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Monday, 19 August 2013

Japan on the militaristic path again! Never forget August 15!

Plans are afoot to revise Japan’s postwar peace constitution to assert its right to declare war and rename the self-defence forces.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's helicopter destroyer DDH183 Izumo, the largest surface combatants of the Japanese navy, is seen during its launching ceremony in Yokohama, south of Tokyo August 6, 2013. The biggest warship since World War II, sparking grave concerns about the country's military buildup as observers said the vessel is actually an aircraft carrier

On Aug 6, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took part in a ceremony marking the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, an event which, combined with the following atomic bombing of Nagasaki, compelled Japan to surrender nine days later on Aug 15, ending the Second World War.

Also on the same day, Japan launched its largest warship since the war. The vessel was launched at Yokohama, where Commodore Mathew Perry came with his US Asiatic fleet in 1853 to open Japan to the West. The 250m-long Izumo looks like an aircraft carrier, though officially it is a destroyer.

Well, it’s a flat-top super-destroyer that carries 14 helicopters with a flight deck where combat aircraft that can vertically take off and land can be accommodated.  

The new vessel shares the same name as the famed Japanese cruiser which played a pivotal part in the Shanghai War of 1937, withstanding repeated Chinese attacks.

In May, Abe offended China and South Korea by tacitly denying Japan’s imperialist aggression toward its Asian neighbours. The Japanese leader stated that there is no established definition of invasion, either academically or internationally.

Around the same time, he posed for a photo in the cockpit of a military training jet fighter emblazoned with the number 731, the unit number of an infamous Imperial Army group that conducted lethal chemical and biological wartime experiments on Chinese civilians. Moreover, Abe has reportedly moved to permit the use of the rising sun banner, a symbol of horror to Asian victims of Japanese colonial aggression.

Plans are afoot to revise Japan’s postwar peace constitution to assert its right to declare war and rename the self-defence forces as the national “defence forces”, the dropping of “self-defence” implying the forces may be engaged in action other than genuine self-defence.

One consequence of these new developments is the serious concern China, South Korea and even the United States are showing for a possible return of militarism in an increasingly nationalistic Japan.

They fear that a militaristic Japan is likely to turn imperialistic and invade its Asian neighbours again.

But their fear is totally unnecessary. The Liberal Democrats may all become ultranationalists like Abe and his mentor, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, but that does not mean they will turn militaristic. Militarism isn’t imperialism.

Japan turned militaristic after the Taisho democracy because of the rise of ultranationalism, which held Western democracy as the source of all evils during the Great Depression. In this period the military was viewed as the only stabilising power.

The militarists became imperialists after they were convinced that the West was purposely choking Japan’s economic lebensraum in Asia.

Moreover, the Japanese militarists had an excellent role model in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

Times have changed. There isn’t another Great Depression that may trigger the turning of the Japanese toward ultranationalism, no matter how hard the Liberal Democratic Party and populistic Toru Hashimoto’s Japan Restoration Party may try.

The military isn’t the stabilising power anymore. People have been taught not to blindly obey the powers that be. Besides, what Abe and his Liberal Democrats want is what a “normal state” enjoys under its “non-peace constitution”.

All Abe and company are trying to achieve is to show that Japan is strong enough militarily to resist pressure, diplomatic or otherwise, from China and Uncle Sam in order to win more votes and continue ruling Japan.

Koizumi tried to do so, but failed before he had to step down as prime minister. There was a backlash. The Democratic Party of Japan saw its almost half-century rule of Japan end.

Abe defeated the Democrats last year. He is picking up where Koizumi left off. The Japanese leaders may be ultranationalists, but never will they turn militaristic and start the aggression of a renascent Japanese empire

Sources: Asia News Network - The China Post/The Star

Japanese Empire

Why we must never forget this day August 15, 1945

On August 15, 1945, Japan declared its unconditional surrender, bringing to an end its colonial wars of militarist aggression.

Germany shared Japan's guilt as the cause of World War II, and shared its status as a vanquished country. But after the war, Germany adopted a sincere, clear and thorough attitude to its historical responsibilities - during a visit to Poland former German chancellor Willy Brandt earned admiration from international public opinion when he went down on both knees before the memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto. In contrast, this August 15 large numbers of Japanese politicians went to worship at the Shrine to the worst of Japanese militarists and war criminals, people like Toujou Hideki.

The people of China treasure August 15 as a day of victory. This was the day when a nation that had lived under a century of enslavement to foreign powers finally rid itself of its oppressors. Since then, China has followed the path of unity, peace, and development. Especially since the launch of reform and opening up, national strength has been restored, shame has been put aside, and courage has returned. We must guard against any threat to domestic or regional security posed by the renaissance of Japan’s deviant right-wing extremists. We must have confidence in our moral strength to stand up to the challenges that such people pose, and the provocations they offer.

When we look back, it is for the purpose of better moving forward. China grows by remembering history; the world develops by remembering history. In contrast those Japanese politicians who cling to their country's historical errors will only prevent the Japanese from finding a path to a better future.

Edited and translated by Zhang Qian, People's Daily Online

Read the Chinese version:为什么这一天无法忘记;source: People's Daily Overseas Edition; author: Hua Yiwen

Related posts:
Abe no remorse over Japan's wartime aggression against Asian neighbours 
Japan worships notorious shrine generating tensions 68 years after end of World War II 

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