Japan’s Shinzo Abe, unlike his American counterpart, is enslaving himself to a revisionist course in Japan, defying all rhyme and reason. Believing that rewriting the past can make it go away could again split Asia in two — Japan and the rest.
The latest spat has been reignited by his approval of the provocative mass visits of his Cabinet ministers and party members to the shrine that symbolizes Japan’s reluctance to accept any shred of responsibility for all that happened prior to August 1945.
His de facto Cabinet spokesman on the day of the visit flipped China and South Korea a symbolic bird by saying that the shrine is a domestic issue and other countries should not stick their noses into Japanese business. This echoes a common argument used by China since the end of World War II to stifle world criticism of its aggressive expansion of its territorial interests.
But Abe’s diatribes in recent parliamentary sessions can only escalate a situation from mere bellicose rhetoric into dangerous instability in Asia. He has accused China and South Korea of aggressive behavior for even questioning the shrine visits, and has implied that he might not consider Japan’s actions before 1945 as aggression or even mistakes.
Add to this volatile mix of alpha-male politics North Korea’s recent verbal testosterone, and it’s little wonder the West is grimacing at Abe’s inability to be diplomatic or rational. Abevision seems synonymous with tunnel vision.
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.