Vice Foreign Minister and younger brother to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Nobuo Kishi, vehemently said that nationalism is “absolutely not” resurging in Japan. Kishi stressed his belief that the nation is committed to maintaining and promoting peace almost 70 years after its defeat in the Second World War.
Abe garnered criticism from the international community, most especially neighbors China and South Korea, after visiting a controversial war shrine in December of last year, with known ally, the U.S., expressing disappointment at the move. Further comments by members of Abe’s administration shrugging off wartime atrocities by the Japanese Imperial army added fuel to the fire of a perceived turn to the right by many. “Such suggestions are absolutely not right,” countered Kishi. Speaking to reporters in the Foreign Ministry office, he said, “For 68 years since the war, our country has made contributions to international society as a nation that strives for peace.” Further adding that changes on the nation’s stance for peace will not change under the Abe administration.
Kishi maintained that Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni war shrine was meant to pray for continued peace, and not to assert a nationalistic stance. He also noted that issues pertaining to views on history have not affected the relationship between Japan and the U.S. “When talking about U.S. – Japan relations, you need to look at the whole picture. I think you can say strengthening the U.S. – Japan alliance is at the top of the list of the things the Abe administration has done.” On the issue of the Ukrainian crisis, Kishi said that Japan would continue cooperating with the G-7 on sanctions to Russia for annexation of Crimea. Regarding the possibility of Japan meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and U.S. President Barack Obama at the sidelines of the nuclear summit in the Netherlands, the vice foreign minister refused to comment.