Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Tadae Takubo

【#321】Can China Read Abe Statement without Shame?

Tadae Takubo / 2015.08.19 (Wed)

August 17, 2015

     I have felt that Japan’s journalism has become too flimsy. Media organizations made too much fuss over whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement would include such key words as “aggression,” “colonial rule,” “remorse” and “apology” seen in then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama’s statement for the 50th anniversary of the end of the war in 1995 and then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’ s statement for the 60th anniversary in 2005. I wonder if they find that anyone can use these words in a different tone or style to make a difference to their meaning.

Abe statement gave general theory of aggression
     The most important point regarding the Abe statement is that he ignored the fundamentals of a report given by a panel of exports on August 6 after vowing to respect the report. Abe fell short of touching on a view that “after the Manchurian Incident, Japan expanded its aggression,” as seen in the report by the Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century and on Japan’s Role and the World Order in the 21st Century.
     How the Manchurian Incident was complicated has been indicated by the Lytton Report, which was quoted by Ichiro Kiyose, who led lawyers for defendants at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, as saying: “The issues involved in this conflict are not as simple as they are often represented to be. They are, on the contrary, exceedingly complicated. And only an intimate knowledge of all the facts, as well as their historical background, should entitle anyone to express a definite opinion upon them.”
     How did the advisory panel view the fact that the number of junior high school textbooks on history that use the word of “aggression” has decreased to three among the eight adopted textbooks over the past 20 years?
     The Abe statement presented only a general theory on aggression, saying, “Incident, aggression, war -- we shall never again resort to any form of the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.” The statement only discussed the respect for basic principles of international order as written in the League of Nations Covenant, the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument to National Policy, the United Nations Charter and Article 9-1 of the Japanese Constitution. It cannot be interpreted as being in line with the historical view of aggression given by the advisory panel.

Abe statement put an end to “apology”
     Focusing on whether the Abe statement would include “remorse” and “apology” were Japanese newspapers and television stations rather than China or South Korea. The statement said, “Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war.” The sentence represents the present perfect form instead of the present perfect progressive form, suggesting that the Abe administration made a difference to approaches of past Japanese administrations and enters a new era. Prime Minister Abe cited Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and China as countries that have had the histories of suffering of the people in Asia. I highly rate Prime Minister Abe for describing Taiwan as a country in an official document without hesitancy to China.
     The core message of the Abe statement to Japanese and foreign peoples may be that “we must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize.” The message declares an end to apology.
     I would like to make the following questions to those who criticize actions Japan took 70 or more years ago. What is a country that now takes advantage of military power to continue virtual aggression? What is a country that has colonized Tibet and Uighur in a predatory manner instead of expressing the feeling of deep remorse over doing so? People of sound judgment may be laughing at critics of Japan.

Tadae Takubo is Vice President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.