| Global Times | 2012-10-23 22:45:04
By Zhong Sheng
The Chinese have highly valued credibility and integrity since ancient times. There is a time-honored proverb that "credibility is a trump card to sustain governance and win public support." In order to keep a foothold in the international arena, a country has to win respect and trust from other countries, keep its promises, and behave in an open-minded and upright way.
The Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation are the legal basis for the establishment of the international order after World War II. On August 10, 1945, the Japanese government offered to surrender to the Allies. On August 15, the Japanese emperor Hirohito announced Japan's acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.
In the surrender document, Japan clearly promised to "accept the provisions in the declaration issued by the heads of the Governments of the United States, China, and Great Britain 26 July 1945 at Potsdam, and subsequently adhered to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics."
If, as some in Japan have recently claimed, the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation are unilateral announcements without binding force, how can Japan explain its signature on the surrender document? And why did the surrender officially mark the end of the war?
The Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation were the prerequisites for the Allies to end the war against Japan, and prerequisites for the international community, especially Asian countries, to reaccept Japan in the post-war era. By their recent questioning of the two documents, some in Japan actually seek to negate the fruits of the world's victory in the anti-fascist war and challenge the post-war international order.
Japan's recent provocations over the Diaoyu Islands issue did not happen accidentally. The fundamental reason is the increasing expansion of domestic right-wing forces, which are attempting to negate Japan's history. In international media, articles warning against Japan's "turn to the right" are often published.
On October 10, Japanese ambassador to the US Ichiro Fujisaki published an article on the Huffington Post, saying that external arguments about Japan's growing nationalism and its turn to the right are "vastly exaggerated."
Nevertheless, facts cannot be erased. In the post-war era, Japan has been reluctant to either deeply reflect upon its history of invasion or thoroughly settle with its militarism. In recent years, there are constant arguments made within Japan that deny the Nanjing Massacre in 1937 and the organized and forced prostitution run by the Japanese military.
Some Japanese politicians even actively seek to revise the Peace Constitution and the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. It is frequently reported that top Japanese officials, including former Japanese prime minister and newly elected chief of the Liberal Democratic Party Shinzo Abe, visit the Yasukuni Shrine.
Aren't all these signals of Japanese politics' "turn to the right?" Shouldn't Asians and people across the world be alert to these signals?
In 1970, German Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt in front of a monument to the Warsaw Ghetto victims and delivered a silent apology to those who suffered during World War II. This helped improve the image of Germany. No politician in Japan has taken a similar stance. On the contrary, many seek to publicly distort and even deny its past invasions. This is exactly why Japan still fails to look graceful in front of people in Asia and the world at large.
Japan has been saying that it wants to become a "normal country." However, Japan first needs to have a normal mentality, completely cleanse its legacy of militarism and win external trust through practical deeds.
After World War II, Japan created an economic miracle. But economic success doesn't mean normalcy in politics. The recent provocations over the Diaoyu Islands issue make people wonder whether Japan will advance toward peaceful development or will return to the path of militarism. Its Asian neighbors and countries across the world are watching.
The author is a commentator with the People's Daily. The article is the third in a series on the Diaoyu Islands originally published in the People's Daily. email@example.com
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