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No grey area in truth and justice

(China Daily)    09:01, May 02, 2015
Chinese soldiers. (Photo/Xinhua)

On this special occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Anti-Fascist War, Japan should not choose the wrong historical narrative, and all the countries, especially the influential powers, should contribute positive energy.

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a speech during a joint session of Congress in the US on April 29, it drew the attention of international community as the speech was on Japanese government's attitude towards the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Anti-Fascist War.

The international community has given a sharp response to Abe's speech. The West has been disappointed at his statements, not to mention the Asian countries whose people were ravaged by Japan's military aggression during the WWII. The report "Abe stops short of apology in speech to US Congress " in the UK's Financial Timesgoes right to the heart of the matter, pointing out that Abe's speech on Wednesday gave little sense that any part of Japan's wartime history required a special reckoning.

An Associated Press story also asked: "Why it is so hard for Japanese leader Abe to apologize for World War II."

An article in The Atlanticsaid that Abe didn't make a great effort to delve into Japan's role in starting the war, nor its conduct during the fighting. The article said Abe's strategy is betting on American's fading memories.

Abe had done homework before the speech. Not only did he tout the so-called common value between Japan and the US, but offered his "eternal condolences" to the souls of all American people who lost their lives during the World War II. But why didn't the media, not even in the US, buy his story? The answer is more than obvious. The international community wants Japan to take some basic measures that show its willingness to face up to its past. Therefore, Japan's efforts to whitewash its wartime history are not going to pass.

We should remember that the reason why Japan's former prime minister Tomiichi Murayama's declaration on the 50th anniversary of the war was positively accepted in Japan and beyond was that he expressed "deep remorse" and stated "heartfelt apology" for the country's "colonial rule and aggression". His clear apology showed accepting responsibility for Japan's dark history.

It is nearly 20 years after Murayama delivered the landmark declaration in 1995, and nearly 70 years after the World War II ended in 1945. However, the right-wing Japanese groups still shun historical facts and deal with them without any sincerity. This behavior not only prejudices its outlook on history, but also challenges international rules and justice.

This attitude also blackens Japan's image on the international stage, and blocks the country's integration with the whole world.

It should be noted that a commentary in Financial Timessaid that "any manifestation of 'Shinzo Abe's forgetting history issues' is a huge mistake". A commentary in The Christian Science Monitoralso raised worry that there may be some dark purpose behind Japanese government's "hope for the future" attitude.

In the speech, Abe talked more about Japan's contributions to the world, compared to the history issues, in an effort to avert the world's attention with the "active pacifism".

For a country like Japan that once launched aggressive wars on other countries and destroyed world's peace, it is more important for the nation to realize that its contributions to the world should be based on the country's true view on the historical issues.

For a country that cannot take a correct historical outlook while continuously challenge the international rules and justices, does it have the qualifications to talk about contributions to the world? And is there anybody who believes in the contributions Japan is always talking about?

Safeguarding the fruits of victory in World War II is the cornerstone of maintaining world peace and stability of the international order. The size of Japan's international role depends on whether Japan will adopt the correct view of history and reinforce this foundation with the international community or act opposite. Without a solid foundation, the whole earth will shake. If Japan evades responsibility and refuses to reflect on its aggression, how can it reassure the international community and what happens to its international image? US-Japan alliance - the old arrangement formed during the Cold War - should not become Japan's "last straw" to win international role. In the current era, anyone who wants to damage peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, will not be allowed by the people of Asia and even the world.

A few important events in the international arena this year could provide opportunity to Japan to show right attitude. Would it let go all of its wrong historic views with conscience and courage, or would it ridiculously hold on to Murayama's concern that "some may forget the hardship to gain peace"? It is not a difficult question. The world has seen that the current Japanese leaders have not yet given a positive answer. Instead, they have been continuously exerting uneasiness on its neighbors.

Black and white cannot be reversed, and there is no grey area when it comes to international justice. The way to open up peaceful development opportunities is to integrate the trend of peace, stability and development. Only by making the right choices in history can Japan have a bright future, and Asia and the world stability and order.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Anti-Fascist War. Japan should inject positive energy to the world, especially on certain influential powers, instead of following the wrong path of history.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Yao Xinyu,Bianji)

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