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Commentary: Japan's deliberate oblivion of history discordant with int'l Holocaust remembrance

English.news.cn   2014-01-28 15:08:52

by Zhu Dongyang

BEIJING, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- When other parts of the world were resonating on Monday with retrospection and remembrance of the Nazi Holocaust, Asia is still afflicted by the dissonant denial of Japan's wartime ferocity by some Japanese politicians.

From Europe to America, from Britain to Germany, government leaders, Holocaust survivors and veterans gather on Jan. 27, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, every year for solemn ceremonies, where they repeat stories of Nazi's genocide of 6 million Jews and countless others, and honor the wisdom, courage and sense of justice that people once extended to prevent that horror.

Ironically, such sound of historical reflection is too insignificant to hear in Japan, also a massacre perpetrator that killed countless innocent Asian civilians when Japan invaded other countries in 1930s and 1940s.

Sincere remorse of and apology for the country's war crimes have likely become a headache for Tokyo, which has long carried a grudge against its loss of glory in World War II, and submission to the post-war constraint on its military and political muscle that the international society imposed.

Further catering to the domestic rightist forces, political speculators of the island country have shown an intensifying trend to dismiss its war-time history forever, unwilling to let these atrocities disgrace Tokyo's self-portrayal as a peace-loving player on the world stage.

However, Japan failed to honor the words with actions, as its prime minister Shinzo Abe visited last month the Yasukumi Shrine that honors 14 class-A war criminals, knowing that will trigger strong protests from neighboring countries and incite regional instability.

Tokyo has further irritated its neighbors and even U.S. allies, by attempting to downplay its notorious Fascist history, revise a pacifist constitution that makes overseas deployment of soldiers possible, and amend textbooks in a bid to whitewash its wartime past.

More worrisome is that these dangerous provocations have gotten increasing support from the Japanese political and media circles, as shown by the recent remarks of Katsuto Momii, new head of Japanese international broadcaster NHK, who said that it is "strange" to mention Japan's wartime violence, as the country has "compensated" the victims with money in 1960s.

Some voice in and out of Japan said that let the bygones be bygones, and Asian countries like China and South Korea should blindly take Japan as a reliable partner. But, oblivion of history is intolerable to Holocaust survivors and victimized Asian countries, and Japan's apology for innumerable sufferings it inflicted should always be a prerequisite for normalizing relations with its neighboring countries.

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Asia to receive such an apologetic statement from the Japanese leadership.

Japan is expected to know that forgiveness is based on its repentance of war crimes. Any attempt of manipulation and oblivion of history is and will always be unacceptable for the Asian countries as well as the Japanese people.


Commentary: Japan's trick in history education risks generations of confrontation

TOKYO, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Local media reported Tuesday that the Japanese education ministry will revise its teaching manuals, in which the Diaoyu Islands -- an integral part of Chinese territories, will be described as "Japan's integral parts."

The fact-twisting manuals for junior and senior schools will confuse Japanese students about what the true history is, risking breeding generations of confrontation. Full story

Abe's speech at Davos draws criticism

BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhuanet) --Japanese Prime MinisterShinzo Abeis under fire again after comparing his country’s tense relations with China, with those ofGermanyand Britain before World War One. Abe’s historical reference has drawn criticism from both China andSouth Korea.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said China and Japan were in a "similar situation" to Britain and Germany before 1914, but conflict erupted between the two countries despite strong economic ties. He said both China and Japan should take lessons from that. Full story

Abe still self-contradictory 

BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- One moment, he sounded perfectly sane, alerting the world to the dangerous tensions that could potentially tear East Asia apart.

The next, he appeared the very opposite, convincing a global audience there is no way to undo the knot he has tied. Or at least he is not in the mood to undo it. Full story

China dismisses Abe's call for talks

BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday dismissed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's call for talks with Chinese leaders, arguing that it is insincere.

"We have repeatedly stated our position on this. The Japanese leader should not dream of having empty talks while refusing to acknowledge his mistakes and continuing to make negative remarks on China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing. Full story

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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