Japan should recollect cause of Hiroshima

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-8-6 0:38:01

Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Although there are only a few high-ranking representatives attending the annual ceremony, the number of countries which participate is at a high, which seems to be something the Japanese government and media are proud of.

Japan is still the only country which has been bombed by nuclear weapons in wartime. Two nuclear bombs exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII, which finally led to Japan's surrender.

It is understandable that Japan commemorates the event. The commemoration can be used as a way to advance the anti-nuclear movement. But it must be pointed out that the ceremony directs people's attention only to the fact that Japan is a victim of atomic bombing, but turns a blind eye to the reason why. Ceremonies like this water down the fact that Japan was also a perpetrator of war crimes. This shows how adept Japan is at scheming and calculating.

The importance of the Asian theater in WWII has been long overlooked. The atrocities Japan committed are not even known to many people. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. The Shinzo Abe administration has made astonishing moves to breach the country's peace constitution and recover its rights to collective self-defense. Abe wants to normalize the status of his country, but without a full retrospection over Japan's war crimes.

The US has not previously sent a high-ranking government official to the ceremony, but this time, Washington is sending a deputy secretary of state. Although the US is dissatisfied with Japan over historical issues, the need for a solid alliance prevails over the displeasure.

Japan used to be the most hated enemy of the US, but as geopolitics transform, it has become its most loyal ally. But this does not mean both sides have put the bitter past behind them. Japan is still limited by the US in many aspects. These constraints, to some extent, make Japan bear a grudge and they transfer this bad feeling onto China and South Korea over historical issues.  The disputes will not be resolved overnight, because Japan is able to wield its leverage and convince others of its peaceful role in the international community.

The key to the predicament might lie in a fundamental change to the current Asia-Pacific order. Historical issues might not dominate in the new order if China has risen up to become an equivalent power with the US.

We should show sympathy to Japan for the disaster 70 years ago. We don't have to make use of it as a showdown for the disputes over historical issues. All we can do is stay neutral and see if China's rise can lead to a resolution of the conundrum.

Posted in: Editorial

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