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Japanese scholars blast Abe's historical revisionism

Updated: 07 08 , 2015 11:02
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TOKYO -- As China marks the 78th anniversary of the Lugou Bridge Incident which marked the start of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, hundreds of renowned Japanese scholars gathered in Tokyo, criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's historical revisionism.

Kamakura Takao, Professor Emeritus of Saitama University, said the Lugou Bridge Incident, also known as the July 7th Incident, signaled the beginning of Japan's full-scale invasion of China. He believed that facing up to history with a right attitude plays a significant role in preventing wars.

Takashima Nobuyoshi, Professor Emeritus of the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, said Japan's historical revisionism appeared in different forms in each historical period from deification of the Japanese emperor before the war to justification of his crimes after the war, from denial of the Nanjing Massacre to revisions of textbooks on history.

"Abe administration's attempt to revise the Murayama Statement is a new form of historical revisionism," he said.

The 1995 statement delivered by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama offered an apology for the suffering and damage caused by Japan's aggression in Asia and laid the cornerstone for peaceful relations with other countries.

Kazutoshi Hando, a prominent 85-year-old writer, said Japan entered into modern history after the Meiji reform, which accelerated Japan's industrialization and led to its rise as a military power by the year 1905.

Japan started its annexation of the Korean Peninsula and the northeastern part of China under the guidance of "attack as a means of defense" strategy adopted by the leaders of that time. Hando said the full-scale invasion of China and the Pacific War proved that Japan couldn't protect itself by attacking others. " The only way to protect Japan is through diplomatic dialogue," he said.

Journalist Aoki Osamu reviewed the status quo of Japanese society's historical revisionism, citing the example of the Asahi Shimbun's false reporting.

He said almost no media apologizes for the errors of articles except the Asahi Shimbun, which was attacked by the rightists since it retracted two stories last year, including one involving the "comfort women" issue.

"This means that the 'comfort women' issue is what the government wants to hide and it is historical revisionism that directed those conservatives to criticize the newspaper," Osamu said.

Historical issues have become a major obstacle for Japan to mend its ties with its neighboring countries including China and South Korea.

Abe is scheduled to release a landmark statement in August on the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II. Whether the prime minister will face up to history and apologize for Japan's wartime atrocities is key to improving relations with the victimized countries.