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How Japan's Emperor (Subtly) Criticized Shinzo Abe

Emperor Akihito expressed "deep remorse" for the war at a memorial service and "a deep and renewed sense of sorrow," he did not openly attack the somewhat ambiguous August 14 (2015) statement of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe  on the same subject - the latter's remarks were filled with rhetorical twists and did not offer a new apology to Japan's wartime victims.

It was the first time that the emperor uttered the phrase "deep remorse" at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo during the annual so-called "National Memorial Service for the War Dead."

The subtle gesture of releasing the surrender speech of his father as well as pictures of the rundown bunker in which Hirohito finally admitted utter and complete military defeat can be seen as a clear indication of what Akihito thinks about Japan's devastating wartime experience, as well as Shinzo Abe's historical revisionism.

As my colleague Yuki Tatsumi already pointed out (See: "Why You Should Listen to What Japan's Emperor Says on August 15"),  the emperor has identified "four dates that should not be forgotten" by the Japanese people from the watershed year 1945: June 23 (the Battle of Okinawa), August 6 (the atomic bombing of Hiroshima), August 9 (the atomic bombing of Nagasaki), and August 15 (the end of the war).

"It is most important for us to take this opportunity to study and learn from the history of this war, starting with the Manchurian Incident of 1931, as we consider the future direction of our country," Emperor Akihito already said during his 2015 New Year's address. The Manchurian Incident was a pretext for the Japanese invasion of northeastern China in 1931.

In 1936, Nobusuke Kishi, Shinzo Abe's grandfather, was sent to Manchuria to push for the industrialization of Japan's de-facto colony with the help of Chinese forced labor. After the war he was arrested as an alleged Class-A war criminal and accused of playing an instrumental part in setting up Manchuria's (back then known as Manchuko) wartime economy which was "designed to enable Japan to carry on an aggressive war." Kishi, however, was never indicted and became Japan's head of government in the 1950s. During his premiership, Kishi pushed for constitutional revision and rearmament but failed. Shinzo Abe appears to have taken up the family's baton in both instances and it is his sense of family honor that perhaps has Emperor Akihito worried the most.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 11th, 2022 at 09:11:19 PM EST
Nobusuke Kishi [Abe's grandfather] did became PM in Japan around late 50s to 60s. Even though he's a outright war criminal, the NATO need a strong allies in East Asia, so Kishi a very anti communist politicians was put to power, he ratified the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan  with US, expanding Japan rights to defence itself and strengthen the JSDF. This again sparkled mass protest by the Japan leftist, communist and general public as they fear Japan may go to war again.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 11th, 2022 at 09:12:28 PM EST
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Conceptual Twist of Japanese Nuclear Policy: Its Ambivalence and Coherence Under the US Umbrella

From 1954 to 1972, when the US administration of Okinawa was returned to the Japanese authorities, US military forces installed 18 types of nuclear weapon systems in Okinawa, such as the 280 mm gun, the depth bomb, nuclear missiles like Mace and Falcon, and nuclear rockets like Honest John. The number of nuclear weapons totaled around 1300 at its peak in 1967. The US also introduced nuclear arsenals into South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Guam, in addition to Okinawa. The number of the US nuclear weapons deployed to the Asia Pacific region totaled more than 3200 at peak, which means Okinawa took the lion's share of the arsenals introduced (Norris, Arkin, and Burr, 2018).

Memorandum of a Conversation, Visit Japan PM Kishi Nobusuke to White House, Washington, June 19, 1957

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 11th, 2022 at 09:13:19 PM EST
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Japan: The Anti-Treaty Narrative and the Fall of Kishi Nobusuke

Japanese Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke became the primary target of the anti-treaty movement in 1960. Not one to take things lying down, the harder Nobusuke pushed, the worse his image and the political situation became. The more he ignored dissent, the more he further enhanced the opposition's argument that he was a man of Japan's ugly fascist past, and not a man of its democratic future.

The Kishi Effect: A Political Genealogy of Japan-ROK Relations

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 11th, 2022 at 09:14:09 PM EST
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Abe Visit to Controversial Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine Draws Rare U.S. Criticism | WSJ - Dec. 26, 2013 |

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's surprise visit to a shrine linked to Japan's militarist past threatens to damage ties with the U.S. and jeopardize a pillar of the White House's diplomatic and military pivot to Asia.

The outing to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine triggered strong criticism from Beijing and Seoul, but also a rare admonition from Washington, which has pushed the Asian neighbors to mend ties strained by territorial disputes and differences over wartime history.

"The United States is disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors," said the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on its website, in an unusual direct criticism of Japan's leader by its main ally.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jul 11th, 2022 at 09:15:04 PM EST
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