Breaking with the traditional speech of Japanese Prime Ministers during the remembrance of the 1945 World War II surrender, Shinzo Abe noticeably omitted mentioning remorse over the country’s past aggression against its Asian neighbours. Together with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, he attended a ceremony at the Budokan Hall where they honored the war dead against a backdrop of white and yellow chrysanthemums.
Past premiers have often used phrases like “profound remorse” and “sincere mourning” to atone for the militaristic actions of the Imperial Army during World War II. But this time Abe only mentioned the fact that they owe a lot to those who died in the war. “I will never forget the fact that the peace and prosperity we are enjoying now was built based on the sacrifice of your precious lives,” he said referring to the 2.5 million Japanese who died during that period. Observers also say it was very telling that Abe also did not mention the pledge usually given in the past to “uphold (Japan’s) pledge not to engage in war”. Instead, he said he will be praying for world peace and Japan’s “all-round development”.
This omission will once again anger countries like China and South Korea, who were the most hard hit by the Imperial Army’s quest for domination in the Asian region during the war. Today is already a very tense day in terms of diplomatic relations as 100 lawmakers, including two cabinet members, have already paid a visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which other countries consider a glorification of Japan’s brutal actions during the war.
[ via AFP ]