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Militarism still poison in Japanese society: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-08-15 19:19

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during the 77th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo, Japan, Aug 15, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

Monday was the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. That some right-wing activists dressed in the military uniforms of the notorious Imperial Japanese Army and bearing its flags were allowed, as before, to openly stage an ugly show at the Yasukuni Shrine speaks volumes of the distance between Japan as it is and the normal country that it wants to become.

The shrine is a symbol of Japan's past military aggressions and war crimes, as it honors 14 Japanese wartime leaders who were convicted as war criminals. In Germany and Italy, the other two defeated axis powers of WWII, such open advocating of fascism and displaying symbols or signs related to the Nazis are serious violations of law and condemned by the public.

And while Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed on Monday that Japan would never again wage war, several members of his cabinet, including Economic Security Minister Sanae Takaichi and Koichi Hagiuda, head of the Liberal Democratic Party's policy research council, visited the shrine, to which Kishida sent his offering as well.

The senior government officials' visits to the shrine and Kishida's offering clearly indicate that his administration will not reflect on that part of the country's past.

For Japan's ultra-rightists, who have always maintained a strong influence in Japanese politics, society and culture, Japan was never defeated. It should not be forgotten that the day marking Japan's unconditional surrender is commemorated in the country as "the day when the war ended", and history textbooks in Japanese schools portray Japan as a victim of war. Many right-wing Japanese politicians still think the war was a process by which the Yamato people, the sole race of Japan, tried to bring prosperity and enlightenment to the inferior races of other countries to form a so-called Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

That's why they think the anger China, South Korea and other countries express over Japanese officials' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine is a farce. No wonder Hirokazu Matsuno, chief Cabinet secretary of Japan, justified these visits by saying: "It is natural for any country to pay respect to those who gave their lives for their country".

But the war dead of Japan, including civilians, did not give their lives for their country, but for fascist-minded militarists, including the war criminals honored at the shrine.

The whole nation was brainwashed and led astray at that time causing the loss of tens of millions of innocent lives in dozens of countries and regions. The question is: For how long will the residue of such poisonous thought continue to be allowed to mislead the country?

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