In your paper of January 14, the article entitled “The 21st century tinderbox for war” talked about how the tensions rising in East Asia were hatching dangers of warfare and that the relations between Tokyo and Beijing had all but broken down as the right-wing Japanese leadership, encouraged by Washington, had turned towards remilitarisation.
It was insightful of the author to have noted this situation, but more importantly, I believe that more readers should become fully aware of the rising threat posed by the right-wing Japanese government which leads to regional tension and understand why Japan’s neighbouring countries, including China, are so indignant.
In recent days, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe blatantly paid homage to the Yasukuni Shrine, hurting the feelings of the people in China as well as many other Asian countries, enabling the world to see through the current Japanese administration and the gang of Japanese politicians.
To pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine is a shameful act of denying and justifying the history of invasion. As is known to all, the Japanese militarists committed the Nanjing Massacre and many other heinous atrocities during the war of aggression against China. As a result, China suffered as many as 35 million casualties and US$600 billion in direct and indirect losses.
The Chinese people have always maintained a sensible and objective view of this phase in history and held the belief that the responsibilities of the war shall be borne by the small number of militarists and that the Japanese people are also victims of the war.
Taking this into consideration, when China and Japan normalised their diplomatic ties in 1972, the Chinese leadership made the important decision not to seek war reparations from Japan.
However, the current Japanese leadership have not only no remorse over the history of invasion or gratitude for the tolerance and generosity of the Chinese side, but have paid homage to the Yasukuni Shrine that honours 14 Class-A war criminals of World War II, in disregard of the strong opposition and condemnation from China and other Asian neighbors, only to invite despise from the international community.
After taking office, Abe blatantly went onboard the “731” (designation of the Japanese unit involved in germ warfare during the war of aggression) aircraft, claiming that there is no evidence of “comfort women” being forced to do so.
Now his brazen homage to the “shrine” that advocates the militarist conception of history and “the justification of invasion” is in fact calling back the spirit of the war criminals whose hands are soaked with the blood of the people of those victim countries.
I am fully aware that the Zimbabwean people, just as us Chinese, have once deeply suffered from colonialism and foreign invasions.
According to rough statistics, during the seven years before independence, over 20 000 Zimbabweans lost their lives.
Similar historical experiences enable us to feel for each other’s pain and misery.
“Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future.” We shall not forget the bitter history, nor allow the invaders to mask their crimes and to turn back the wheel of history.
Constitutional amendment and military expansion is an ignorant act to challenge the post-war international order.
The Japanese leaders keep on claiming that they are to be “active pacifists”. However, during the past year since Abe took office, he has trumpeted constitutional amendment and military expansion, hoping that the so-called “Self-Defence Forces” will be transformed into a regular armed force that can be dispatched abroad.
He also stirred up the absurd theory that “invasion is pending”, questioning the fairness of the Tokyo Trial, saying that “the view of the great war was not formed by the Japanese themselves, but rather by the victorious Allies, and it is by their judgment only that (Japanese) were condemned”.
His actions that go against the historical trend invite the vigilance and worries of the international community.
In fact, the core of this issue is substantially about whether Japan will abide by the purposes and principles of the UN and follow the path of peace. It is an issue about aggression versus anti aggression, justice versus evil, and brightness versus darkness.
The neighbouring countries that suffered from Japanese invasion, many other countries including the United States and Germany, and even people of vision in Japan have expressed their frustration and disappointment over the dangerous act of the Abe government.
To conclude, it is the right-wing Japanese government of Shinzo Abe and their brazen challenge of the outcome of the WWII and post-war order that are causing the tensions in the region.
The ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius once said that “a sense of shame is the beginning of righteousness, and a sense of right and wrong is the beginning of wisdom”, which means that only when a person is able to feel shame can he or she have virtues, and that only when a person is able to tell right from wrong can he or she have wisdom.
If I were to offer advice to the Japanese leadership, I would say, unwise and unjust actions shall not be taken, and the irresistible trend of peace and development cannot be reversed.
Now it’s not too late to give up evil and return to good.
His Excellency Mr Lin Lin is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Zimbabwe