Emulating Nazis, returning to militarism

By Zhao Jinglun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 5, 2013
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It is nothing short of astounding that Taro Aso, Japan's deputy prime minister and minister of finance, should have stooped so low as to openly talk about emulating Nazi Germany. In a prepared speech delivered in Tokyo on July 29, he said: "The German Weimar Constitution was changed without notice; why can't we learn [from the Nazis] and do the same?"

Rocking the boat [By Jiao Haiyang/China.org.cn]

Aso's utterance caused such uproar that he had to retract his comments, but he refused to apologize or step down and the damage has been done. Aso's words were no accident. He is a former prime minister, a notorious ultra right wing politician and he is now Abe's right-hand man. His off-color words actually reflect the essence of the Abe government rather accurately.

Unlike the Germans, who have sincerely repented and atoned for the war crimes of the Nazis, Abe and the Japanese right have denied Japan's war crimes. Instead, they have glorified those crimes by demonstratively visiting the Yasukuni Shrine whose book of souls includes 14 Class A war criminals.

Germany has made Nazi worship a crime, whereas Japan allows rightists to freely parade holding high flags of the Rising Sun, the symbol of Japanese militarism.

All this shows where the Abe government is headed. The Japanese right has gone to such lengths to affront the victims of Japanese aggression partly because they are intoxicated by their landslide victory in the parliamentary elections, which gave Abe a new three-year term in contrast to the short-lived tenures and ineffective governance of his predecessors. Despite this, the low turnout indicated that, in fact, Abe might not have much of a mandate.

The LDP's electoral win was partly due to the apparent initial success of what is known as "Abenomics." It also reflects the psyche of the Japanese electorate who are unhappy about Japan's two-decade long economic stagnation and particularly its eclipse by China.

Abe and the Japanese right are dead set on revising Japan's pacific constitution, even though polls show that the majority of Japanese oppose revision. As Taro Aso indicated, it will be done surreptitiously. In fact, the right wing forces represented by Shinzo Abe have been encroaching on the constitution for years and are now increasing military spending for the first time in a decade.

Even though the constitution specifically prohibits the production of attack aircraft carriers, Japan has just launched its second 10,000-ton class so-called "escort ship", which in fact is a helicopter carrier which can hold more than 10 combat helicopters. Its predecessor, the "Hyuga," took part in the joint exercise with the United States in California codenamed "Dawn Blize," during which a U.S. Osprey landed on a Japanese ship, the "Hyuga," for the first time ever. A third, even larger ship with a displacement of more than 20,000 tons is scheduled to be launched on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Japan is also buying the fifth generation U.S. F-35 stealth fighter and will start joint production of that aircraft with America. The naval version of the F-35 could land vertically on Japan's pseudo-carriers and Japan is also considering buying the U.S. Global Hawk remotely piloted (drone) aircraft. As I mentioned earlier, it is to acquire two more Aegis destroyers from the U.S. which will add up to a total of 8 such war ships in its fleet.

Japan also violated the Three Principles of Arms Export by signing an agreement for joint arms development with Britain last April.

It is also close to signing an agreement to sell the amphibious US-2 plane to India. That would be the first selling of finished product made by Japan's home-grown defense industry since rules were imposed restricting the export of weapons systems and other equipment. And Japan is to provide the Philippines with ten patrol boats.

On top of this, Japan's new defense plan is designed to counter China.

Abe said in the United States: "Japan is back." Back to what? None other than militarism!

The author is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.


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