No reflection on past war, no reconciliation: Shii on Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor

December 29, 2016
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on December 27 local time visited Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, ostensibly to console the souls of the dead on which the former Japanese Army launched a surprise aerial attack in December 1941. Together with U.S. President Barack Obama, Abe offered flowers and observed a moment of silence at the USS Arizona Memorial.

Regarding this event, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on December 29 issued the following statement:

The question pertaining to Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor regards his perception of Japan’s past war, and what his take is on Japan’s history and war. However, he in his comment only said, “We must never repeat the horrors of war.” Not a single word was offered pertaining to his perception of the past war.

The attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago was literally part of the war of aggression as Imperial Japan expanded its fronts to the entire Asia-Pacific region in order to break the impasse in its battle against China. The Asia-Pacific War inflicted enormous damage not only on the U.S. but also on the peoples in Asia and Japan. During his visit, he as Prime Minister of Japan should have sincerely faced up to this fact and spoken of how he understands and reflects on that war.

Abe, at the time he paid a visit to Yasukuni Shrine in December 2013, met with severe criticism both at home and abroad. Since then, while concealing his true colors as a “historical revisionist” who beautifies the past war, he has been maneuvering to “put an end to ‘postwar’ affairs to be considered things of the past”. Following the statement he made in August 2015, the visit to Pearl Harbor this time was exactly such an effort.

He has never admitted that Japan’s past war was a “mistake” (in the party leader-to-leader Diet debate in May 2015). Diplomacy without reflecting on the past war will never be able to bring about a true reconciliation and friendship with the peoples of Asia and the rest of the world.

In his comment, Abe in particular praised the U.S. policy on Japan after the war and glorified the Japan-U.S. military alliance as an “alliance of hope”. He emphasized his faith in this alliance by saying, “We are allies that will tackle together, to an even greater degree than ever before, the many challenges covering the globe.”

Now that Japan’s Self-Defense Forces under the national security legislation (the so-called war laws) can join in U.S. invasions and hegemonic wars against nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq, the country could head along the road to “kill or be killed”. How could it be possible to find a “hope” here? The U.S. base issue in Okinawa epitomizes Japan’s unequal relationship as a sovereign nation vis-a-vis the United States. While maintaining such an extraordinarily subservient relationship, how can he possibly speak of “hope”?

Only by changing the current state of Japan-U.S. relations, which have been characterized by Japan’s abnormal submission to the U.S., and only by forming a truly equal and friendly relationship with the U.S. can both countries envision a future of a peaceful bilateral relationship in the 21st century.

The Japanese Communist Party is firmly determined to make every possible effort to turn Japan’s diplomacy into one earnestly facing up to past history and adhering to constitutional pacifism based on sovereign independence.

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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