China’s Net users ridicule Abe’s Pearl Harbor visit

By Chen Heying Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/29 0:33:39

Abe’s visit a hasty political stunt: expert

US President Barack Obama (right) listens as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at the USS Arizona Memorial on Tuesday at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo: AFP

US President Barack Obama (right) listens as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at the USS Arizona Memorial on Tuesday at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo: AFP

China called on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to face Japan's wartime history in Asia following his symbolic visit to  Pearl Harbor to consolidate ties with the US.

"We must never repeat the horrors of war again. This is the solemn vow that we, the people of Japan, have taken," Abe said as he paid tribute at the USS Arizona Memorial during the first visit by a Japanese prime minister there.

Abe and Barack Obama made a joint pilgrimage to the site of the Pearl Harbor attack on Tuesday to celebrate "the power of reconciliation." The Japanese attack on December 7, 1941 on an unsuspecting US fleet moored at Pearl Harbor killed more than 2,400 and drew the US into World War II.

But Abe did not apologize for the attack. "This visit to Pearl Harbor was to console the souls of the war dead, not to apologize," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.

The Chinese public has been unimpressed by Abe's visit to Pearl Harbor, given that the Abe administration hasn't expressed apology for the Japanese military's atrocities committed in China.

"What Japan waged against China and other Asian neighbors was a war of aggression. Reconciliation between the inflicters and victims must and can only be based upon sincere reflection and apology from the inflicters, the only way that a genuine and lasting reconciliation can be realized," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press conference on Wednesday.

Criticism and ridicule of Abe flooded Chinese social media sites. "Ignoring countries that suffered more from the war and are located closer to Japan, Abe chose Pearl Harbor for condolence, and that makes a mockery of justice," a Sina Weibo user with the account name "Do you know dark matter" commented.

At the same time as Abe visited Pearl Harbor, his cabinet member Masahiro Imamura, who is minister for reconstruction of disaster-hit regions, visited the highly controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which enshrines the war dead, including Class-A war criminals.

Abe visited the shrine three years ago.

In a Global Times poll released on Wednesday, about 51 percent of 1,549 Chinese respondents said "they hate the Japanese government but like Japanese people." Another 35 percent of the surveyed people said they "hate" Japan overall.

Political show

Without a deep reflection on Japan's wartime atrocities in Asian countries, Abe's visit to Pearl Harbor cannot mask his tendency of historical revisionism, Lü Yaodong, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. "In their bid to seek a stronger military alliance, the US and Japan put reality above history," Lü said.

"The Japanese Imperial Army killed far more civilians in the Nanjing Massacre, the germ warfare in Harbin and in some other places in Asia. It is intolerable just to commemorate the US victims, while ignoring the victims in Asian countries," Takakage Fujita, director general of the Association for Inheriting and Propagating the Murayama Statement, said on Tuesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Calling the visit a hasty political stunt, Hu Lingyuan, a professor at the Japanese Research Center of Fudan University, said it is simply an "exchange of interests" before Donald Trump takes office in January 2017. Seven months ago, Obama became the first sitting US president to visit atomic bomb-struck Hiroshima, paying his respects to the thousands who died there.

Abe's visit to Pearl Harbor attempted to drag the US closer to Japan's side in a bid to contain China in the future, Hu explained.

"Today, the alliance between the US and Japan … stands as the cornerstone of peace and civility in the Asia-Pacific," Obama was quoted by CNN as saying on Wednesday.

Abe met then US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in September and President-elect Trump in New York late November after the general election. He also held a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin who declined Japan's offered puppy-love diplomacy in December.

"His hurried meetings with the US and Russian leaders demonstrate his diffidence in spite of his determination to antagonize China," Hu said.

Agencies contributed to this story

blog comments powered by Disqus