… of need to remember World War Two ‘correctly’
Japan Today (February 23 2015)
Japan’s crown prince has warned of the need to remember World War Two “correctly”, in a rare foray into an ideological debate as nationalist politicians seek to downplay the country’s historic crimes.
In an unusual intervention in the discussion, Naruhito’s mild-mannered broadside was being interpreted in some circles as a rebuke to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a key figure in the right-wing drive to minimise the institutionalised system of wartime sex slavery.
“Today when memories of war are set to fade, I believe it is important to look back at our past with modesty and pass down correctly the miserable experience and the historic path Japan took from the generation who knew the war to the generation who don’t”, Naruhito said.
The comments, released Monday on the prince’s 55th birthday, come as Abe’s controversial views on history roil relations with China and South Korea, and cause unease in Washington.
Abe has openly said he wants a more sympathetic telling of the history of the first half of the twentieth century, a period marked by brutal expansionism in Asia and warring with China and the West.
The prime minister last week appointed a sixteen-member panel to advise him on a statement he is set to make later this year to mark the seventieth anniversary of Japan’s surrender.
Abe has said he will largely stand by Tokyo’s previous apologies, but amid growing anger in China and South Korea over the “comfort women” system, speculation is mounting that he will seek to downplay the issue.
While Japan’s newspapers remained staid in their coverage of Naruhito’s comments, social media users leapt on them.
“This definitely contains a warning against Shinzo Abe, doesn’t it?” tweeted @Kirokuro.
“It is a regular recognition (of history), but these comments by the crown prince stand out because Prime Minister Abe’s views on the constitution and history are outrageous”, said @kazu_w50
Asked about his views on war and peace, Naruhito told reporters: “It was very painful that many precious lives were lost, many people suffered and felt deep sorrow in the world including in Japan”.
“It is important that we never forget people who died in the war… (and we must) deepen our appreciation for our past so as not to repeat the horrors of war and to foster a love of peace”, he said.
(c) 2015 AFP