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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 April 10 - 16  > Ground Staff Office in its internal document uses the war-glorifying term ‘Greater East Asia’
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2024 April 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

Ground Staff Office in its internal document uses the war-glorifying term ‘Greater East Asia’

April 10 & 14, 2024
Akahata on April 13 learned that the Ground Staff Office in its internal document, which it produced at the beginning of this year, used the phrase “Greater East Asia War” in a positive manner.

This document was submitted by the Ministry of Defense to Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Kokuta Keiji and is “an administrative document systematically shared within the Ground Staff Office.” (State Minister of Defense Oniki Makoto on April 3 at a meeting of the Lower House Committee on Foreign Affairs)

Regarding the phrase “Greater East Asia War,” a GSDF infantry regiment in Saitama City posted on social media a comment using the term in question (Apr.5) and later deleted the post. The regiment on its official X account introduces itself as a unit follwoing the spirit of the Imperial Guard Division of the former Imperial Japanese Army.

Immediately after the outbreak of the Pacific War in December 1941, the then Tojo Cabinet decided to name it the “Greater East Asia War” which encompassed the Sino-Japanese War. The name described East and Southeast Asia as the “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere” and justified Japan’s coronial rule over the region.

GHQ after the war prohibited the use of the term “Greater East Asia” because it was closely related to the wartime “state-sanctioned Shinto system, militarism, and ultra-nationalism.” Since then, Japan has never used the phrase in official documents.

GSDF senior officers and MSDF personnel made a group visit to Yasukuni Shrine in January and February, respectively. During the wartime period, the shrine served as a spiritual mainstay of Japanese militarism. The shrine-owned war museum Yushukan consistently translates the Pacific War into the “Greater East Asia War” and portrays it as a “just war.”

The visits by current SDF officers to Yasukuni Shrine and the use of the expression that glorifies Japan’s past war of aggression are raising concerns among the general public in Japan about a possible return to full-blown militarism.

Past related articles:
> MSDF evades 1974 notice by calling worship of Yasukuni Shrine ‘history learning’ [February 20, 2024]
> GSDF top officers’ visit to Yasukuni Shrine may violate 1974 official notice [January 17, 2024]
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