by Yang Qingchuan
BEIJING, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to end the "twisted Diet" in Sunday's upper house election, as a win for his ruling bloc is widely expected.
However, in the eyes of many living in the region, the prime minister also needs to rectify a twisted view toward the territorial disputes with Japan's neighbors and on the country's wartime atrocities.
It is understandable that after decades of economic stagnation and frequent change-of-guard, Abe and other Japanese political elites yearn for a stable government so the country could pursue bold socioeconomic reforms.
However, to get the votes to consolidate power, the prime minister and other Japanese politicians wrongfully chose to indulge a rightist tilt and constantly provoke Japan's neighbors on sensitive territorial and historical issues.
During a trip to two islets on Wednesday, Abe repeated his false claim that the Diaoyu Islands, over which China possesses undisputable sovereign rights, are "an inherent part of Japan's territory." He also said Japan "will not recede" on the issue.
In a television show earlier this month, the prime minister once again provoked Japan's neighbors by trying to glorify the country's militarist past.
With such sheer offensive remarks and moves in the run-up to the election, the future direction of Japan raises concerns and doubts among many regional observers.
If policymakers in Tokyo believe a potential election win could serve as a warrant for further rash behaviors to strain the ties with Japan's neighbors, challenge the post-WWII world order, or abandon its pacifist commitment, they risk steering the country further down a wrong path.
There is nothing wrong for Japan to try to solve all its political, economic and social woes, but counting on rightist swagger will not help Tokyo to achieve that end and could come to exactly the opposite.
It hard to imagine how Japan could reap economic gains by alienating neighbors and main trading partners such as China and South Korea, and without solid economic revival it is difficult for the country to achieve long-term political stability.
Video: Foreign countries worry about " divided diet"
Japan's upper house election kicks off
TOKYO, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Voting for election of Japan's House of Councillors, or the upper house, kicked off at 7 a.m. local time on Sunday as the country's ruling bloc would set a victory in the polling, putting an end to the "divided Diet."
The voting started across the country at about 48,000 polling stations, which will close at 8 p.m. local time the day and media exit poll will immediately forecast the outcome, while the formal result would come out early Monday. Full story
Backgrounder: Japan's upper house election
BEIJING, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Japanese voters on Sunday started to cast their ballots in the country's upper house election.
More than 400 candidates run for 121 seats, half of the total 242 seats in Japan's Upper House of Parliament, known as the House of Councilors. Full story