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`Japanese PM’s attitude on history could hurt U.S. interest`

`Japanese PM’s attitude on history could hurt U.S. interest`

Posted May. 10, 2013 03:18,   


The U.S. Congressional Research Service reported Wednesday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent comments on controversial historical issues could affect regional relations in ways that would also hurt U.S. interests.

In a report titled “Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress” and published Wednesday last week, the congressional institute said, “Comments and actions on controversial historical issues by Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet have raised concern that Tokyo could upset regional relations in ways that hurt U.S. interests. Abe is known as a strong nationalist.”

The research institute noted in the report, “Abe’s approach to issues like the so-called ‘comfort women’ sex slaves from the World War II era, history textbooks, visits to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors Japan’s war dead, and statements on a territorial dispute with South Korea will be closely monitored by Japan’s neighbors as well as the United States.”

Commenting that the Japanese prime minister is also regarded by some observers as a pragmatic politician, the report noted that he did not participate in the “Takeshima Day” to promote Japan’s assertion of sovereignty over Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo (called Takeshima in Japan) and sent an envoy to reach out to the new government in South Korea, raising hopes that relations will not deteriorate significantly.

Meanwhile, Hans-Ulrich Wehler, a renowned German historian and a professor at Bielefeld University, said in an interview with China’s Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday that Japan should learn from German’s efforts to settle its Nazi past in improving ties with its neighbors.

“After the trials of leading war criminals in Nuremberg, the German had their own courts pursue and arrest many Nazi war criminals year after year,” he said. “The Japanese have until now no textbook for their pupils that give a realistic portrait of their war crimes,” he said, adding that Japanese schools should teach their students on the matter.

Citing the case of former German President Richard von Weizsaecker, the 82-year-old historian noted that he believes Japan could reflect upon its past history if a wise politician comes forward.