Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and fellow revisionists prefer to think that Japan's 20th century imperialist aggression has been misunderstood. But on this score they are isolated not only from the international community, but also within Japan.

In January and February, Emperor Akihito and Prince Naruhito respectively expressed in their ineffable way their shared concerns about Abe's revisionist agenda on history and the Constitution. Moreover, some senior members of the Liberal Democratic Party are also anxious about the forthcoming Abe statement, which will mark the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender.

Even NHK news recently highlighted the key phrases of the 1995 Murayama statement, which accepted responsibility and apologized for the aggression and colonialism that Abe cavils about but really can't ignore. He has convened a blue-ribbon panel of eminent figures to offer advice, but his options are limited unless he wants to be remembered as "Abe the Shirker."