Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Japan’s rightward shift dampens prospects of regional cooperation Abe makes nationalist remarks denying past, repeating claim to Dokdo

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) discusses with Finance Minister Taro Aso at the Upper House‘s budget committee session at the National Diet in Tokyo on Tuesday. (AFP-Yonhap News)
Japan’s rightward political shift is exacerbating historical enmities harbored against it by South Korea and China, further dampening the prospects of regional security and economic cooperation.

This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a series of nationalist remarks that apparently denied his country’s colonial invasion of the Korean Peninsula and repeated a claim to Dokdo.

On the back of more than 70 percent public support buoyed by his economic stimulus policy, the security hawk told a parliamentary session Tuesday that there was “no clear definition of an invasion internationally and academically,” inviting virulent criticism from South Korea and China. 

On the same day, during a forum over territorial sovereignty, Abe stressed, “It is crucial to squarely instill Japan’s position and thoughts (about territorial rows) in the international community.”

As if to highlight the country’s refusal to atone for its past militarism, a group of 168 Japanese lawmakers ― the most in recent memory ― visited the Yasukuni Shrine Tuesday that enshrines its top war criminals. 

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