Abe's denial of Potsdam Proclamation no good for Japan's image

Updated: 2015-05-21 16:00


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BEIJING - The latest remarks by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refusing to recognize the rule of the Potsdam Proclamation will do no good to his country's international image.

When faced with a request for comment on the Potsdam Proclamation, which accelerated the end of the WWII and established the war Japan waged over 70 years ago is an aggression war, the prime minister rejected to give any comment and claimed that he did not notice this part in the proclamation.

He also declined to comment on whether the war was right or wrong.

China, the United States and Britain declared the Potsdam Proclamation on July 26 in 1945, urging Japan to surrender and demanding it follow the Cairo Declaration published in 1943. The two documents constitute the cornerstone of the post-war international order.

Abe may have his personal views on this document, which was issued almost a decade before he was born. However, as the prime minister of Japan, he should at least have the knowledge that such documents, which safeguard the post-war order and had been accepted by Japan at the time, should be recognized if he believes Japan is a responsible and reliable country, rather than a trouble-maker, in international society.

It is not the first time the prime minister has shown his reluctance to abide by the post-war order, from visits to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors 14 Class-A war criminals to the revision of the country's pacifist constitution. These actions have not only challenged the international consensus, but also undermined the credibility of his own country.

Moreover, such moves have taken the opinions of Japanese citizens hostage, most of whom cherish peace with good faith.

Abe's repeated refusal to reflect on Japan's wartime crimes has already triggered ire and criticism from both home and abroad. It is time for the prime minister to think carefully about the way he and his administration can protect the image of Japan, a country that boasts a time-honored tradition of faithfulness and the concept of "kizuna", or affectionate bonds with others.

The question is not difficult to answer: To face up to one's previous wrongs and avoid further transgressions, as well as efforts to keep one's own word, should be a basic requirement for a country, a state leader and an ordinary person.