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Abe's revisionism alienating Japan from neighbors

2014-12-24 15:02 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finally realized his wish Wednesday by keeping his post for another four years, but concerns at home and abroad over Japan's revisionism still remain, as the conservative ghost continues to linger, which could alienate Japan from its neighbors and disrupt peace and stability in the region.

It is no more hard for the hawkish leader to achieve his dream to revise the country's pacifist constitution as he already has a comfortable majority in the bicameral parliament, meaning it is possible for Abe to propose his initiative to amend the pacifist constitution.

Through the general election, the prime minister used a not so subtle ploy to win votes by making the economy as his main plank, calling on the electorate to renew its support for his Abenomics.

By taking advantage of the weak opposition, which was caught unprepared for the snap polls that Abe called, the prime minister was able to buy more time to pursue his ultimate political goal.

Recent surveys by major Japanese newspapers, after the Dec. 14 general election, suggested that over 80 percent of all 475 lawmakers in the more powerful lower house agree to revise the Japanese supreme law and 57 percent of them showed their support to gut the war-renouncing Article 9.

However, what Abe might notice is that his third term of premiership was largely the result of widespread public clamor for stable politics and economy at a time when there is no alternative to Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), rather than their supposed support for what Abe plans to do.

That is why the voter turnout during the snap election was a record low.

Abe reiterated that he will try to gain more public understanding toward his attempt to amend the constitution, but tracing back, the prime minister always neglected public will on passing controversial bills in terms of the right to collective self-defense and the Special Secrecy Law.

For sure, amending the Constitution is different as it needs a referendum.

Along with the revision of the constitution, the denial on Japan's wartime atrocities is also a feature of Abe's revisionism and the issue is truly related to Japan's diplomacy, especially with its neighbors, even its key ally, the United States.

By repeatedly paying homage to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine by ministers and lawmakers and efforts in invalidating the Kono Statement and Murayama Statement by government officials and right- wingers, not only enrage victim countries of Japan's aggression, like South Korea and China, but also prompt vigilance in the United States as newspapers there called Abe's historical revisionism "dangerous."

However, it is utterly regrettable that Tokyo has continuously failed to understand or maybe even ignored sincere calls from South Korea and China for Japan to face its past and take full responsibility for the atrocities in World War II rather than continue to stalk the fire of hatred and distrust.

Abe's plan to abandon the country's pacifist stance, which has been the bedrock of Japan's stunning economic successes in the past, will definitely be a drawback to efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.

It is advisable for Tokyo to take the international reactions over its historical revisionism seriously as the unwise move hardly "bring Japan back" but would only taint Japan's reputation as a peace-loving country and may even alienate the country away from its neighbors.

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WW II and the world will see, by issuing a new statement, whether Abe could take advantage of the opportunity to express his country's intention to mend ties with neighbors or continue to wage the banner proclaiming Japan's intention to bring back its so-called " glories" in the 1930s.

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