While Japan's ruling party is ratcheting up drive to revise the
pacifist Constitution on the 60th anniversary of its defeat, a
prominent political leader said in a recent interview that only by
treating history properly, can Japan join its Asian neighbors in
creating the future.
"Japan's aggressive war wreaked great havoc not only with the
Chinese people, but also with the Japanese people, notably the
atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Social Democratic
Party President Mizuho Fukushima.
"Over the past 60 years, the pacifist Constitution has
guaranteed the peace of Japan and the normal life of its people.
Being free from warfare is the greatest blessing Japan has enjoyed
during the period. Only by taking an appropriate attitude toward
history and conducting a soul-searching on the war, can Japan join
other Asian nations in creating the future."
The Second World War claimed tens of millions of lives across
the world, including more than 2 million Japanese. At that time,
the average life span for Japanese men was less than 24 years and a
lot of soldiers died from hunger in the battlefield, she said of
the gruesome war.
Thanks to the peaceful diplomatic policy by which Japan has been
abiding during the past 60 years, the country has achieved rapid
economic growth, and its people have enjoyed affluent life, she
On the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Japanese
government is supposed to reaffirm the roadmap for a peaceful
development. However, it fails to reflect on that aggression
profoundly and uproot pro-war forces, she said.
In 1995, then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama delivered a
speech that has been regarded as the most sincere and introspective
ever in regard of Japan's wartime wrongdoing.
Yet, the Japanese government is now under criticism for
backpedaling in dealing with the history issue. The lower house
adopted last week a 60th anniversary resolution, in which the words
like "colonial ruling" and "war of aggression" that appeared in the
pervious document in 1995 were removed.
Fukushima pointed out that the spirit of the Murayama speech
should be followed by Japanese politicians. However, some of the
politicians are attempting to reject the remarks, largely
encouraged by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's incessant
pilgrimages to the war criminal-related Yasukuni Shrine. The
resolution on the 60th anniversary is a reverse compared with the
one issued 10 years ago.
Koizumi's annual visit to the shrine, where 14 WWII Class-A war
criminals are worshiped, has severely deteriorated relations with
China and South Korea.
Fukushima said the visits are a political signal, revealing the
viewpoint of Japanese leaders on that war. She called on the
Japanese people to raise the outcry against the practice.
Fukushima said her party is deeply concerned about the emerging
drive in Japan of whitewashing aggression and revising the
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is aimed at bringing forward
a draft Constitution amendment by the year's end to boost the
status of the Self-Defense Forces.
She said if Japan really turns its self-defense-oriented troops
into an army and exerts the collective defense right, the wording
in the Constitution of renouncing war will become meaningless.
She also said the revision of the nuclear weapon-free principles
and restrictions on armament export will produce a legal system
that recognizes war.
The relations with Asian neighbors are critical for Japan,
therefore, it should abide by the pacifist Constitution that is a
promise of peace to those countries, she said.
(Xinhua News Agency August 11, 2005)