politics

Japan, China must move on from excessive focus on past: Abe

45 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2015 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

45 Comments
Login to comment

The trouble seems to be that a mere 70 years of not fighting in any overt war and an apparently easily reinterpreted constitution are not enough to overcome the suspicion that Japan is not really pacifist at all. There is such a previous heavy weight of historical evidence against the idea and any country that is not living environmentally sustainably is contributing to certain future conflict over diminishing resources.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

waste time to hold on to the past

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

What Abe really means: leave the Japanese right wing to whitewash the past.

20 ( +27 / -7 )

Relations between Japan and China...plunged in 2012 following Tokyo’s nationalisation of disputed islands in the East China Sea.

We have former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara's legacy to thank for that debacle.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

My great-grandfather years ago went over to your house, murdered your great-grandfather and great-grandmother, beat up your grandfather, raped your grandmother, and nicked all their stuff. Every year I go to a place where they are enshrined surrounded by insecure kids cosplaying in my great-grandfather's military uniform and make a donation to the shrine which says my great-grandfather was an awesome guy, and your great-grandfather and great-grandmother were secret terrorists and your grandmother was a whore.

When you ask me to please stop, I say you're dwelling excessively on the past.

Abe is really demonstrating a failure to understand basic human interaction here. The really sad thing is that with his response to Yang, what he's telegraphing to the rest of the world that though he demands we not talk about the war, he really has no way of dealing with our criticism if we do. The best he can do is say, "Stop it."

28 ( +34 / -6 )

Japan, China must move on from excessive focus on past:

How can anyone in their right mind take anything Abe says about the past and moving on when he or his mouth-piece Suga are talking out of both sides at the same time?

I have come to the conclusion that the only moving on that Abe will accept is one where everything Japanese is considered to be "fact" and no one else's opinion or truth matters.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Whitewashing or sweeping under the rug is NOT moving on.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

Japan, China must move on from excessive focus on past: Abe

In order for this to happen Japan will have to stop trying to change history.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

... "Abe told Yang that “Japan has an unshakable history as a pacifist nation”, and has learned lessons from its past,"

A history as a pacifist nation?? He doesn't know what the word history means, right? And learned from the past? That's quite some joke.

Elsewise, katsu78 explained it very well!

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Excessive? I think he meant to say "obsessive".

8 ( +12 / -4 )

"Excess focus on past" can be avoided ONLY after true repentance.

Why can’t the Abe regime learn a lesson from the German government. Modern Germany has made a total break, by words and actions, from Nazi Germany.

However, the most recent Japanese reaction to UNSCO registey reinforces the notion that the current Japanese regime under Abe is immoral and shameless (and hopeless to bring Japan to be respected by the world community). They just cannot come clean and disconnect themselves from its fascist imperial Japan of WW2.

The ball is in your court, Abe. The world is watching.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Both are fixated on the past:

China's fixation is on the past - as it happened.

Abe's fixation on the past is pure romantic fantasy.

Abe just wants to expunge the guilt of inhuman atrocities that he knows Japan committed.

China is worried that Abe will do it again.

Abe's secrecy law, building a new and huge base for the US military in Okinawa and his new "interpretation of the constitution," making war a distinct possibility.

China has every right to be worried.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Abe's hypocrisy is on display again. Maybe China should suggest to Abe that the peace memorials in Hiroshima and Nagasaki should be dismantled in a show of good faith.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Denial holds you back. The concept of moving on requires acknowledgement of what has occurred, not denying others and denying yourself. You can't move on by lying to yourself, but truly moving away from what pulled you down in the past and rising up into a new peaceful future.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

We must build future-oriented Japan-China relations, rather than keeping an excessive focus on unfortunate past”, Seko quoted the premier as telling the Chinese diplomat.

Does that include such behavior as not throwing hissy fits at UNESCO , pressuring foreign academics and city councils via "diplomatic channels" to retract their "mistaken " view of history, screening endless black and white documentaries about WW2 victimhood on NHK for most of August and so on? Walk the talk.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

"Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny; consume you it will." -- Yoda

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Provoking the neighbor you wronged before by preaching them to forget only makes matters worse. Doesn't he realize he's the one who's prodding the neighbor to focus more on the past? Stupid but he's probably doing it to solidify support domestically. Nation of Japan always so eager to avert its eyes from the darkness in its history happily goes along with Abe's attempt to distract.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

During the meeting Abe told Yang that “Japan has an unshakable history as a pacifist nation”

Then why the spiel about "Normal Country?"

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Abe: It is perfectly alright and natural for Japan to focus on things like the atomic bombings, that were horrible incidents that claimed the lives of many innocent people, and we wish to honor the lives of those brave kamikaze pilots who were innocent cherry blossoms that fell to the ground, and show the horrible situations prisoners faced in Siberian camps. But incidents like those described by China in Nanjing did not happen, and it's regrettable that they should be focused on.

Yang: What are you talking about?

Abe: The past -- what happened in war time.

Yang: Didn't you just say we shouldn't focus on the past? Why do you insist on bringing attention to things you 'don't want to talk about'?

Abe: Yes, but I meant things Japan doesn't agree with.

Yang: Clearly.

Abe: Clearly what? Are you talking about the past again? Stop being regrettable! Let's focus on the present!

Yang: Alright. How about you give back our islands.

Abe: That is not an issue. Let's only talk about the economy.

Yang: How about the fact that we are second in the world and you third?

Abe: ...

8 ( +16 / -8 )

The question for all you JT commenters is what is YOUR solution to this debacle?

I swear one article on this website has everyone criticizing China and Korea for constantly dwelling on the past and then the next criticizes Abe, Japan for whitewashing history.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

That's easy, DaDude, both China and Japan should become more mature, which presumably means having more than an 11year-old's subjective opinion of itself. But the leadership and I dare say the people themselves are insecure and need to feel they are seen in a good light by others. When that is not forthcoming they withdraw into defensive postures. Both countries show that long histories count for nothing in the wisdom stakes. So, as to a practical solution, in reality there is likely none.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't think France, England, Poland, Russia, etc etc etc are still complaining about the behavior of Germany on WWII, So, why the chineses still do so? Maybe, only maybe, because of the pressure and manipulation of some western countries?? Divide and Rule perhaps is still to motto.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

I agree with Abe on the surface of his comments. China does indeed need to stop dwelling on a past from which very few, if any, of its key figures are still alive today.

However . . .

Abe needs to drop this historical revisionism B.S. that seems to be the bread and butter of his very existence.

DaDude,

one article on this website has everyone criticizing China and Korea for constantly dwelling on the past and then the next criticizes Abe, Japan for whitewashing history.

You're right. But the obvious reason for this is that both Japan and China could do with a bit of collective emotional growth. There is plenty of blame to go around for the absurdity of this particular debacle.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Gotta love Abe's comment about a pacifist history. He left out the part where the pacifism was forced after 50 years of unprovoked attacks on peaceful nations while trying to take over Asia. How can any of Japan's neighboring countries form dialogues and agreements if Japan keeps denying and downplaying the atrocities of its 'attempted' imperial rule of Asia?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I swear one article on this website has everyone criticizing China and Korea for constantly dwelling on the past and then the next criticizes Abe, Japan for whitewashing history.

There is a solution that none would agree with, let the people here decide!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Shakushain's Revolt was an Ainu rebellion against Japanese authority on Hokkaido between 1669 and 1672. It was led by Ainu chieftain Shakushain against the Matsumae clan, who represented Japanese trading and governmental interests in the area of Hokkaido then controlled by the Japanese (Yamato people).

It was only 350 years ago that wiped out Ainu, indigenous inhabitants of Japan Archipelago, for Japanese including my predecessor to have taken more than 1,000 years since the first Barbarian Subduing Generalissimo was appointed at some 600 AD. The history is to be forgotten quite easily when it is not convenient. 70 years is long enough to be forgotten for some people.

Actually, Ainu is not a barbarian.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Mr Abe, a new word for you to learn:

'disingenuous'.

Surprising how it comes in handy.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Gotta love Abe's comment about a pacifist history. He left out the part where the pacifism was forced after 50 years of unprovoked attacks on peaceful nations while trying to take over Asia

Clearly he is talking postwar. Makes me wonder though, why the foreigners among those of you that appear to despise Japan and ANYTHING she does live here. Perhaps you should live elsewhere, somewhere that meets your approval.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

Its true that China (and Korea) probably should focus less on the past. What is left out of that statement, however, is that it would be much easier for them to do so if Japanese politicians like Abe stopped drawing their attention to it by doing stuff like honoring war criminals at Yasukuni, downplaying the severity of Japanese war crimes, insisting comfort women were well paid volunteers despite massive evidence to the contrary, etc etc.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

There wouldn't be 'excessive focus on the past' if the Abe government just called a spade a spade. Unacceptable behaviour.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

still waiting on TINA to show up, Ill comment for her, "China should stop the lies about Japan, Nanjing is not true, Comfort women are a lie, the whole of Japan is behind you Mr Abe" ok thats over we can get back to the serious discussions

Moderator: Other readers can post for themselves. They don't need you posting rubbish like this here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

ha! There is no truth to Nanking incident's records.

Hashimoto-san,

And the IJA soldiers who were there are lying, too, I suppose?

Juhei Teramoto, a former soldier, admits on film that "superior officers told us to commit robbery, murder, rape and arson and do anything."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/japanese-vets-admit-on-film-to-nanjing-atrocities-1.889895

Nanking deniers are the Chinese Communist Party's greatest propaganda tool.

Grow up! The people of both countries don't deserve this garbage.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Only if Japan stop distorting and whitewashing history.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Just admit the past was wrong, put it in textbooks so the next generation will understand, and move on. Hey wait...I forgot article 9, war games with China's neighbours, American bases in Okinawa...oh heck.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Moon1 Perhaps the more perceptive among the critics would also criticize the blatant hypocrisy of any country. I know I do. As citizens of anywhere we deserve much better than the duplicitous leaders we have. It is also that Japan makes itself such an easy target though. But thanks for demonstrating the defensive posture when people are not wholeheartedly complimentary about Japan. On the other hand, there are more than a few foreigners who make a good living with disingenuous compliments, knowing full well it is what the insecure people want to hear. I would suggest to you that you trust those much less.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Hashimoto-san (THE Hashimoto-san, perhaps?), If Nanking is pure fabrication, please illuminate me as to why John Rabe, a member of the nazi party and one of Japan's own ALLIES, felt morally compelled to protect the Chinese people from the depredations of the Imperial Japanese Army?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rabe

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@Moon 1

Sorry, but I strongly assume that quite a few people (foreigners) consider Japan at least their second home(-land). For me that's the way it is. I left everything behind in Germany to come here years ago. So, please, also accept my criticism if something is not the way it should be! I love Japan, it has become my home and that's why I can't and won't accept "stuff" like this! I am sure, there are more people here who feel and think the same way!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I think everybody left their homeland behind or are sent here if you read this site. You must care about your new environment, neighbours, help people and don't litter.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Moon1: " Perhaps you should live elsewhere, somewhere that meets your approval."

Ah, the pathetic last cry of those who simply cannot accept their own denial, despite it being shown to them in their faces. Quick question, Moon. If all the 'undesirable foreigners' (ie. those who think white-washing history and denying atrocities is unacceptable) left Japan, would you then be satisfied with China and the rest of the world outside Japan bringing up the Nanjing Massacre from China? How would your 'argument' change, then, if the people criticizing Japan are not living there, because... guess what... many are not. That's one reason why this sad, last-ditch excuse for a retort never works. The other reason is simply that people who live, work, and pay taxes here, or don't for that matter, are still entitled to an opinion, even if it is one you disagree with. I don't think there's a single person who's chosen to live and work here who doesn't like the place, if not love it, but that doesn't mean we agree with the things certain people say or do, nor should we have to, unless you think Japan ought to become the dictatorship you seem to want it to be. The Kims who lead North Korea certainly won't tolerate any berating of Dear Leader; are you suggesting Japan be more like that? suggesting all people who come and/or live here immediately prostrate themselves for the leader of the nation and ask no questions? Last I checked right wingers think Japan is much better than North Korea, so why do you want it to be like said country?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@SenseNotSoCommonOCT. 15, 2015 - 11:20AM JST

Juhei Teramoto, a former soldier, admits on film that "superior officers told us to commit robbery, murder, rape and arson and do anything."

This summary is incorrect. Teramoto admits HE personally committed some or all of the above. He claims he did it because some un-named superior officer ordered him to.

There is a distinction, you know.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki: "This summary is incorrect. Teramoto admits HE personally committed some or all of the above. He claims he did it because some un-named superior officer ordered him to. There is a distinction, you know."

What does any distinction matter when you will deny it either way? It's always humorous to hear the people that were never there tell the people that WERE there what happened to them. And yet, if Abe 'claims' something happened you CLAIM it as fact, and say the actual facts are fiction because he and your granddad told you so.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

smithinjapanOCT. 15, 2015 - 05:01PM JST

What does any distinction matter when you will deny it either way?

Let's not be accusing about things that hadn't happened yet. I don't deny the possibiity his story might be true, but I can see why right-wingers might want to wring his neck.

First, regardless of truth value, this fella is very close to committing treason against his country. Quite frankly, considering the reality of the world, such people cause real, measurable damage to Japan and limit her options. Thus, even if it is the truth, very serious consideration should have been made towards keeping that secret to the grave. If he is lying, it is treason, pure and simple.

Second, if you must let it out, since it is you that made the choice, if you are really feeling that great and noble, please say it was your own Personal Decision.

Third, if you must blame a superior for your actions to reduce the guilt of your own neck, NAME that superior! Give them a chance to admit or refute your testimony (though as it is, people will automatically choose to believe this guy).

This kind of vague reference is highly toxic and worse of all, basically unfalsifiable. Unfalsifiable claims must, in the main, be treated with suspicion.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

What does Abe means excessive focus on history? What China is doing is pursuit a justice, like hunting Nazi fugitive. The Japanese still didnt want to admit their wars against China was wrong, there were alot of these people in Japan, not just the Abe's clique.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan, China must move on from excessive focus on past: Abe

They can - by properly teaching it

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Christopher Glen: They cant and it is not about teaching! Abe is speaking for the Japanese trade union only, for the merchants and businessmen, the history issue is really jepordize their fortune of exports or other services to China. For Mr Abe he has hell NO sincerely to move forward, I guess his mind is living in 1905 treaty of Porthmouth~era of Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites