60th anniversary of outbreak of the Pacific War -- Akahata editorial,
December 8, 2001
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Pacific War.
On December 8, 60 years ago, the Japanese Imperial Army made a surprise
attack on Pearl Harbor and the Malay Peninsula, and escalated the war of
aggression to the whole of the Asia-Pacific region.
The war threw the Japanese and other Asian peoples into unprecedented
tragedies that are beyond description.
This year we remember this odious day as Japan's Self-Defense Forces for
the first time since the end of WWII are taking part in the U.S.-led war,
and SDF ships are supplying and fueling U.S. aircraft and vessels to support
air strikes against Afghanistan causing many casualties.
What Japan must adhere to do
The Koizumi Cabinet and the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties
are trampling the Constitution while reusing to make self-reflections on the
past war of aggression.
In challenging the relevance of Article 9 of the Constitution, Prime
Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro went so far as to say, "Japan's Constitution is
out of step with the rest of the world."
The Koizumi Cabinet has approved a history textbook that glorifies the
war of aggression by describing the Pacific War as a 'Greater East Asia War'
of 'liberation of Asia from rule by Western countries and in defense of
Japan's survival.' This is typical of the Japanese government refusing to
reflect on the war of aggression.
Also, P.M. Koizumi, in complete disregard of protests in Japan and
abroad, paid an official visit to Yasukuni Shrine which had been regarded as
an ideological backbone of the war of aggression.
Japan, following its defeat in WWII, pledged that it will not repeat any
such steps as acts of the government. The war of aggression cannot be
justified even after nearly 60 years.
Under Article 9 of the Constitution, Japan renounced the use of or threat
to use weapons perpetually, tried to eliminate distrust among the world that
Japan might again threaten world peace with its military power, and declared
before the world that it will set an example in the effort to establish a
new international order without wars.
This proposal of Japan's Article 9 calling for solving international
disputes by means other than wars and use of force, shares in great
principle what the United Nations Charter calls for.
Drawing lessons from its war of aggression, Japan has made this call in
line with the international current in the 20th century, with a pioneering
role to push the current.
Now is the time for Japan's Constitution to make a full play to help
eliminate international terrorism and regional disputes.
No country is allowed to unilaterally launch military attacks against
other countries under the pretext that international terrorism is seriously
threatening human existence, and regional disputes can't be easily solved
because of their complexity.
The U.S.-led war against Afghanistan has shown that it is ineffective in
eliminating terrorism but rather is creating a hotbed of hatred and
terrorism, in a manner that will only help aggravate the matter.
Japan, as a country with a constitution renouncing use of force as means
to settle international disputes, has enough reason to take the lead in
calling on the world for the peaceful settlement of the Afghan/terrorism
Stop dispatching SDF units abroad
At the turn of the century, Japan is requested to make a stern reflection
on the war of aggression and avoid repeating past mistakes. This is the
absolute and minimum requirement for Japan to be responsible to the rest of
Japan's genuine contribution to establishing a peaceful and non-military
21st century can only be possible if it makes the utmost use of the
To meet this goal, we must hurry to act to stop dispatching the SDF
abroad in support of U.S. wars as has been pushed by the Koizumi Cabinet.
Now is the time to increase public opinion to defend and make use of the