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As Japan greeted the 70th anniversary of its defeat in World War II in the midst of growing opposition to the government-proposed security legislation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must have realized that he has to run his administration under a variety of constraints.

One such constraint is international opinion. Initially, Abe appeared resolved to issue a war anniversary statement that reflected his own perception of Japan’s modern history. However, it was obvious that a right-wing viewpoint of history, which tends to deny Japan’s responsibility for its aggression and colonial rule, would not be acceptable not just to Asian countries but also to Western nations. For Japan to live as a member of the international community, the prime minister could not choose to publicize a self-righteous perception of history.

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