Challenge To Prime Minister Abe’s Militarism Makes Big News Outside U.S. Media

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Above Photo: In this Aug. 6, 1945 photo released by the U.S. Army, a mushroom cloud billows about one hour after a nuclear bomb was detonated above Hiroshima, Japan. A contentious debate over nuclear power in Japan is also bringing another question out of the shadows: Should Japan keep open the possibility of making nuclear weapons, even if only as an option?  It may seem surprising in the only country ever devastated by atomic bombs, particularly as it marks the 67th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 2012, and Nagasaki three days later. The Japanese government officially renounces nuclear weapons, and the vast majority of citizens oppose them. (AP Photo/U.S. Army via Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum)

An open letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from 53 scholars and activists on the occasion of his visit to Hawaii has received no notice in the U.S. media, but the following attention in Japan, China, and Korea:

Dear Mr. Abe,

You recently announced plans to visit Pearl Harbor in Hawai’i at the end of December 2016 to “mourn the victims” of the Japanese Navy’s attack on the U.S. naval base on December 8, 1941 (Tokyo Time).

In fact, Pearl Harbor was not the only place Japan attacked that day. The Japanese Army had attacked the northeastern shore of the Malay Peninsula one hour earlier and would go on to attack several other British and U.S. colonies and bases in the Asia-Pacific region later that day. Japan launched these attacks in order to secure the oil and other resources of Southeast Asia essential to extend its war of aggression against China.

Since this will be your first official visit to the place where Japan’s war against the United States began, we would like to raise the following questions concerning your previous statements about the war.

1) You were Deputy Executive Director of the “Diet Members’ League for the 50th Anniversary of the End of War,” which was established at the end of 1994 in order to counter parliamentary efforts to pass a resolution to critically reflect upon Japan’s aggressive war. Its Founding Statement asserts that Japan’s more than two million war- dead gave their lives for “Japan’s self-existence and self-defense, and peace of Asia.” The League’s Campaign Policy statement of April 13, 1995 rejected offering any apology or issuing the no-war pledge included in the parliamentary resolution to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of war. The League’s public statement of June 8, 1995 declared that the majority parties’ resolution draft was unacceptable because it admitted Japan’s “behaviors of aggression” and “colonial rule.” Mr. Abe, do you still hold such views about the war?

2)  In the Diet questioning period of April 23, 2013, you as Prime Minister stated that “the definition of what constitutes ‘aggression’ has yet to be established in academia or in the international community.” Does that mean that you do not recognize Japan’s war against the Allied and Asia-Pacific nations and the preceding war against China as wars of aggression?

3) You state that you are going to visit Pearl Harbor to “mourn” the 2,400 Americans who perished in the attack. If that is the case, will you also be visiting China, Korea, other Asia-Pacific nations, or the other Allied nations for the purpose of “mourning” war victims in those countries who number in the tens of millions?

As Prime Minister, you have pressed for Constitutional revision including reinterpretation and revision of Article 9 to allow Japanese Self-Defense Forces to fight anywhere in the world. We ask that you reflect on the signal this sends to nations that suffered at Japan’s hands in the Asia-Pacific War.

Tokyo Shimbun ran the full text in its December 28th edition (Page 2).  Also:

Asahi Shimbun

Asahi’s English version

Mainichi Shimbun

Sankei Shimbun

Huffington Post (Japanese version)

Nikkan Gendai

Shimbun Akahata

CCTV News (English)

People’s Daily Japanese version

People’s Daily Chinese: onetwothree.

Record China (Japanese)

China Daily (English)

China News (Chinese)

Hankyoreh (Korea) Japanese version

Isn’t this news that U.S. readers might want to hear about too?

U.S. readers never saw years of outrage and threats to Pearl Harbor in the Japanese media prior to December 7, 1941.

Perhaps being kept in the dark is a valued tradition?