Shinzo Abe Speaks on Battle of Okinawa’s Anniversary

96th Division Troops Flush Out Japanese Troops on Okinawa
96th Division Troops Flush Out Japanese Troops on Okinawa

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is often the subject of some debate when it comes to his speeches. He has a tendency to glorify Japan’s role in the Second World War, while taking a sometimes aggressive stance on foreign relations. When he spoke on the anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa back in June, many reporters began to question whether or not Shinzo Abe really has a full understanding of the lessons that can be learned from war.

The Battle of Okinawa lasted almost three months and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the process. Of all Pacific battles during the Second World War, it was the absolute deadliest. As such, Japan is sure to remember the battle every year on its anniversary. At the most recent round of ceremonies, Shinzo Abe was present to give a public speech. He spoke amid numerous other speakers who were present for the battle. Needless to say, their stories were far from whimsical. They spoke of civilian deaths, legally ordered executions, widespread starvation, and numerous other horrors. Together, they presented a startling and terrifying depiction of WWII.

Typical of his generally aggressive politics, the Japanese Prime Minister is dissatisfied with the current layout of Japanese defense policy. Ever since the Second World War, specifically the Battle of Okinawa, much of Japan has taken a pacifist stance with which Shinzo Abe does not quite agree. Under current policy, Japan cannot wage war in defense of their allies. Despite the horrors of war which many Japanese citizens would prefer to avoid, he would like the right to strike preemptively against anyone who threatens Japan’s allied nations, the Forbes reports.

Changes to current Japanese policies may be soon underway. All that needs to happen is for the Cabinet to decide that it is time for the old policy to be abandoned. After that, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be able to get his way without so much as a vote. Many feel that this is a misstep, that Japan should keep its pacifist ways intact. If the Prime Minister is set on getting his way, however, then this will not likely happen.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is known for taking an aggressive stance in many circumstances. Even with Japan having just recently engaged in remembrance ceremonies for the Battle of Okinawa, Shinzo Abe appears to have very little interest in leaving this aggression at the door in favor of passivity. This does not mean Japan will immediately enter into conflict the second their policies are changed, but many are wondering what precisely Japan’s future does hold.

Ian Harvey

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