The key is to draw a demarcation line with militarism

Amidst the voice of opposition from neighboring Asian countries, the Japanese Ministry of Education went so far as to examine and approved the "new history textbook" that seriously distorts history.

That reminds people of the matter about Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and other senior Japanese government officials who have over the years insisted on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in which class-A war criminals are enshrined in disregard of the feelings of the people of victimized countries.

What is particularly noteworthy is that while Japan is recently intensifying US-Japan military alliance and expanding their joint strategic goals, it has also taken a host of rash actions in disputed water areas and islands that irritate its neighboring countries.

Japan's irresponsible actions mentioned above are portraying for itself an image as a "trouble-maker" in this region.

People cannot help asking: Why are Japan's Right-wing forces so impervious to reason and are so arrogant? Why do Japanese rulers ignore the surrounding public opinion and persist in its own way?

One reason is that it has the United States as the backing. Japan is aware of the psychology of the United States, which is on bad terms with its allies and is landed in isolation as a result of the war it launched in Iraq, and which is therefore in urgent need of Japan's helping hand to serve its own purposes.

On the other hand, after President George W. Bush took office, he also wanted to turn Japan into a piece of chess in his global strategy. Bush has clearly indicated that the United States supports Japan in its bid for becoming a permanent UN Security Council member and will help Japan become a world power. So Japan follows Bush's cue, wanting to become a world political and military power at one go by relying on the strength of American help and support.

At the same time, certain Japanese forces are also jealous of China's rapid development. So, it's only logical that Japan, which willingly serves Uncle Sam, takes advantage of US power to browbeat others.

The second reason is that Japan's "historical conception of imperial empire" and its "big-nation sense of superiority" have under the climate revived and made a comeback.

From this "new history textbook" people see that the legendary "epithet of Mikado" has become a "historical fact" for educating the younger generation, which preaches that Japan's "imperial household is the best gene in the world", and "all ages coming down in one lineage has become a reason accounting for Japan being the best in the world".

In the meantime, the "new history textbook" describes Japan's aggressions against various Asian countries and its colonial acts as "bringing benefits to Asia". The textbook writes: "For a long time, Japan had driven out the forces of West European countries that ruled various Asian countries as their colonies, thus bringing a startling shock and self-confidence to the downhearted Asian peoples who had always regarded the Whites as invincible", "Japan's entry into southern countries was originally intended for Japan's 'self-survival and self-defense', but it turned out that Japan had brought about such quick result as independence for various Asian countries".

In their writing, Japan formed of a "foresighted" excellent nation has become a "savior" and "great benefactor" of Asian nations, the independence of various Asian countries should be attributed completely to the "bestowal" of Daiwa nation.

It can be seen from the above-mentioned conception of national history that some Japanese Right-wing senior government officials and scholars are ideologically in the same origin with militarism, they have not at all broken with and are unwilling to make a clean break with militarism, still less want to negate those "ancestors who laid down their lives for the country". This is the third reason: Certain Japanese consider themselves to be the inheritors of militarism.

At the end of WWII, in their bid to check so-called communist expansion, the US occupation authorities did not make a thorough liquidation of Japan's militarist forces, with the result that their pernicious influence was left to future generations, which make trouble from time to time.

Various Asian countries have always sensibly separated the Japanese people from a tiny handful of militarists, but these Right-wing forces do not appreciate the kindness, they would rather feel proud of those war criminals sentenced to the gallows. This is the root cause explaining why they again and again visited the Yasukuni Shrine in disregard of protests from various countries, and tried hard to negate the legality of Tokyo judgment.

As a matter of fact, if Japan really wants to win the respect of various Asian countries and become a responsible normal country, it must be courageous to face up to and thoroughly liquidate that phase of inglorious militarist history, and sincerely apologize to the people of victimized countries.

On this major issue, it won't do to hum and haw, speaking evasively; still less will it do to brazenly tamper with history and whitewash aggression.

The textbook written in ink cannot obliterate the history written with blood. Continuing its wrong stand and practice can only end up with "the more one tries to hide, the more one is exposed", making Japan an international orphan repudiated by everybody.

By People's Daily Online

People's Daily Online ---