Japan must reflect on more than just own atomic wartime tragedies

By Zhu Feng Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/8 21:59:02

The time has come for Japan to mark the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by also making the solemn period an opportunity to reflect upon its history of aggression.

While full sympathy should be given to the innocents  who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cities that were targeted by the US in the atomic bombing in 1945 during WWII, it should also be kept in mind that those lives were not the only victims of the war Japan had initiated.

Millions of innocent people were mercilessly massacred, cities and villages pillaged, as the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) invaded China and other Asian countries purely to satisfy its militaristic ambitions.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said "victims deserve sympathy, but perpetrators can never shirk their responsibility."

In Japanese society, it is commonly believed that Japan was the victim when it comes to the atomic bombings. Few people, however, fully opt to think and probe the reason why Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered such attacks in the first place. This has hindered Japan from reflecting upon its responsibility for the war.

Nor has there been due attention paid to victims in neighboring countries who cannot forget the atrocities the Japanese aggressors once committed or due condemnation for Japan's crimes of invasion and aggression before and during WWII.

Instead, the administration of Prime Minster Shinzo Abe is more interested in highlighting the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while ignoring the suffering of the countries that it brutalized before and during World War II.

Japan is, once again, trying to downplay its role as an aggressor and attempting to portray itself as a victim.

The rabidness of Japanese militarists during WWII is the fundamental reason the two cities were vaporized into mushroom clouds.

Even facing certain failure, Japanese militarists rejected the Potsdam Proclamation in 1945, because in their eyes the lives of civilians were irrelevant in comparison to their wild ambitions.

The tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with the heinous crimes the IJA committed in other countries, are both horrid examples of what frenzied militarism can result in.

Instead of admitting to war crimes, right-wing politicians in Japan are now keen on taking advantage of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings by claiming that Japan made such a great sacrifice in order to liberate Asia from colonial rule by Western powers.

At the time of commemorating the atomic bombings, right-wing forces in Japan, who owe a heartfelt apology to Asian neighbors victimized by fascist island country's brutal aggression and colonial rule during WWII, show no remorse or choose to reflect upon their nation's war past.

All peace-loving people should heighten vigilance against Japanese rightists' evil intentions and encourage them too, to honestly reflect on Japan's past militaristic wrongdoings.

As the only country in the world to be the target of atomic bombs, Japan has been extremely sensitive to "nuclear" issues. However, nowadays, some Japanese politicians are openly calling for Japan to acquire nuclear weapons.

Japan's huge stockpile of weapons-grade nuclear material and the government's statement in April that using nuclear weapons is not against its constitution have put its neighbors, especially China and South Korea, on edge.

Another dangerous signal is that Abe did not mention Japan's long-held Three Non-Nuclear Principles of not possessing, not producing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons on its soil in his speech at the Hiroshima ceremony last year, the first time for a Japanese prime minister to make such an omission since 1994.

The author is a writer with the Xinhua News Agency. The article first appeared on Xinhua.  opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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