Shinzo Abe is, in many ways, the leader that Japan needs. His so-called three arrows of economic reform - fiscal, monetary and structural - while still in mid-air, at least took the right aim. He may not be a feminist, but he tries to promote women in politics and the workplace. Compared with China's imperious leader Xi Jinping , he is much more open. But he is also a fervent nationalist. Make no mistake, here lies his deep dark core. In recent weeks, Abe government has stepped up its all-out assault on the historical record of sexual slavery maintained by the Japanese imperial army across Asia both before and during the second world war.. Last month, with no hint of irony, his government sent Kuni Sato, Japan's top diplomat on human rights, to New York to pressure the main author of a 1996 report on Korean and other women forced to work in Japanese military brothels to retract some of its conclusions. But the author, Radhika Coomaraswamy, a former UN special rapporteur on violence against women, refused. Last year, before his promotion, when he was still a spokesman for the foreign ministry, the same Sato spoke out against a plan to erect a monument to South Korean "comfort women" in the city of Glendale near Los Angeles. In 2012, before Abe became prime minister a second time, he was part of a group of powerful Japanese politicians who protested against a plan for a similar memorial for those victims put forward by the local Korean community living in the US state of New Jersey. Last month, Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party appointed Hirofumi Nakasone, a former foreign minister, as chairman of a commission to restore Japan's honour on the second world war sex slave issue. It is probably no coincidence that Nakasone is the son of former prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone. As a naval officer, by his own account, the senior Nakasone pioneered one of the first military brothels, in Borneo. Like "Holocaust fatigue", many people thought the "comfort women" issue was ancient history, cynically dug up by Beijing to beat Japan whenever it wanted. That may be so. But just because you distrust China doesn't mean Japan should get a free pass on rewriting its shameful past.