Asian editorial excerpts.
Selected editorial excerpts from the Asia-Pacific press:
POLITICS OF YASUKUNI (The Korea Times, Seoul)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stayed away from Yasukuni Shrine during its fall festival last week, breaking his promise with supporters. Instead, no fewer than 157 lawmakers, including a Cabinet secretary, paid tribute to 2.4 million fallen soldiers there -- including 14 Class-A World War II criminals.
It seems as if a "Yasukuni visit" has become a political fad in Japan while excluding only the prime minister in "consideration" of neighboring countries. Until when, however, should Korea and China watch nervously -- at least three times a year -- a Japanese leader's visit to the Tokyo shrine?
During his election campaign, Abe said his failure to visit Yasukuni during his first tenure as prime minister was his lifelong regret, and pledged to do so in his official capacity if elected again. Yet he has skipped personal visits and replaced them with ritual offerings throughout this year, reflecting the Japanese leader's dilemma between domestic politics and external relations.
Prime Minister Abe may be waiting until he can have summits with his Korean and Chinese counterparts. But if the Japanese leader paid a visit to the controversial place -- which foreigners think symbolizes Japan's wartime aggression and its lack of remorse -- after holding the summits it will be a stab in the back and destroy its relations with Asian neighbors beyond reparation. Abe should refrain from visiting the place even if that means one more regret of his lifetime.
The Japanese leader needs in this regard to ponder why the visiting U.S. state and defense secretaries paid tribute at Chidorigafuchi Memorial Garden where there are no war criminals.
Sensible, conscientious Japanese people have long called for expanding the memorial garden free from religious and militarist implications for politicians' visits or moving the tablets of war criminals from Yasukuni to a third place. The Japanese government cites the opposition from the shrine's religious leaders to such a move as the reason for maintaining the status quo, but the time has long past for Tokyo to seriously consider such possibilities to show it really heeds international opinion.
The international community, especially the West, needs to pay greater attention and put more pressure on Japanese politicians' paying respect to their wartime leaders, including Hideki Tojo. It's little different German politicians praying to such Nazi leaders as Hitler, Goring, Goebbels and Hess. Would Americans, British and French people overlook such a situation?
It will be an insult to humankind's conscience to allow a country that does not really repent its past misdeeds to reemerge as a global leader either because of the country's economic and strategic importance or because of other major powers' selfish interests.
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|Publication:||Asian Political News|
|Date:||Oct 21, 2013|
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