Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Does he flirt with right-extremism because

it helps him politically, or is he in fact trying to revive imperial Japan?



Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a Threat to Democratic Japan (Rue 89, France)


"In 2013, nobody would imagine Germany electing a chancellor who supported an openly-revisionist scheme, and who regularly denied Nazi atrocities. ... In 2013, nobody would imagine the German people remaining silent if, once elected, this chancellor dared say that those deported during the war had gone to the [concentration] camps of their own free will. ... Yet this is what is happening in Japan - a country where the political system is completely dominated by families who played a central role in Imperial Japan."


By Stephane Mot*


Translated By Talei Lakeland


May 31, 2013


France - Rue 89 - Original Article (French)

Co-chair of the Japan Restoration Party, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto: Part of Japan's new right-wing leadership, Hashimoto recently lebeled sex slavery a 'necessity' for Japan's former Imperial Army.

BBC NEWS, U.K.: Victims of Unit 731, a special biologocal weapons division of the Japanese Army, want justice, Feb 11, 00:44:88RealVideo

I have complained here before about the apathy and inaction of the Japanese people in the face of their leaders' refusal to apologize to the surviving victims of sexual slavery at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII.


Since that time, Japan has changed its leaders, and they remain determined to take action. Unfortunately, such action will lead them even further into the realm of public ignominy.


In 2013, nobody would imagine Germany electing a chancellor who supported an openly-revisionist scheme, and who regularly denied Nazi atrocities.


In 2013, nobody would imagine the German people remaining silent if, once elected, this chancellor dared say that those deported during the war had gone to the [concentration] camps of their own free will, or that using the term "invasion" is the wrong way to qualify the aggression against Poland in 1939.


In 2013, no one would imagine such a chancellor parading around in the manner of Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz doctor nicknamed the "Angel of Death."


Shinzo Abe spells end of democratic Japan


Yet this is what is happening in Japan - a country where the political system is completely dominated by families who played a central role in the years of lead under Imperial Japan. [The French expression Années de plomb or "years of lead," is a Cold War term referring to a period of extremism.]


That is why no Japanese prime minister can obtain or retain power without pledges of proper conduct, by, for example, visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, where [war] criminals are commemorated amidst heroes.


The latest prime minister to author such appalling provocations is named Shinzo Abe, a fascist who dreams of destroying democracy and seeing a rebirth of imperialist Japan.


Abe succeeded Yoshihiko Noda, whose 481-day reign ended on December 26 - an honorable score in a country in which only two leaders since 1970, Yasuhiro Nakasone and Junichiro Koizumi, have passed the 1,000 day mark.


Shinzo Abe himself barely held on for a year in his last term (2006-2007), at which time he did the "best" he could in the furtherance of his grand plan, for example, by supporting the (ultranationalist) Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.


In France, such policies would be outlawed.


Let's remember that in France, negationist and revisionist activity like this would feel the full weight of justice. But in Japan, the corruption of the political class since the war has guaranteed that no similar legal framework has emerged.


Ibaraki Shimbun, Japan: Embarrassing Words of Japan's Leaders 'Ring Absurdly Hollow'
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'
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Global Times, China: Continued Dependence on America is Bad for Japan
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Just one prime minister, Tomiichi Murayama, has dared put forward the beginnings of an ersatz, semi-proto-excuse, for the atrocities committed by the Imperial regime during the Second World War. And even that was just a personal apology. It came in 1995, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of the conflict.


Could it be that Tomiichi Murayama - a socialist - considered the November elections already lost, after the criticism he received for the way he managed the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake? In the mean time, his declaration continues to irritate those with nostalgic thoughts of empire. For the 60th anniversary of the war in 2015, Shinzo Abe has expressed the clear wish to replace Murayama's declaration - we’ll come back to this.


Abe also wants to revise the Fundamental Law of Education, so that schools inculcate a "love for the country" in Japanese schoolchildren - in other words, he wants to promote nationalist indoctrination of the younger generations.


Shinzo Abe is also fighting to modify Article 9 of the Constitution - which clearly states that Japan is a pacific nation. Needless to say, the local neo-Nazi sympathizers abhor this constitutional safeguard - we’ll come back to this as well.


[Editor's Note: Article 9 says: (1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.]


Comfort women a 'necessary evil'


During his first passage leading the country, Shinzo Abe was unable to pursue his dreams, when he was torpedoed by scandals in his own government.


This time, in an increasingly stifling political atmosphere, he has returned to power at the fore of a strongly right-wing majority.


Noda, his predecessor, who was supposedly center-left (Democratic Party), played on nationalist sentiment all he could to remain in power, without hesitation risking war with China to guarantee his place at the top of the election list.


Of course, in doing so, he ventured into the territory of more extreme politicians, by whom he was then thrashed. Abe’s party may not on its own have an absolute majority, but with its extreme-right allies the Your Party and the Japan Restoration Party, it controls everything.


The leader of the latter grouping, the young mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, recently provoked a global outcry by saying that, all things considered, "comfort women," the victims of sex slavery organized by the Imperial army, had been "necessary."


This provocation was meant to reinforce control over his party, which was on the verge of imploding at the time. His co-chairman Shintaro Ishihara was once again threatening to go it alone. The former Tokyo governor has the requisite pedigree for going far in politics: he is racist and considers the Nanking Massacre a myth.


Nationalist provocations to retain power


Such provocations, which immediately trigger indignant reactions from countries victimized by the Imperial regime’s acts of violence - first and foremost Korea and China - have, unfortunately, become the only way to exist politically in Japan.


The day after Hashimoto's 15 minutes of fame, to remind everyone who’s boss, Shinzo Abe thought it would be a good idea to take things even further.


With a huge grin, he posed as a pilot in a jetfighter - and by choosing aircraft number 731, he was making an unequivocal reference to notorious Unit 731, in which Japan's version of Josef Mengele, Shiro Ishii, carried out his abominable experiments on human beings.

Provocation or strange coincidence?: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

poses in a fighter jet numbered 731 - the number of a secret unit -

Unit 731 - which conducted genocidal experiments on human

beings during World War II.


Just to make sure that the world didn’t think he chose the aircraft by chance, the prime minister, just above the number, added the words "Leader S. Abe" in English.


A proven war criminal, the leader of Unit 731 avoided trial by negotiating his release with the Americans in exchange for the results of his more minor experiments.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


Moral bartering like this continues to cost us dearly today. Not only does it represent one of the most shameful moments in the history of American democracy, but the absence of justice and condemnation for a large number of Japanese imperial war crimes has, from the beginning, made possible the corruption of Japanese democracy and the impunity of revisionists like Abe.


Shinzo Abe's "flight 731" succeeded so well that the international press brought the atrocities of Unit 731 back to the public eye, turning everyone's attention to the very events that he and his friends are seek to deny and erase from memory.


U.S., South Korea and China outraged


Japan's extreme right is never very subtle. Last year, pressure put on the United States to remove a memorial in Palisades Park to victims of sexual slavery, had already provoked a backlash.


Not only did New Jersey authorities obtain even stronger support from its citizens, but the international media again took up the affair, shedding light on a period of history little known of in the West.


In the same vein, the visit of [right-wing French politician] Jean-Marie Le Pen and his entourage to Yasukuni resulted in some pretty toxic fallout.


This time, the United States joined South Korea and China in voicing its indignation. The next day, Abe was forced to issue a small clarification, which was to say the least vague, but at least no a complete step backwards.


It concerned Murayama’s 1995 declaration. Abe said that in 2015, he would not take back what had been said after all. That is good, but quite frankly it comes as no surprise: even among the ranks of Abe’s party, some thought it risky to take on the issue before dealing with Article 96.


Article 96 sets out the conditions for any modification of the Constitution: a two-thirds majority in both chambers, the wording having to be ratified by popular referendum.

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This technical article is easier to do away with than Article 9, and would open the floodgates for more spectacular alterations.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


Concerning the definition of the word "invasion" to refer to Imperial aggression, Abe said that he "never said Japan hadn't invaded other countries." The thing is, neither did he say that he thought Japan had in fact invaded other countries ...


And on the subject of Hashimoto’s remarks on the Imperial Army’s sex slaves, Abe said that neither he nor anyone in his party shared Hashimoto’s views. But there again, Abe is not offering a full picture of his thoughts on the matter.


In reality, Abe has momentarily put things on hold, but he's not retreating. He has simply become aware of the red lines he shouldn't cross before he modifies the Constitution to give himself complete freedom.


He continues to make more and more provocations, and comes up against no noteworthy opposition in his country, and hasn't given in an inch to international pressure.


And Shinzo Abe isn’t leaving anything to chance. Losing his post due to a financial scandal or an economic crisis is out of the question.


On the contrary - the artificial propping up of the economy in the short term (yet another strain on the balance sheets) reinforces public support. While his predecessors had fallen between 20 and 40 points in the opinion polls after five months in office, Abe has managed to fiddle a few additional points, up to 72 percent.


Make no mistake about it: Shinzo Abe is democratic Japan's worst enemy.


*Stephanie Mot is an Author & 'Chief A to Z Officer'




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Posted By Worldmeets.US May 30, 2013, 12:59am