Abe’s Visit To Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine honors 14 Second World War Class A criminals. In Japan it is a symbol of aggression and the prime minister’s choice to visit the memorial shows that he might not understand Japan’s past and the dangerous political orientation that led to it.

The reason why Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday was so he could get rid of the image of a vanquished country and start building on a country with great political power and independent military strength.

As a child, Abe looked up at his grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who was able to turn himself from a war criminal into Japan’s prime minister. Abe adopted Kishi’s political ideas but has always shown his own political ambitions.

Abe has expressed his regret for not visiting the shrine during his first term in office, saying that he would pay a visit at the right time. And he did, despite Tokyo’s disagreements with Beijing and Seoul he went to Yasukuni Shrine on the first day of his second term in the office, the Ecns.cn reports.

Although Abe managed through his economic policy to lower the exchange rate and to boost the stock market, the Japanese haven’t seen any progress on any of the structural problems. Japan’s economic status is still not looking too optimistic for 2014, but he needed to do something different this time, to distract people’s attention from his maybe negative performance of last year.

His visit to the Yasukuni Shrine has already created some mild conflicts with Japan’s neighbors. Countries that were once affected by Japan’s militarist aggression have been able to establish decent diplomatic relations with Japan, with the condition that Japanese people admit their past aggression and work towards a correct view of history. In Japan, to have the right attitude towards past is a principle that marks the political foundation of Japan’s relations with its neighbors.

Abe now has a new national security strategy, a new National Defense Program Guidelines and a Mid-Term Defense Program, which are meant to strengthen Japan’s military capability, to increase Japan’s role in the United States – Japan alliance and to set up an ‘ocean alliance’ around China.

Following his latest actions and his wrong view of history make China and other victimized countries increase their security and be ready to respond; same case with the United States which should be very careful in responding to Japan’s intentions. China, the Republic of Korea and all the other countries should come together and respond to Japan’s actions. Appropriate measures can be discussed during the US-China strategic dialogue.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE