On the 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II
--Prime Minister Statement and JCP Stance
Chair, Executive Committee, Japanese Communist Party
Japanese Communist Party Chair Kazuo Shii held a news conference on August 14 at the JCP head office in Tokyo, releasing a statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. In the statement, he criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement issued on the same day as deceitful. The full text of Mr. Shii’s statement is as follows:
On the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Japanese Communist Party offers its deepest condolences to all victims of the war of aggression and colonial rule by Japan’s militarism.
Now Japan is standing at a historical crossroads between war and peace. The JCP sincerely calls for all peace-loving people beyond differences in thought, beliefs, and political stances to unite in order to defend Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, a hard-earned honorable treasure of the Japanese people gained through reflection over the ravages of war, and create a peaceful Japan to truly live up to the article.
Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement released today contains some key words such as “aggression”, “colonial rule”, “remorse”, and “apology”, it is full of deceit by lack of sharing the historical recognition of the 1995 Murayama Statement which clearly stated that Japan followed “a mistaken national policy” and committed “ colonial rule and aggression”, and by evasion of using the words “remorse” and “apology” as his own , merely citing the fact that the successive governments’ statements used the words.
It is the gross distortion of history that the prime minister’s statement claims that the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) in which Japan forced the colonization of the Korean Peninsula with violence and coercion gave “encouragement to many people under colonial rule from Asia to Africa”. The Abe Statement at large is tantamount to practical dismissal of the Murayama Statement and it is inevitable that the statement will spark severe criticism from inside and outside the country.
At the root of issuing such a harmful statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II lies the problem that the Abe administration is composed of and supported by extreme rightists who are trying to falsify history and to justify and glorify Japan’s aggressive war.
It should be clearly pointed out that the post-war international order has been built on the common understanding that the war launched by Japan, Germany, and Italy was a war of aggression and that any person denying this fundamental recognition is unqualified to engage in world politics.
The JCP fervently hopes that this year, the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, will be a milestone towards bringing about “reconciliation and friendship” between Japan and other Asian countries. In order to achieve this, the JCP calls for the following five basic policies that the government of Japan should adopt:
Firstly, it should fully endorse the core parts of both the “Murayama Statement” and the “Kono Statement”. It should take action living up to the spirit of these statements and decisively refute any claims that try to deny them.
Secondly, the government of Japan should take steps forward to settle the issue regarding the wartime Japanese military “comfort women” system including by offering an apology and compensation to victims so that they can regain their human dignity.
Thirdly, an official rule requiring at least the prime minister and all the cabinet members to refrain from visiting the Yasukuni Shrine should be established since visits of national policymakers to the shrine signify that they are expressing their will to justify Japan’s past war.
Fourthly, in order to eradicate hate speech campaigns provoking ethnic discrimination, the government of Japan should take a firm stance, including with legislative measures against such actions.
Fifthly, the government of Japan should work to reflect in school textbooks sincerely and seriously the deep remorse over Japan’s past mistakes expressed in the “Murayama Statement” and the “Kono Statement.”
Mutual trust will be a foundation for building peace and stability in Northeast Asia. We strongly believe that in order to win trust from neighboring countries, Japan needs to face its historical facts squarely, to admit sincerely and earnestly to its mistakes, and learn from the past for the better future. As the only Japanese political party that opposed Japan’s war of aggression and colonial rule at the risk of the lives of party members, the JCP will make its utmost effort to eliminate any regressive move which tries to distort history, and to bring about “reconciliation and friendship” between Japan and other Asian countries.
For the past 70 years since the end of WWII, Japan has never directly engaged in war with other nations. The Japan Self-Defense Forces have never killed any single person of any country and no SDF members have been killed in war for more than half a century.
It is the existence of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and the strong voices and tenacious efforts of Japanese people aspiring to peace that have helped the nation undertaking its post-war journey for peace. It is this power that has bound successive cabinets to give official constitutional interpretations which refuse to regard the SDF as military forces and which exclude use of force abroad and exercise of the right to collective self-defense.
Now, the Abe administration is attempting to break off Japan’s 70 year long post-war journey for peace, completely overturn successive governments’ interpretation of the Constitution, railroad the war bills through the Diet, and transform Japan into a nation waging wars abroad together with the U.S. However, in protest against this outrageous move to destroy the Constitution, more and more people are raising their voices and standing up at an unprecedented scale. The power of the ongoing public movement is unparalleled in its extent and depth. This shows how enormous actually is the Japanese people’s energy aspiring to peace and democracy mustered over the 70 years of post-war history.
Let’s not turn back the clock to an aggressive Japan whose people “kill other people or are ready to be killed abroad”.
The JCP will do its utmost to further expand the joint struggle inside and outside the Diet on the single task to “oppose the war bills” and encircle the Abe government with overwhelming public opposition in order to ensure that the bills finally be scrapped.
The JCP has proposed “the initiative for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia” with the aim of establishing peace and stability in the region. The party has continuously held dialogues with relevant nations to achieve this goal. The JCP believes that this initiative is truly the peaceful alternative which counters the Abe government’s war bills. We, the Japanese Communist Party, continue to make a determined effort with all our minds and energy toward realizing this plan.