Asia Pacific
Japan's Abe to revise post-war constitution, stoking fear of militarism
Last Updated:2013-04-28 15:47 |
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By Li Hongmei

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Sunday for a rewnewal of a "sense of hope and determination" in marking for the first time the restoration of Japan's postwar sovereignty, part of a drive to repair what conservatives consider dented national pride.

Abe, a hard-line hawk, wants to revise the post-war, U.S.-drafted pacifist constitution and rewrite Japan's wartime history with a less apologetic tone.

His Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) pledged during the campaign to make April 28 "Restoration of Sovereignty Day", to mark the day in 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect, formally ending World War II.

"I want to make this a day when we can renew our sense of hope and determination for the future," a sombre Abe, 58, told a ceremony in a hall near parliament attended by about 400 officials.

"We have a responsibility to make Japan a strong and resolute country that others across the world can rely on."

The San Francisco Treaty officially declared an end to the war, required Japan to relinquish claims on other countries and territories and determined war compensation.

The prime minister has devoted greater attention in recent weeks to a more hawkish stance on Japanese history ahead of a July upper house election that his ruling bloc needs to win to cement its grip on power.

Abe has defended the visits in the past week by 168 lawmakers to the Yasukuni shrine, which enshrines 14 leading war criminals, stirring outcry of other Asian countries who fell victim to the Japanese aggression during the WWII.

Both China and South Korea, where memories of Japanese military occupation remain fresh, were enraged by the visits. Seoul summoned the Japanese ambassador and cancelled a visit to Tokyo by its foreign minister. China's Foreign Ministry also blasted Abe administration for its blatant defiance of the post-war international order.

Japan has also been embroiled in a territorial dispute with China over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, with Abe last week saying it would be "natural" to use force to repel any Chinese attempt to land on the islands.

Abe has also refused to clarify whether his cabinet endorses a landmark apology for Japan's aggression before and during World War II, issued by a previous government in 1995.

He also wants to change the interpretation of the constitution that has prevented Japan from exercising its right to collective self-defense, or aiding an ally under attack.

All this would definitely stoke fear in the international community over Japan's refueled determination to march toward militarism. Abe's outward expression of military ambitions would upset the entire world and all the peace-loving nations.

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