Only by pursuing peace can Japan emerge from shadow of WWII: Global Times editorial
Published: Jan 14, 2023 12:34 AM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida kicks off his visit to the US and is set to meet with US President Joe Biden on Friday local time. Unlike the routine observed by previous new Japanese prime ministers - paying respects to the US - Kishida has a special mission this time: seeking US support for Japan's newly released national security strategy. 

According to information disclosed by media, the talks between the two will focus on issues including deepening defense cooperation, Japan's plan to acquire intermediate-range and long-range missiles, and increasing the US deployment on Okinawa. A former US government official even blatantly said that the summit would to a large extent be aimed at containing China. The negative move by the US and Japan deviates from the international community's desire for peace and development, and challenges the international order formed after World War II. 

The crucial background to Kishida's visit is the Japanese Cabinet's passing of three key defense documents last month, which include a substantial increase in defense expenditure and the determination to possess "counterstrike" capability. This marks Japan's largest military reform since WWII. 

Of course, Japan is aware that it faces strong moral obstacles in doing so, which means that Kishida's series of visits this time has a strong sense of looking for "foreign support." It can be expected that Kishida's visit to the US will bring three "gifts": Proactively seeking to deepen the Japan-US alliance to show his loyalty to the US' Indo-Pacific strategy; reporting military developments and "anti-China achievements" to the US in exchange for Washington's support for Japan's attempt to break through its exclusive self-defense policy; and continuing to exaggerate the "China threat theory" to cover up its own military expansion and preparations for war.

This will mark a major adjustment of the US-Japan alliance over the past 70 years since WWII. Japan is no longer willing to act just as a "solid shield" but now wants to play the role of a "sharp spear," and the US has given strong support for this.

Before Kishida's visit to the US, the two countries held a "2+2" meeting of the Security Consultative Committee, and "decided to deepen bilateral cooperation toward the effective employment of Japan's counterstrike capabilities in close coordination with the US." Furthermore, Kishida's visits to France, Italy, the UK, Canada and the US have almost exclusively focused on upgrading security cooperation, while economic cooperation has been pushed into an inconspicuous corner. It is worth noting that these five countries are not only G7 countries, but also NATO members. It is not difficult to see that Japan is deliberately wooing NATO to disrupt Asia-Pacific affairs.

Unlike many of the US' allies, which have been coerced into cooperating with Washington's China strategy, Japan has played the role of actively guiding matters, and even "stirring up" and "leading" the issue. But no matter how they play with words, this is just false advertising. Japan wants to abandon the principle of "exclusive defense" and break away from the restrictions of its Peace Constitution. In essence, it wants to subvert the post-war international system and overturn its crimes during WWII.

Japan's strategic impulse and Washington's selfish strategy toward China are birds of a feather, posing unprecedented risks to the Asia-Pacific region and the international community after WWII. The US and Japan keep saying that they want to maintain the "rules-based international order," but what they are actually doing is shaking its foundations. The international community should be highly vigilant against this move by Tokyo and exert strong moral pressure on it, because it is related to the stability of the post-war order, and could fundamentally damage the peaceful development of the Asia-Pacific.

We have noticed that some US media are urging Japan to "be stronger" and emerge from the shadow of WWII. In fact, only by keeping its post-war promises, seriously reflecting on itself and showing remorse, and taking concrete actions to win the trust of its Asian neighbors, can Japan truly come out of this "shadow."

Over the past 70 years, Japan has never completely accepted its defeat, which has become the root of its entanglement. This is incompatible with the consensus of regional countries looking forward to cooperation and opposing confrontation. It is time for Tokyo to realize that in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a highland of cooperation, what is really powerful is not the so-called "spear" or "shield," but the general desire for peace and development.