In what could be another controversial move, the Japanese government is set to review statements made by previous administrations regarding the country’s wartime history, which necessarily includes a 1995 landmark apology by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. However, Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura immediately dispelled any notion that these statements will be rejected. However, according to him, there may be a need “to add forward-looking expressions.”
While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been known to have a conservative agenda, which sees his battle to remove the constrains of post-war Japanese adherence to pacifism and the recasting of Japan’s wartime history into less remorseful tones, he and his Cabinet are careful not to add more friction against China and South Korea. Of course, any move that would effectively revoke or deny the apology made by Murayama in 1995 would cause the ire of said countries. The same goes for majority voters who had placed Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party to power expecting to revive a long-stagnant economy.
In an effort to put this review into perspective, Shimomura brought to light the education crisis that the country is currently facing. While there may be a multitude of causes why students are said to have very low self-esteem, he believes having a post-war education system that seemed too “masochistic” in its description of the past is one of them. “I do not say that all of Japan’s past history was splendid and correct,” said Shimomura. “But I think it is also necessary to once again teach our children about the splendor of Japan’s proper traditions and culture.”