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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion -> 
Abe’s watered-down apology fails sincerity test
    2015-08-17  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Tian Dongdong

    BY mentioning the Japanese Government’s previous apologies in his WWII anniversary statement Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hoped to take a step forward toward reconciliation with his country’s neighbors.

    Yet given the carefully calibrated context into which he has embedded those too-fundamental-to-avoid terms, the apology was a diluted one at best, thus marking only a crippled start to building trust among Japan’s neighbors.

    Closely watched both at home and abroad, Abe trod a fine line with linguistic tricks, attempting to please his rightwing base on the one hand and avoid further damage to Japan’s ties with its neighbors on the other.

    In a statement released one day ahead of Saturday’s 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Abe did mention the awaited keywords: “aggression,” “apology,” “colonial rule” and “deep remorse.”

    But he mentioned them in quotes or summaries, without directly stating his own ideas.

    The watered-down statement, in essence, is retrogression from the 1995 statement by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, which bravely and honestly admitted Japan’s war past and expressed “deep remorse” and a “heartfelt apology” for its war crimes.

    Instead of offering an unambiguous apology, Abe’s statement is rife with rhetorical twists like “maintain our position of apology,” dead giveaways of his deep-rooted historical revisionism that has haunted Japan’s neighborhood relations.

    In some parts of the speech, he tried to retell history without facing squarely the fact that Japan started the war.

    “In countries that fought against Japan, countless lives were lost among young people with promising futures. In China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands and elsewhere that became battlefields, numerous innocent citizens suffered and fell victim in battles,” Abe said.

    On another closely watched issue of “comfort women,” Abe superficially touched on the point, saying those women’s dignity and honor were severely injured during wars in the 20th century without pointing out Japan’s responsibilities for the damage.

    By adding that it is unnecessary for Japan’s future generations to keep apologizing, Abe seemed to say that his once-for-all, watered-down apology can close that page of history.

    However, those countries that suffered from Japan’s aggression will never forget that dark period of history, as Japanese will always remember the horrific scenes of atomic-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The toned-down apology is not of much help in eliminating Tokyo’s trust deficit. It fails to firm up — if not serving to undercut further — the credibility the Abe government needs to put Japan’s interaction with its Asian neighbors back on track.

    Thus, the “normal country” dream Abe has long been trumpeting is no closer. The way leading to that goal cannot be paved with reluctance to extend an unalloyed apology for the atrocities committed by imperial Japan.

    Abe should bear in mind that no real reconciliation in East Asia will be possible so long as Tokyo is viewed as a denier of its past crimes, an image he has repeatedly helped forge by, among others, visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and whitewashing Japan’s war past.

    Given Abe’s record on the sensitive history issue, the adulterated apology is far from being enough for Japan’s neighbors and the broader international community to lower their guard.

    (The author is a Xinhua News Agency writer.)

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