Shinzo Abe

Historic Abe gesture can heal wounds

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 February, 2017, 4:55pm

I refer to the report ("Abe push to raise defence spending", January 6).

It said the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may make a new statement about the nation's "historical perspective on the second world war".

This would be a review of the 1995 statement by then-premier Tomiichi Murayama, expressing his "feelings of deep remorse" and making a "heartfelt apology" for the "tremendous damage and suffering" resulting from Japan's "colonial rule and aggression".

No amount of apologies in words will heal the wounds in the hearts of the Chinese people regarding the cruelty inflicted upon China by Japanese aggressors in the Sino-Japanese war.

On December 7, 1970, West German chancellor Willy Brandt, while on a goodwill visit to Poland, laid a wreath at the monument commemorating the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against German aggressors in the spring of 1943. He then knelt silently before the monument.

That act alone started to wipe away the hurt in the hearts of the Polish people who suffered at the hands of Nazi Germany in the second world war.

Would Mr Abe consider going to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, in Nanjing, one day?

It would be an appropriate place for him to make Japan's "new apology" speech and afterwards lay a wreath under the monument for all Chinese victims and for those who died in the city at the hands of the Japanese aggressors.

Such an act would start to wipe away the hurt Japan's previous generations inflicted upon Chinese people. Afterwards, if the two countries can find a peaceful solution to the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute, it will bring a true reconciliation between the two peoples.

On the Chinese side, we also need to understand that it was not the Japanese people who wanted to be aggressors. The culprit was the military of Japan, which became a dominant force in Japan after the end of the first world war.

The military assassinated many high-ranking Japanese officials and ministers who were against their policies of aggression. After that, they were able to implement their policies of hegemony.

The Japanese people also suffered under their country's militarism. What the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered was horrendous.

It is time for Beijing and Tokyo to take positive action, instead of mere rhetoric, to pave the way for a real reconciliation between the peoples of China and Japan.

Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui