Shinzo Abe was officially sworn in as Japan’s new Prime Minister and has named his cabinet line-up which includes ultra-conservative right-wing politicians. Observers are worried that this will lead to a tougher stance in current territorial disputes with China and South Korea.
Aside from taking a hard-line stance with Seoul and Beijing, most of the cabinet members are also of the thinking that Japan’s so-called war atrocities did not happen, which has been a source of animosity between Japan and its former Asian colonies. What’s more worrisome is that according to Kim Soung-chul, senior fellow at the Sejong Institute, if Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party wins the upper house election in July, this might pave the way for a rewriting of the current Pacifist constitution and lead to Japan’s rearmament.
Among the new cabinet members is Taro Aso, the deputy prime minister and financial services minister, who Koreans do not like because he insists that during the war, Koreans changed their names to Japanese because they wanted to. Also unpopular with the Koreans are Yoshikita Shindo, now the internal affairs and communications minister, and Tomomi Inada, minister for administrative and public servant system reforms. They were denied entry to Korea in August 2011 because their aim was to assert Japan’s sovereignty over the contested Takeshima/Dokdo Islands.[ via AsiaOne ]