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China Voice: Stay alert to Japan's dangerous signals

The international community must keep vigilant as Japan's right-wing politicians have raised risks for the peaceful development of Asia.

On Tuesday, a Japanese cabinet minister and nearly 150 lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine, and Monday saw Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe make a ritual offering to the war-linked shrine, just before U.S President Barack Obama begins a three-day visit to Japan.

The Yasukuni Shrine has become a place for right-wing politicians to stage a farce.

Any visit by politicians to the shrine, which enshrines 2.5 million souls including those of 14 Class-A convicted war criminals in WWII, angers Japan's neighbors that suffered atrocities committed by imperial Japan.

Japan's other moves, including attempts to whitewash its wartime atrocities and change post-war international order, damage its reputation and hamper its prospects, as was pointed out in a commentary carried by Wednesday's People's Daily

Japan's right-wing forces are changing the future of the country. They are eager to lift the ban on exercising collective self-defense rights and are trying to sway pacifist values through visiting the shrine and distorting history in school texts.

Moreover, this so-called bid "to make a stronger Japan" in fact brings greater risk to the peaceful situation of Asian development.

In December, after Abe's shrine visit, Washington expressed "disappointment" and called on Tokyo to engage in constructive dialogue with its neighbors over history and territorial disputes.

Although having decided not to pay tribute to the shrine in person this time, Abe's Monday offering erroneously told the world that these moves are no big deal, not to mention that the Japanese government is not worried about drawing a harsh backlash from neighboring countries including China and the Republic of Korea.

Strong criticism has also been stirred in Japan.

An editorial carried by Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbuna said that the visits by government officials would certainly trigger doubts upon whether the government intends to deny the court verdict of the Far East International Military Tribune and whitewash Japan's wartime aggression.

As long as there is a possibility of Abe visiting the shrine again, it will be hard for Japan to regain trust from the international community on historical cognition.

It can be seen that conscientious voices exist in Japan, but it is a pity these voices have failed to prevent the farce.

Japanese right-wing politicians are still proceeding with nationalistic policies and destroying the bottom line of morality. Vigilance is needed from the international community to ensure Japan does not disturb regional stability.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 23Apr14]

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