BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tried again to manipulate world opinion on his attitudes towards historical issues, this time at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday.
In an effort to justify his war shrine visit, Abe told the forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos that his "praying for the souls of the departed" should be regarded as "something quite natural for a leader of any country in the world."
What he failed to mention was that the Yasukuni shrine also honors 14 Class-A convicted war criminals, who masterminded the Japanese invasion of many Asian countries and were held accountable for the massacres and atrocities committed in the region during World War II.
Yasukuni shrine is not like Arlington, the major cemetery for the United States' war dead. Some of the "souls" in the shrine were warmongers and coldblooded killers that represent the "glorious past" of Japan and its militaristic tradition.
The world will not accept a German leader worshipping Hitler's tombstone, nor an Italian leader praying to Mussolini for peace.
However, the Japanese wartime leaders that allied with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy are still honored in the Yasukuni shrine and paid tribute to by the Japanese prime minister.
Abe can never find an acceptable excuse for visiting the war shrine, because the sole purpose of his visit was to gain political capital.
In order to strengthen his ruling base, Abe has been pandering to right-wing forces in Japan and fanning nationalism by whitewashing and glorifying Japan's militaristic past.
The shrine visit was a calculated move to build his image as the great leader for Japan's militaristic revival.
Singing to international audience about "peace and stability" in Asia and Japan's willingness to improve relations with China and South Korea, Abe was playing a double-dealer game.
He insisted on visiting the Yasukuni shrine despite previous protests from neighboring countries against such moves by Japanese leaders. If there was any sincerity in Abe's rhetoric about improving ties with Japan's neighbors, he should not have visited the shrine in the first place.
Instead of honestly reflecting on history and making real efforts to reduce tension in the region, Abe went on the stage of the WEF and advocated the idea of China being a threat in Asia-Pacific.
Abe's attempt to instigate a united stand against China will be in vain as he stands on the wrong side of history. Japan, kidnapped by its right wing, needs to come to its senses and stop moving further away from healthy partnership with its neighboring countries.
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