Abe is not a nationalist or a revisionist

In William Pesek’s March 8 commentary piece, “Abe’s nationalism hurts Japan” and Jeff Kingston’s March 12 column, “Abe’s revisionism nets own goals at home and away” the authors argue that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “nationalism” or “revisionism” damages Japan.

Abe’s so-called nationalism is an unsubstantiated assumption. Due to space constraints, I have to refrain from refuting each of the criticisms and conclusions made by the authors. Instead, I will briefly touch upon the Abe administration’s recognition of history and the performance of Abenomics.

Kingston assumes that Abe is a “revisionist.” In fact, the prime minister has repeatedly called for Japan to sincerely reflect on its history. For example, on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Abe made a comprehensive statement pointing out that “we Japanese, across generations, must squarely face the history of the past,” and that “we have the responsibility to inherit the past, in all humbleness, and pass it on to the future.”

Moreover, he has repeatedly and unequivocally stated that the Abe Cabinet upholds the position on the recognition of history outlined by previous administrations.

Pesek connects Abe’s so-called nationalism to the security legislation as well as Abenomics and so forth, and makes a one-sided interpretation that misleads readers on the initiatives that the government has thus far taken.

Since the introduction of Abenomics in 2012, Japan’s GDP has reached record levels in both nominal and real terms. For example, nominal GDP has risen by 9.5 percent (¥47 trillion), while real GDP has increased by 5.4 percent (¥27 trillion). In particular, there have been significant improvements in employment, a matter of the utmost importance for Japan’s future. The number of people employed has increased by 1.7 million, with women representing 1.47 million of these new entries into the workforce. A virtuous economic cycle is clearly being generated, as evidenced by the fact that the effective ratio of job openings to applicants has risen above 1.0 in all 47 prefectures for the first time in history.

In addition, wage rises have reached their highest levels this century for three consecutive years, and the overall disposable income of households after deducting tax and social security obligations has increased for two consecutive years.

Finally, in relation to the assertions about Moritomo Gakuen in the articles, for the sake of clarity, I would point out that Abe himself has clearly stated in response to questions in the Diet that neither he or his wife were in any way involved in the sale of the state-owned land in question, or in approving the establishment of the school.

NORIO MARUYAMA
PRESS SECRETARY, 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.