Stay vigilant against Japan's "toxic textbook" on history

Chen Zhuo
2022-08-16 11:35:47

TOKYO, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Monday marked the 77th anniversary of Japan's unconditional surrender in World War II.

This year, some Japanese political leaders still brazenly visited the notorious Yasukuni Shrine, or sent offerings. Those moves have once again shown the Japanese side's erroneous attitude toward historical issues.

To be more specific, they have disregarded international norms and historical justice, challenged the outcomes of the World Anti-Fascist War and the post-war international order based on the UN Charter, and once again trampled the dignity and feelings of the people in Asian countries which suffered at the hands of Japanese invaders.

During WWII, the war of aggression launched by Japan had not only brought untold sufferings to many countries, but also dragged the Japanese people into the abyss.

Only by facing up to the history and reflecting on its war crimes can Japan avoid repeating them, and embrace a better future.

History should have been the best textbook for Japan to reflect on its aggression. However, Japan has been holding onto a "toxic textbook" regarding its history of militarist atrocities, trying to fool itself and the others.

Over the years, the right-wing conservative forces in Japan have racked their brains to manipulate history. As a result, the narrative of WWII history in the Japanese society has been increasingly deviating from the historical truth. Those right-wingers also seek to portray Japan as a "victim" while downplaying or even whitewashing the country's war crimes.

The Yasukuni Shrine, which honors World War II Class-A war criminals, is a part of the toxic "textbook." The shrine has already been viewed as an identity of a small group of Japanese politicians and right-wing forces who hold a wrong outlook on history.

The disputes arising around the Yasukuni Shrine are essentially a showdown between people with the correct understandings of history and those with an erroneous outlook and attempting to overturn international norms and justice.

The negative moves of Japanese politicians concerning the Yasukuni Shrine is an alarming sign. Japan should face up to the historical facts of its aggression, abandon the wrong outlook on history, respect and learn from history, and avoid the past tragedies from happening again.

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