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Abe's revisionist war statement strongly questioned by experts

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday issued a revisionist-laden statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, with domestic historians fiercely questioning Japan's historical perceptions.

In his statement, Abe, a well-known historical revisionist mentioned previous governments' apologies, but dodged offering his own apology in his statement.

"Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war," said the prime minister, adding "such a position articulated by the previous cabinets will remain unshakable into the future."

But the prime minister also said that Japan must not let its future generations "be predestined to apologize."

Abe said that incident, aggression and war should never be means to resolve international disputes and Japan will abandon colonial rule forever, but stopped short of referring to Japan's past aggression and colonial rule before and during WWII.

However, in the 1995 landmark Murayama Statement, then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama directly stated that "following a mistaken national policy," Japan, "through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations."

Takakage Fujita, director general of a group established to uphold and develop the globally-accepted Murayama Statement, told a press conference after Abe's statement that the prime minister deliberately blurred key issues and made ambiguities on the subjects and objects in his sentences.

"It is a despicable statement that hid Abe's real intentions," said Fujita.

Takehiko Someya, a professor of international politics and economy at the Nishogakusha University, said that Abe made no mention of admitting that the war Japan waged in the past was a war of aggression, adding he dodged all issues' essences through his tricky wording.

In the statement, Abe also failed to directly refer to the " comfort women," a Japanese euphemism for about 200,000 women who were forcibly recruited as sex slaves in Japanese military-run brothels.

"We will engrave in our hearts the past, when the dignity and honor of many women were severely injured during wars in the 20th century," said the prime minister.

On the reason why Japan launched the wars in the past, the prime minister exposed his revisionist ideology by blaming the Western countries' economic blocs that delivered a blow to Japan's economy, causing it to use force to "overcome its diplomatic and economic deadlock."

Abe also said that Japan's modernization came from a sense of crisis of Western powers' overwhelming supremacy in technology and waves of colonial rule toward Asia.

But, in his opinion, Ikuo Hoshino, vice representative of the Murayama Statement group, said that Abe tried to whitewash wars Japan launched after the Meiji Restoration, referring to Abe's words that the Japan-Russia War gave encouragement to many people under colonial rule from Asia to Africa.

He went on to say that Abe mentioned that future generations should not keep apologizing, for Abe himself belongs to the postwar generation and is unwilling to offer an apology for Japan' s wartime history, adding that the prime minister also avoided mentioning the issue of controversial visits to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine.

Meanwhile, Japanese opposition parties' leaders also criticized Abe's statement, with Katsuya Okada, head of the major opposition party of the Democratic Party of Japan, saying that "aggression" and "apology" were just quotations in Abe's statement and the prime minister failed to express his real purposes.

Shii Kazuo, chief of Japan's Communist Party, lambasted Abe for using the keywords of "aggression" and "apology" in a cunning way.

[Source: Xinhua, Tokyo, 14Aug15]

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