Historical backpedaling will only lead to dead end

China Military Online
Li Jiayao
2022-08-15 18:10:57

By Zhong Sheng

The world claimed the final victory in the Anti-Fascist War on August 15, 1945, as Japan announced its unconditional surrender. The Japanese militarists’ unprintable atrocities have plunged the peoples of all Asian countries into an abyss of misery. They trampled roughshod upon life and human rights and posed a dire challenge to human civilization. Japan should have reflected deeply on its own history of aggression and tried to regain trust from its Asian neighbors and the international community with concrete actions. Yet, 77 years after its defeat and surrender, Japan is constantly back-pedaling on historical issues, ratcheting up efforts to break through the restrictions upon its military capacity, and trying hard to gang up with out-of-region countries to stir up confrontation in the Asia Pacific…Japan’s wrongdoings that go against historical trends and justice and undermine regional peace and stability have put regional countries and peaceful forces in the world on high alert.

Facing up to history and reflecting on its war crimes is the precondition if Japan wants to redeem itself and return to the international community after WWII. However, instead of doing that, Japanese right-wingers have kept challenging internationally accepted and just conclusions on historical issuesin the past 77 years, and the new changes in Japan’s domestic political atmosphere in recent years have further fueled its ambition to deny and whitewash its militarist history of aggression. Japanese politicians have visited the Yasukuni Shrine, where Class-A war criminals are enshrined, one after another, played down the Nanjing Massacre, denied their “comfort women” crime, publicly questioned and challenged the Cairo Declaration, Potsdam Proclamation, and Tokyo Trial, and constantly made trouble on the Diaoyu Islands and other issues, to name a few. Japan’s cover-up, denial and even varnishing of its aggressive history is a severe provocation to the hard-earned victory in the World Anti-Fascist War and the post-WWII international order.

Japanese right-wing forces are so eager to tamper with history because they want to shake off the fetters imposed upon Japan by the post-WWII international order and once again embark on the road of military expansion. Japan is hyping up the “threats” from neighboring countries and proactively colluding with out-of-region major countries in the endeavor to divide up Asia Pacific and stir up the confrontation. While maliciously exaggerating regional tension, it is also taking bigger steps to relax the security policy. Tokyo has sped up the process to revise the Peace Constitution, revised the three principles on weapon export, rammed through the new security bill, lifted the ban on collective self-defense, passed the new National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and Medium-Term Defense Program (MTDP), continuously increased the defense budget, and developed the so-called “counterattack capability”. The list goes on. As it is drifting ever farther away from the road of exclusive defense capacity, Japan is releasing the dangerous signal of denying the post-WWII road of peaceful development and has become a serious risk threatening peace and stability in the Asian Pacific region.

Japan’s high-profile stunt on the Taiwan question has further revealed its sinister intention. It illegally overran the Taiwan island and put it under colonial rule for half a century, during which Japanese soldiers killed more than 600,000 Taiwan compatriots, one more unspeakable crime to add to the pile of Japan’s ferocities. The Japanese side should have done some serious self-examination and soul-searching about its aggressive history, abided by the principles of the four China-Japan political documents and its own commitments, and carefully watched its words and deeds on the Taiwan question. On the contrary, it has taken a series of passive moves on this point. Some political forces in Japan even clamored “a Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency”. The white paper Defense of Japan 2022 recently issued by the Japanese government played up the “military threats” from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan island and claimed, “the situation in Taiwan is of great importance for Japan’s security and international stability”. Japan’s misconducts have seriously violated the basic norms governing international relations, breached its solemn commitments to China on the Taiwan question, and jeopardized the political foundation for bilateral relations. By pouring fuel on flames, Japan’s evil intention of wreaking havoc in the Taiwan Strait and Asia Pacific and then fishing in troubled waters is laid bare under broad daylight.

Those who back-pedal on history will only drive into a dead end. The only way for Japan to find its right place in regional development is to face up to its mistakes, own up to its past crimes, learn lessons from history, respect the security concerns of its Asian neighbors, and stick to the road of peaceful development. If it is bent on going against the trend of the times, Japan will eventually fret in its own grease.

Editor's note: This article is originally published on people.com.cn, and is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.

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