No intent by Abe to revise history

Regarding the Hugh Cortazzi column titled “Abe’s misplaced priorities” in the Jan. 30 edition, I have to point out that the article includes misleading descriptions that differ from the actual facts. If you read the Cabinet-approved statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, you will find that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has no thought or intention to revise or whitewash history. While Cortazzi also writes that constitutional revision “would arouse vehement opposition” if it suggests any attempts to “undermine human rights,” the statement clearly demonstrates Japan’s unwavering commitment to basic values such as freedom, democracy and human rights. It should be noted that Japan and the United Kingdom, Cortazzi’s home country, reaffirmed that these are the shared values at the second Japan-U.K. foreign and defense ministers’ meeting.

It is unclear to me what exactly Cortazzi is referring to when he talks of “irredentism.” Japan contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in the world, hoisting the flag of “proactive contribution to peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. Such efforts are highly recognized by not only the U.K. but the international community.

Recognizing Japan as its closest security partner in Asia, the U.K. welcomed Japan’s recent security legislation and supported Japan’s global role through its policy of proactive contribution to peace. It is clear that the path Japan is pursuing in international society is not one of nationalism or revisionism, but rather one of cooperation, peace and stability.

Regarding Cortazzi’s assertions about the economy, I would note that Japan has made significant progress in tackling deflation. Abenomics policy initiatives have created a significant recovery in the past three years. Nominal GDP has increased by ¥28 trillion. Gross national income has increased by almost ¥40 trillion. Corporate earnings have reached record levels, and employment has increased by more than 1.1 million people. Abe has set forth a target of a ¥600 trillion GDP, Japan’s largest in the postwar era, in order to hit the two targets of eliminating the need to leave one’s job to provide nursing care and of raising the birthrate to 1.8 children per woman.

I urge readers to take another look at the current state of Japan, and hope they will find that Japan is taking positive steps both politically and economically.

Yasuhisa Kawamura
PRESS SECRETARY, DIRECTOR-GENERAL FOR PRESS AND PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTRY

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • Firas Kraïem

    “I urge readers to take another look at the current state of Japan”

    Okay, so uh, we can look for example at the government’s stance on freedom of the press, as demonstrated recently by the internal affairs minister? Yes, yes, I know, she just basically reaffirmed what the law dictates. That’s exactly the problem.

  • Firas Kraïem

    “I urge readers to take another look at the current state of Japan”

    Okay, so uh, we can look for example at the government’s stance on freedom of the press, as demonstrated recently by the internal affairs minister? Yes, yes, I know, she just basically reaffirmed what the law dictates. That’s exactly the problem.

  • Ariko Honda

    I found myself agreeing with pretty much everything in Mr. Kawamura’s letter defending Japan’s Prime Minister. The one thing I would say is that no-one should have to apologize for “revising” history: Any good history book builds on, challenges, and yes, revises existing interpretations.