Ichiro Ozawa, President
By Ichiro Ozawa, President
Government sources have said that Prime Minister Abe may not intend to seek Cabinet approval for his ‘Statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII’, due to be announced in August. By not seeking Cabinet approval, I suppose that he hopes to make the Statement a “personal” one. However, I really cannot understand his motivation in doing such a thing.
When the Prime Minister makes comments on matters of national politics and foreign affairs, there can be no distinction between his private and public personas. These are not matters upon which he can evade responsibility by saying that his remarks are of a personal nature. I wonder why, in spite of this fact, he has chosen such a cowardly and half-hearted approach. The Prime Minister is also attempting to hoodwink the Japanese people by his explanation of the proposed security-related legislation. For a statesman to exhibit such behaviour is truly reprehensible.
It is only natural that in the Statement Japan should take a calm look at the facts of our pre-war history, apologise where apologies are called for, and correct what needs to be corrected. Having done so, we should call for the nations of Asia to work together for the future of our region.
However, Prime Minister Abe is not especially critical about pre-war Japan. He rather seems to be of the opinion that “It was not only Japan’s fault that we plunged into war. The conditions for this were created by the Western powers.” I think this is why he feels a strong sense of resentment that it is only the Japanese people and the Japanese leadership who are blamed by the international community, and therefore cannot make an open-hearted apology.
However, setting aside the issue of whether it was appropriate to have dealt with the matter by issuing punishments via a military tribunal, there is no escaping the fact that Japan’s wartime leadership caused great suffering and damage to the peoples of neighbouring Asian countries, as well as causing many of their own fellow Japanese to lose their lives and a great quantity of assets.
It should have been a matter of course for the political and military leaders who had involved Japan in such a foolish conflict to take responsibility for it themselves, without needing to be punished by the Allies. However, I believe Prime Minister Abe does not want to acknowledge that those leaders bear such a responsibility. That is why he also displays a negative attitude towards the Potsdam Declaration, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, and the San Francisco Peace Treaty.
Since the ‘Statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII’ will be delivered by a Prime Minister possessing such sentiments as these, I fear that it is like to be a pointless exercise. It is truly unfortunate for both Japan and the Japanese people that our government is incapable of delivering its official viewpoint in this landmark post-war anniversary year. This is yet another reason why I feel we must acknowledge that Japan’s current Prime Minister leaves much to be desired.
Japan has continued to describe August 15 as the anniversary of the end of WWII, but in reality this day commemorates our defeat. Japan must fully recognize, understand, and accept our defeat of 70 years ago before embarking on a new post-war era, and going on to build a new nation. Until we do so we will only end up repeating our past mistakes.
Japan is often described as having become a democratic nation during the post-war era. However, I am sorry to say that true democracy has still not taken root in here. Indeed, Japan’s democracy is still in its infancy. That is why I would like us, on the 70th anniversary of WWII’s end, to ensure that true democracy takes root in Japan and that our nation serves as a model for other Asian nations.