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Historical revisionism keeps Japan from being a "normal country"

On Aug. 15, 1945, Japan announced its unconditional surrender in World War II, bringing down the curtain on the World anti-Fascist war, the deadliest conflict in human history.

During the past 70 years, people around the world have not stopped reflecting on the war, which involved the vast majority of the world's nations.

However, Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration has never faced up squarely to its wartime history, as most recently demonstrated by the revisionist prime minister's statement marking the war anniversary, among his other defying words and deeds.

In the statement, Abe shied away from assuming responsibility for launching a war of aggression upon other countries, saying Japan tried to "overcome its diplomatic and economic deadlock through the use of force."

Moreover, rather than offering his own sincere apology, Abe attempted to distract attention from his own attitude towards Japan's wartime past by saying that previous governments have expressed remorse and apologized.

Yet against this backdrop, the world-famous Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami said that Japan should directly apologize to China, South Korea and the other countries it invaded in the 20th century until the former victims had completely forgiven Japan.

Instead of teaching the younger Japanese generations to draw lessons from the country's war past, Abe said in his statement that it was unnecessary for them to keep apologizing in the future, which fully exposes his reluctance to face up to history and delivers a dangerous message to Japan's young people.

What's more frustrating is that on Saturday, the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, the nationalist premier sent a ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 Class-A convicted criminals of WWII. Meanwhile, two of his cabinet members and around 100 conservative lawmakers visited the notorious shrine.

Besides these defiant words and deeds in the past two days, the nationalist leader has long been prepared to make Japan a "normal country" by pushing ahead a controversial security bill and revising the country's pacifist Constitution to allow its Self-Defense Forces to exercise constitution-banned rights for collective self-defense.

However, the fact is that if Japan continues to act arbitrarily without paying even a little consideration to its Asian neighbors who have suffered immeasurable pains inflicted by Japan's militarism, it will stand even less of a chance of being the "normal country" that Abe has been envisioning since his first term as prime minister in 2006.

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during her visit to Japan in March, Germany was able to regain its respect in the international community because of its efforts to squarely face up to its WWII atrocities.

The world is still watching and waiting for Japan to follow suit.

[Source: By Xinhua writer Zhu Junqing, Xinhua, Beijing, 15Aug15]

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