adopted during the American occupation, which forbids Japan from having a formal military, and which is exceedingly difficult to amend. His full remark was, "Germany's Weimar Constitution was changed into the Nazi Constitution before anyone knew ... It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don't we learn from that?"]


Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, co-chairman of the Japan Restoration Party, said that comfort women “were necessary.” He also went on to encourage the U.S. military to employ prostitutes. Again, these comments would be unacceptable in any sane country, however many caveats one might attach.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


[Editor's Note: Last may before nationwide elections, Osaka Mayer Hashimoto is reported to have said, "When soldiers are risking their lives by running through storms of bullets, and you want to give these emotionally charged soldiers a rest somewhere, it’s clear that you need a comfort women system. ... brothels were necessary at the time to maintain discipline in the army." He also went on to claim that there is no evidence that Japanese authorities forced women in surrounding nations into sexual servitude].


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe commented that the current cabinet “may not uphold” in its present form the Murayama Declaration - in which Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa apologized to Asian nations for Japanese aggression and colonial rule. He created unnecessary friction with neighboring countries by later rephrasing his comment to “uphold in principle,” adding that he would leave the definition of “aggression” to historians.


Politics and diplomacy are built on the cumulative basis of words uttered in the past. If prior statements and declarations can easily be taken back, politics will no longer hold up. A country in which statements are easily rescinded and the language of politics and diplomacy ring absurdly hollow is “abnormal.”



This year, the careless words of politicians have compounded the territorial disputes over Takeshima and the Senkaku Islands, turning them into great dilemmas of historical interpretation. Rather than improving, Japan’s relations with China and South Korea have continued to deteriorate. Of course, responsibility also lies with rising nationalism in China and South Korea, which is why it is more important than ever to avoid carelessly triggering nationalistic sentiment in those countries. Wise political words are required from Japanese politicians, who are said to hail from a mature nation.


Novelist Saiichi Maruya believes Japanese political discourse remains stunted because “it has no conversational partner … there is no intellectual exchange between audience and speaker … only an inferior exchange.”


The Japanese people may also want to take heed.


Mainichi Shimbun, Japan: Oliver Stone Tells Japan: 'Admit Wrongs; Stand Up to U.S.'
Asahi Shimbun, Japan: Oliver Stone Urges Young Japanese to Learn Their History
Global Times, China: China Must Warn the World of Japan's Growing 'Insanity'
The Hankyoreh, South Korean: On Korean Independence Day, Japan Must Admit to its Crimes
JoongAng Ilbo, South Korean: Like Germans and Nazis, Japanese Must Admit to Imperial Crimes
Nara Shimbun, Japan: Japanese Must Continue to Lead 'Battle' to Abolish War
JoongAng Ilbo, South Korea: U.S. Shielding of Emperor Hirohito Behind Japan's Denial of History
Rue 89, France: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a Threat to Democratic Japan
Japan Times, Japan: Osaka Mayor Refuses to Retract 'Comfort Women' Remarks
J-Cast, Japan: Why Further Humiliate 'Comfort Women' by Calling them 'Sex Slaves'?
Ryukyu Shimpo, Japan: Abe to Humiliate Okinawa with 'Restoration of Sovereignty Day'
J-Cast, Japan: Why Further Humiliate 'Comfort Women' by Calling them 'Sex Slaves'?
Hokkaido Shimbun, Japan: Shinzo Abe Must End Gamesmanship Over Post-War Constitution
Iwate Nippo, Japan: Imposed 66 Years Ago, Time Has Come to Revise 'Pacific Constitution'
Ryukyu Shimpo Shimbun, Japan: Okinawans Will Not be 'Pawned Away' to Curry U.S. Favor
Okinawa Times, Japan: Futenma Relocation Plan a 'Slap in the Face' to Okinawa People
Ryukyu Shimpo Shimbun, Japan: Battle of Okinawa Victims Deserve Better from Government
Okinawa Times, Japan: Okinawans will 'Spew Magma' Over Crimes of U.S. Forces
Global Times, China: Continued Dependence on America is Bad for Japan
Ibaraki Shimbun, Japan: After Osprey Deployment, Japan Government 'Cannot Be Trusted'
Chunichi Shimbun, Japan: On Okinawa Battle Anniversary, People Feel Abandoned
Ryukyu Shimpo, Japan: Okinawans ‘Unswervingly’ Against ‘Defective’ Osprey
Tokushima Shimbun, Japan: Okinawa Deserves Freedom from American Bases
Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan: Okinawa Governor 'Adament' About Osprey
Asahi Shimbun, Japan: Opposition to Osprey Deployment Grows
The Okinawa Times, Japan: It's Time to End Japan's 'Servitude to America'
Nishinippon Shimbun, Japan: It's Imperative for Japan to Look Outward Again
Nishinippon Shimbun, Japan: Revise ‘Inequitous’ U.S.-Japan Security Deal
Ryukyu Shimpo Shimbun, Japan: After Quake, Japan Can Ill Afford U.S. Base Repair
People's Daily, China: Australia Should Avoid Helping U.S. Hurt China's Interests
Australia: Aussie Coverage of Obama's Visit to Darwin; His Challenge to China
Isen Shimbun, Japan: Despite its Mistakes, Japan Needs U.S. More than Ever




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Posted By Worldmeets.US Aug. 20, 2013, 8:29pm