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May 28, 2017

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PM Abe should apologize for Japan's World War II atrocities

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has a revisionist view of Japan's atrocities during the Second World War, refuses to characterize Japan invading China and other Asian countries as "aggression," asserting that the definition of aggression has yet to be established in academia or in the international community. Except for most Japanese academics, the global academia as well as practically all members of the international community agree that Japan was the aggressor in the Mukden Incident that gave birth to its puppet regime of Manchukuo and in its invasion of China by causing the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937, but Abe does not want to admit the Land of the Rising Sun fought a war of aggression.

One atrocity was forcing women in Taiwan, South Korea and China to serve as "comfort women," or sex slaves, for Japanese troops. Abe hasn't offered the apologies he promised in a statement before the Japanese Diet in 1995.

Well, Tomiichi Murayama, a former prime minister, called on Abe to do so during a visit to Seoul on Feb. 11. While meeting some of the surviving Korean comfort women in Seoul, Murayama urged Abe to live up to his 1995 statement. Abe promised in that statement to inherit the Murayama Statement, together with a similar statement issued in 1993 by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, in which Japan offered sincere apologies for the Japanese wartime atrocities, including the Rape of Nanking and the draft of comfort women. Abe was also urged to make sure that his cabinet members and other high-ranking officials do not make nonsensical remarks that whitewash Japan's wartime atrocities and deviate from the two official apologies. Such comments only anger Taiwan, China, South Korea and the other Asian countries the Japanese Imperial Army invaded.

These Japanese leaders were born after World War II. They do not know what it was like during what Japan calls the Great East Asian War, which began with its sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 8, 1941. They did not sing "I Love Soldiers" while they were kids and do not know what the Japanese soldiers did in the lands they occupied. Neither did they experience the war that was a catastrophe and tragedy for those people conquered as well as for the Japanese themselves.

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