The newly-released position of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party for 2014 has reportedly removed the “pledge never to wage war again”, which is vastly different from their stand just a year ago. The updated draft of the party position was released on Wednesday and instead added a new phrase, “… bolster veneration (for the war dead).”
The original draft contained a statement saying, “… (the party is) determined to uphold a pledge never to wage war again and the principles of a peaceful country.” This was in reference to several officials’, including party head Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine honoring Japan’s war dead. Several members however stated their objection during the January 7 General Council meeting, saying that the Yasukuni visits and the pledge to never wage war again are two separate issues.
During a press conference upon release of the party’s position, the chairman of the LDP Party Organization and Campaign Headquarters, Wataru Takeshita, said that they included the no-war pledge in the preamble. It however says, “maintaining peace is the foundation of our country’s prosperity” instead of the previous, more non-ambiguous pledge to never wage war again. During the LDP convention on January 19, the party will formally adapt their 2014 position which now reads, “We take over the visits (to Yasukuni Shrine), bolster our veneration for and offer our gratitude to those who served as the cornerstone of the country, and renew our commitment to lasting peace.”
Abe’s visit to the shrine that also honors several Class A war criminals was of course met with staunch criticism by the international community, particularly the former colonies of Japan. He however stressed that his purpose was not to harken to the country’s militaristic past but rather to uphold the pledge to “build an age free from the suffering imposed by the devastation of war.”
[ via Mainichi ]