WW2 Eastern frontier main battle: China’s V-day parade 2015


Xi takes group photos with foreign guests ahead of V-Day parade Chinese President Xi Jinping took group photos with foreign leaders, government representatives and leading officials of international and regional organizations ahead of a V-Day parade on Thursday morning.

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China holds parade, vows peace on war anniversary

Staged a grand parade on Thursday in Tian’anmen Square to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) and the end of World War II, China attracted the world’s attention by showing the aspiration for peace and its determination to safeguard post-war international order.

President Xi Jinping delivered a speech before the parade to call people to commemorate the hard-won peace after years of bloody war that had inflicted heavy losses on China and other countries.

China holds parade, vows peace on war anniversary
Scan the code and check China Daily’s up-to-date full coverage of China’s V-Day parade.

In honoring all the Chinese who perished in the war and those who have contributed to the victory in the deadly conflicts with Japan, the parade is a tribute to history and a call for peace, Xi said.

But he warned that the world is far from tranquil although peace and development have become the prevailing trend.

War is the sword of Damocles that still hangs over mankind. We must learn the lessons of history and dedicate ourselves to peace, he said.

Ravaging through Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania, that war inflicted over 100 million military and civilian casualties. China suffered over 35 million casualties and the Soviet Union lost more than 27 million lives, Xi said.

The victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression is the first complete victory won by China in its resistance against foreign aggression in modern times.

This great triumph re-established China as a major country in the world and opened up bright prospects for the great renewal of the Chinese nation, Xi said.

Xi vowed that China will never seek hegemony or expansion no matter how much stronger it may become. He said the country will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, inspected the troops after the speech.

On the Tian’anmen Square, Xi and the first lady Peng Liyuan welcomed honored guests, including 30 national leaders, to watch the parade which involved more than 12,000 military personel as well as veterans and their descendants. Seventeen foreign military teams also took part.

Leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of the Republic of Korea Park Geun-hye, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moom witnessed the historical event.

1779 overseas Chinese from more than 120 countries and regions were invited, 5 of them were invited to watch the parade from the Tian’anmen Rostrum, including Chinese American physicist Paul Chu, and business tycoon Lucio Tan.

Opened with a helicopter flying by parading the national flag, the march past lasted for about 50 minutes. 20 military helicopters flew overhead forming the figure 70 to mark the 70th anniversary commemorations. Seven fighter jets flew past, making the world’s longest colored vapor trail.

After more than 300 veterans, including Kuomingtang veterans, and their descendants passed by in two vehicle formations, eleven formations of Chinese troops marched past, including 51 female honor guards. It was the first time female honor guards have joined a parade. More than 50 generals, with an average age of 53, leaded parade units.

Seventeen formations of foreign troops from 17 countries including Russia and Pakistan, marched past, before twenty-seven formations of armaments paraded.

This was the first time foreign military teams join in a Chinese military parade.

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf

More than 500 pieces of China’s latest equipment were displayed, 84 percent of which have never been viewed by the public, many of which are among the world’s most advanced.

The navy displayed its latest anti-ship missiles, ship-to-air missiles and carrier-based aircraft, while the air force brought long-range bombers, fighters and airborne early warning and control (AEWC) aircraft.

The armaments on display also included the army’s newest helicopter gunships and battle tanks as well as intermediate-range conventional and strategic ballistic missiles from the Second Artillery Force.

The events ended with 10 air force formations flying over the square and doves and balloons being released.

China has held 15 military parades since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. In 1999 and 2009, grand military parades were held to celebrate the country’s 50th and 60th founding anniversary. This was the first parade not held on China’s National Day.

As it is an international convention to hold a parade to mark the victory day, China held the grand event with a theme of “remember history, cherish the memory of China’s revolutionary martyrs, uphold peace and create the future”.

By PENG YINING in Tian’anmen square (chinadaily.com.cn)

Obama’s absence at parade costs US chance to display leadership

Tomorrow, China will be holding a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in the World Anti-Fascist War. Dozens of global leaders or their special envoys have arrived in Beijing, save for US President Barack Obama or his high-level representative, who could have been a guest of honor at the ceremony.

The absence of the US president at such an important event is a pity. Washington’s move has also affected most Western European leaders, who decided to follow the US’ lead.

But Washington compromised, and will send US Ambassador to China Max Baucus to the parade, a gesture to show that the US will be present at the event. Washington clearly doesn’t want the absence of Obama or his high-level envoy to turn into media fodder.

While it is a pity, Obama’s absence will hardly affect Sino-US relations. Still, as former allies, China and the US have lost a chance to celebrate the victory they achieved together. How they fought side by side 70 years ago continues to be cherished by the Chinese, and the memory of that time has helped nurture a favorable impression of the US.

Geopolitics remains central to Washington’s decision-making process, and weighs heavily on US diplomatic policy. However, calculated moves do not always lead to a better decision. Washington’s ambivalence to Beijing’s invitation has cost itself a chance to display leadership across the Pacific Ocean, regardless of trivial gamesmanship and bickering in the region. The US seems unable to look at the big picture: The parade in Beijing is a righteous cause.

It is not hard to figure out why Obama or a special envoy will be absent. To some extent, the reasons are understandable. First, the US simply wants to show its support to Japan, which strongly opposes the parade and imagines itself as the target of the event. Second, the US dislikes such large parades in a non-Western country, considering it “muscle-flexing.” Third, as the US election approaches, presidential candidates try to earn brownie points with the electorate through China-bashing. The political climate in the US might have made Obama think twice.

To be honest, China never expected Obama to attend. But his “remedial work,” by asking Baucus to attend on his behalf, is weak.

Many China watchers have differing takes on the US’ attitude toward China’s parade. Some believe Baucus’ presence reaffirms an agreement between China and the US that both countries have no animosity towards each other. But some think Obama’s absence is much more complicated.

The Chinese have learned how to deal with narrow-mindedness, so they don’t actually mind whether Obama or a high-level official from Washington will attend. China’s open mind will help steer both countries away from unnecessary disputes

Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2015-9-2 21:11:50

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Abe Statement: Apology, Abapology or Abomb? Crafty rhetoric, insincere politics


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a statement in Tokyo on Friday marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. He acknowledged Japan had inflicted “immeasurable damage and suffering” on innocent people but said generations not involved in the conflict should not be burdened with continued apologies. TORU HANAI/REUTERS

BEIJING, Aug. 14 — As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe releases an official statement later Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of his country’s surrender at the end of World War II (WWII), he is standing at a critical crossroad.

Upon such a highly symbolic and closely watched occasion, Abe has a choice to make, and there is only one way that will lead him and his nation closer to the “normal country” dream he has so frequently shouted from the rooftops.

Choosing a wrong course — or keeping going astray, given his record on the sensitive history issue — will undoubtedly carry the second-term prime minister further away from a legacy in nation-building he so desperately needs, as his signature “Abenomics” is losing sizzle.

Any statement that flagrantly flouts the true history and fails to repent Japan’s WWII atrocities would be tantamount to Abe dropping a bomb upon his country’s international reputation and trustworthiness.

Such an “Abomb” would be particularly sad, as its sole victim would be Japan itself, Abe’s motherland, which is the only country in the world that has been A-bombed and still in the healing.

It would also be extraordinarily irresponsible and destructive, not only because its shock waves would blow the chances for his “normal country” ambition to come true anytime soon, but because its fallout would further ail Japan’s already morbid ties with its neighbors and stoke regional tensions.
If Abe possesses any reasonable level of sobriety, he will not throw an “Abomb” at his own country. Rather, judging from the trial balloons he has released of late, a more likely scenario is that the canny nationalist would offer an adulterated apology.

An “Abapology” — mentioning such key words as aggression and apology but placing them in a context that waters down their meaning, or releasing nuanced versions in different languages — would be regrettable.

Such a half-hearted apology would once again reveal Abe’s deep reluctance to face up to his country’s wartime crimes and take on the noble responsibility on his shoulders in seriously reflecting on the past in order to usher Japan into a world-assuring future.

A muddle-through approach of that kind would be not only unworthy of the great significance of the historic juncture, but indicative of a conspicuous lack of political and historical calcium, which explains to a large extent why Japan remains an “abnormal” country 70 years after WWII.

The only right way forward is for Abe to stop his rightist slide and provide a proper and unalloyed apology — explicit enough to demonstrate heartfelt remorse and a resolve to abandon his erstwhile troublesome attitude toward WWII history and help dispel the specter of distrust between his country and its neighbors.

Yet should history be any guide, even an apparently whole-hearted apology from Abe would not be enough. It is the least he should do. To realize his “normal country” dream and restore Japan’s standing on the world stage, he has to follow up with concrete actions.

By Deng Yushan (Xinhua)

Crafty rhetoric, insincere politics 

(China Daily)

A very cleverly worded speech. An impressive play of the words. That’s about everything we could say about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest statement on his country’s unseemly record in World War II.

Abe didn’t seem to deviate much from the well-received benchmark statement in 1995 by then Japanese prime minister Tomiichi Murayama. And the key points of that historic speech, including “aggression”, “colonial rule”, “remorse” and “apology”, did find their way into his speech, though with abundant ambiguity.

For many in his audience, his expression of “heartfelt gratitude” to those who have been tolerant of his country and helped it return to the international community might be an unexpected bonus – not unlike his pledge to “squarely face the history of the past”. That could be why some believe Abe has delivered more than what had been anticipated, given the discrepancies among its versions in different languages.

That East Asia just got around a potentially explosive occasion that could have escalated tensions is itself something to celebrate. For Japan’s vigilant neighbors, however, whether or not Abe included the salient points of the Murayama Statement in his speech is not just a touchstone to gauge his attitude toward history, but the bottom line as well. Once that line is crossed, Japan’s deteriorating ties with neighboring China and the Republic of Korea will slide past a point of no return, at least during Abe’s term in office.

Abe knows what will come next. So, even after provoking neighboring countries no end, he waved olive branches at them requesting meetings at the highest level. He is yet to get one, precisely because of his betrayal of the Murayama Statement’s spirit.

By incorporating the key expressions of that milestone statement, Abe may effectively silence some of his critics, whose latest demand was that his statement include the core Murayama expressions.

But make no mistake, he didn’t present an apology of his own. He merely stated the obvious truth that earlier Japanese cabinets had expressed “heartfelt” apologies for the atrocities committed by imperial Japan.

It would be naive to think the tensions paralyzing East Asia will thus be gone. That Abe didn’t cross the Rubicon, at best, means he was aware of the dire consequences of doing so and avoided it. And, that tremendous public pressure from home and abroad forced him to squeeze those words into his speech doesn’t mean he actually meant it.

Rhetoric counts when dealing with Japanese politicians, for whom whether or not the Abe statement includes those key words makes a difference. Japanese politicians’ infamous tradition of “slip of the tongue”, however, makes it even more important to see how they act.

Abe’s track record belies his claims of commitment to peace and good neighborly relations. That Abe and his advisers had reportedly struggled over whether or not to include Murayama’s expressions, that the ruling parties had not agreed on the exact use of the expressions in the final transcript until the very last moment, that Abe managed to avoid directly referring to Japan’s war as one of aggression and some of the perished Japanese as war criminals, and that his words became evasive when it came to Japan’s colonial rule and the “comfort women” issue all betrayed a sense of reluctance.

Needless to say, reading between the lines of the Murayama Statement and Abe’s speech even a casual reader can feel the difference in tones. In contrast to Murayama’s sincerity, Abe seemed eager to shut out the past, though its sophisticated wording did hit the sentimental sweet spot at some points. But that will not be possible until Abe acts sincerely to achieve real reconciliation.

Therefore, even after weathering an otherwise imminent crisis, East Asia will continue to struggle in the long shadow of history.

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Sorry is the hardest word for Abe


Abe

The news that the “draft of Abe’s statement contains an ‘apology'” made the headlines all day on Japanese broadcaster NHK on Monday. According to the report, the statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday will also include key expressions used in the 1995 statement by then-prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, including “apology,” “deep remorse,” “aggression” and “colonial rule.” This is so far the first report released saying that Abe’s speech will cover this positive content.

Yet over the past few days, a number of Japanese media have been quoting a variety of inside information saying that Abe’s remarks will not include terms like “apology.” As the day that marks Japan’s defeat in WWII approaches, how Abe will talk about it has been placed under global public scrutiny.

Abe’s statement will reflect the future path of the country. If he only reflects on the wartime past but tries to blur the nature of the war by refusing to apologize, or avoiding mention of “aggression,” the nation will face serious doubts over whether it is planning to ditch peaceful development, and means to reshape the political and historical pattern that formed after the war.

Abe has always been beating about the bush, trying to lower the world’s anticipation of him echoing the spirit of the Murayama Statement. Not long ago, his cabinet voted through revisions of the country’s security rules, which has triggered quite a few domestic protests. His domestic support rate has tumbled sharply, causing him unprecedented pressure since he assumed office as prime minister for the second time.

Abe might compromise, and add those key words from the 1995 Statement. Yet this is not as certain as a compromise to political pressure, rather than his own moral and political responsibility. His historical revisionism is known by all, and opportunism is universally considered as his main principle to adjust strategies over historical issues. Hence, there is a good chance that he may rewrite his statement draft at the last minute.

Accordingly, instead of the real historical recognition by Abe’s administration, the speech will more likely mirror Abe’s scheming and calculating among all the pros and cons in the power structure of the Asia-Pacific region.

Even so, a statement that can be accepted by the international community is still worth welcoming.

Abe’s political logic is weird. He should realize that the US is Japan’s biggest obstacle on the path toward becoming a “normal state.” But he won’t let go of the rivalry with China. Some suspect that Tokyo is eager to stay in the good graces of Washington, letting its guard down and seeking a chance to get rid of its control. However, Japan is unable to make that work.

Abe will find that his ability falls short of his wishes over his strategy in the Western Pacific. We hope he will make the right choice for his statement, whatever the reasons. And history will judge him fairly.

– Global Times

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Japan security bills, Abe fans anti-China flames with defense paper


By Li Feng

Abe fans anti-China flames with defense paper

People hold placards during a rally against Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration and his security-related legislation in front of the parliament building in Tokyo July 15, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

The Japanese Cabinet on Tuesday approved its annual defense white paper, in which it accuses China of raising regional tensions in the East China Sea and South China Sea. China’s Ministry of Defense expressed strong dissatisfaction and opposition toward the 429-page document later the same day, saying it “tarnishes the image of China’s military” and deliberately plays up the “China threat” theory. Comments:

By defaming China as a regional security threat in its defense white paper, the Japanese administration led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is clearly aiming to add necessity and legitimacy to the new security bills, which breach Japan’s pacifist Constitution, and complicate Asia-Pacific security issues such as the South China Sea disputes. It will be unfortunate for both Japan and East Asia if Abe remains adamant on challenging China.

Xinhua News Agency, July 21

Japan’s defense white paper for 2015 is not conducive to safeguarding peace and stability in East Asia. The so-called threat is not from China but Japan itself.

Kamakura Takao, an emeritus professor of Saitama University, Japan, July 21

Two new implications in Japan’s latest defense white paper should be noted. First, the document is in line with the new security bills that Abe is trying to muscle through, offering excuses for the country’s overseas military deployment. Second, as a non-stakeholder in the South China Sea issues, Tokyo may propose to participate in the US patrols in the area to expand its regional presence, and, of course, conduct more overseas military operations. It is a dangerous move that other regional powers should pay close attention to.

Qian Feng, vice-president of Asia Times, July 22

In the past, Japan used to see the Soviet Union and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as the top threats. Now China has become the No 1 “threat”. Confronted with the “unexpected” opposition to his security bills in Japan, Abe has resorted to the defense white paper to defuse public rage and convince peace-loving Japanese that the bills’ passage is necessary.

Ny Huang Dahui, director of the East Asia Research Center of Renmin University of China, July 21

Source: Asia News Network/China Daily

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Milestone for tech firm: Toray Group starts production of battery film at new division in Penang


Toray Battery film Penang openingRed letter day: (From left) Hagiwara, Lim and Toray Battery Separator Film Co Ltd president O. Inoue checking out Penfibre products used in electronic tools during the opening of the division.

'TORAY'Innovation by ChemistryPenfibre Sdn Bhd has launched its Battery Separator Film (BSF) division in Bayan Lepas, Penang. The company is a member of  Toray Group in Malaysia and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toray Industries, Inc

Penfibre Sdn Bhd managing director K. Kurokawa said the company obtained its International Procurement Centre licence last year to process and market BSF in Penang.

“Located at our sister company’s premises Penfabric in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, the RM15mil BSF project was smoothly completed last year despite extensive renovation work.

“Commercial production started early this year,” he said in his speech during the opening of the BSF division at the Equatorial Hotel recently.

He added that the division was capable of producing a high value-added BSF trademark under the name of Setela for supply to regional buyers for use in lithium batteries.

Toray Industries Inc senior vice president S. Hagiwara said Toray was a leading global supplier of polyester film, commanding a combined global market share of about 20%.

Toray produces and sells many types of films under the trademark ‘Lumirror’. They are used in a wide range of applications.

“To date, we have established sound manufacturing and delivery systems at six major bases worldwide in Japan, the United States, France, Korea, China and Malaysia,” said Hagiwara.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Toray was now one of the single largest investors in Penang and Malaysia.

“Thank you to Toray for providing thousands of job opportunities for Malaysians over the last four decades,” he said.

He said Penang’s approved manufacturing investments increased to RM8.2bil last year, which is a 109% increase from RM3.9bil in 2013.

“This made Penang the state with the highest investment after Johor and Sarawak,” he said.

He added that total investments in Penang increased to RM48.2bil from 2008 to 2014.

Lim also commended Toray Group (Malaysia) for their contributions via several corporate social responsibility programmes.

These included providing the RM6mil electronic scoreboard at Batu Kawan Stadium in 1999 and setting up the Malaysia Toray Science Foundation in 1993 and the Toray USM Knowledge Transfer Centre with a donation of RM4mil.

Toray also contributed RM300,000 towards the Tech-Dome Penang project recently.- The Starmetro

THE OPENING OF PENFIBRE BATTERY SEPARATOR FILM (BSF) DIVISION

SPEECH BY YAB TUAN LIM GUAN ENG THE RIGHT HONORABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE LUNCHEON HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE OPENING OF PENFIBRE BATTERY SEPARATOR FILM (BSF) DIVISION
ON 23RD APRIL 2015 AT HOTEL EQUATORIAL, PENANG

Good afternoon.

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to attend this luncheon, held in conjunction with the official opening of the Battery Separator Film Division at Penfibre this morning.

On behalf of the government and people of Penang, I would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to Toray for another milestone in your business expansion, particularly in the State of Penang.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From a humble beginning where Toray Industries Inc., Japan first invested in Penang in 1973, we are proud to see that TORAY Group (Malaysia) has grown and expanded tremendously over the last 40 over years. With approximately RM4.5 billion investment to date and annual sales revenue of over RM4.1 billion from Penfibre, Penfabric, Toray Plastics (Malaysia) and Toray BASF PBT Resin, Toray is now one of the single largest investors in Penang and Malaysia. Thank you to Toray for providing thousands of job opportunities to our Malaysians over the last 4 decades.

Penang’s approved manufacturing investments increased to RM 8.2 billion in year 2014 compared to RM 3.9 billion in year 2013, a significant 109% increased. This made Penang the top 3 State with the highest investment, after Johor and Sarawak. Total investments in Penang has increased 93.6% to RM48.2 billion for the seven years period of 2008 to 2014, compared to the previous seven years period of 2001 to 2007 which was only RM24.9 billion. The jobs created has also increased 20.1% to 109,592 compared to 91,252 for the same period.

Going forward, it is important for Penang to stress on establishing Penang as a centre of science and technology through the Tech-Dome Penang project. Supported by our strong commitment to the Penang Government’s CAT policy, which stresses on “Competency”, “Accountability” and “Transparency”, it is our fervent hope that the bond and cooperation between all stakeholders will bring about a better tomorrow for every one of us.

I am happy to note that TORAY Group (Malaysia) has never failed in coming forward to support our nation building, through the various community projects under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), namely:

• the RM2.5 Million Seberang Jaya Swimming Pool Complex in 1982,

• the RM6.0 Million Electronic Scoreboard at Batu Kawan Stadium in 1999,

• the establishment of the Malaysia Toray Science Foundation (MTSF) in 1993 to promote science and technology in Malaysia,

• the setting up of the “TORAY-USM KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER CENTRE” with a donation of RM4.0 Million to Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), and

• the recent cash contribution of RM300 thousand towards the Tech-Dome Penang project.

In conclusion, I would like to once again congratulate Toray for having successfully established this new BSF Division in Penang. I am confident that Toray Group will enjoy even greater success in your future endeavors.

Thank you.

Chief Minister of Penang – Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang

Remembering the legacy of Bandung, Sandakan death and Hiroshima bombing


THIS year marks the 60th anniversary of the historic Bandung Conference
and the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
 A copy of the final “atomic bomb” leaflet, I think? I don’t read Japanese, but this was attached to the above memo. If you do read Japanese, I’d love a translation. Please ignore my thumb in the corner — it’s hard to photograph documents that are bound like these ones were.  http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2013/04/26/a-day-too-late/

In order to commemorate the past, a series of conferences and events have been held, the most recent being the Afro-Asian Conference hosted by Indonesia President Jokowi this week. The first Bandung Conference was called by the first Indonesia President Sukarno in April 1955 among newly independent Asian and African nations, beginning what was later known as the Non-Aligned Movement against colonialism. Twenty-nine countries participated, representing 1.5 billion people or just over half of the world’s population. It was the first time that leaders of these countries met to discuss their future after the end of colonialism.

The conference was historic because it was attended not only by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, but also Egyptian President Gamal Nasser, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, Muhammad Ali Jinnah of Pakistan, U Nu of Burma, Nkrumah of Ghana and Tito of Yugoslavia, all giants not only in their countries, but makers of history in the 20th century.

The United States did not attend because it was not sure whether it sided with the European colonial powers or its new role as an ex-colony liberating the world.

The Bandung Conference was a conference of hope that the newly independent nations would build themselves into a zone of peace, prosperity and stability. On the whole, despite some failures, they succeeded. By 2013, these countries together have a GDP of US$21.2 trillion or 28.1% of world GDP, significantly improved compared with their share of less than one-fifth of world GDP in 1955.

Aug 6, 2015 will also mark the 70th anniversary of the horrific atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which led to the end of World War Two on the Pacific side.

Lest we forget, World War Two was a horrific period, since the world lost between 50 million and 80 million people or 3% of world population. Japan lost 2-3 million during that war, but the rest of Asia suffered estimated losses of up to 10 times that number.

Even though memories are fading, there is still a generation who remembered the hardships and atrocies of war, from personal experience of family being killed, bombed or flight as refugees. Even a remote country like Australia could not escape that war. Australian soldiers fought heroically in Kokoda Trail to repell the Japanese invasion of Papua New Guinea in 1942. If not stopped, Australia could have fallen to Japanese hands, changing the course of history.

Image result for sandakan death marchBut the 625 Australian deaths defending the Kokoda Trail paled in comparison to the Sandakan Death March, in which 2,345 Australian prisoners of war died marching from their prisoner of war camp in Sandakan across primitive jungle in Sabah. Only six Australians survived those marches in early 1945, only because they escaped. One in 12 of every Australian who perished in the war died in that death march.

My impressions of this incident are indelible, growing up in Sandakan and following the trail across Sabah on a road built by the Australians to commemorate their dead. It fascinated me that man could be that cruel to other human beings to send them across the virgin jungle without food to certain death.

On June 9, 2014, when Japanese Prime Minister Shintaro Abe addressed the Australian parliament, he did mention Kokoda and Sandakan. In it, he did not offer an apology, but he did sent his “most sincere condolences towards the many souls who lost their lives.” This was very Japanese English, because one gives condolences to the living, not the dead.

Image result for Hitler's Abe imagesIn the Afro-Asian Conference this week in Bandung, he rephrased his words as follows, “Japan, with feelings of deep remorse over the past war, made a pledge to remain a nation always adhering to those very principles (of Bandung) throughout, no matter what the circumstances.”

We note that he is already shifting the official Japanese view on the war from his predecessors Murayama and Koizumi, who offered “deep remorse and heartfelt apology,” in their statements about the war in the 1995 and 2005 anniversaries respectively.

I always thought that the difference between remorse and shame is one that differentiates Western and Asian values. A remorse is a feeling of regret that something has happened but there is no sense of guilt. Shame is a feeling you have injured someone else and you feel guity about it, and you want to make amends.

There is a sharp difference between the German and Japanese attitudes. Seventy years after the war, the German courts are going to try the 93-year old “bookkeeper of Auschwitz”, whereas the Japanese are still revising their history books on what really happened.

What makes Abe’s “deep remorse” poignant is that he is a leader of a faction that wants to re-arm Japan by changing its constitution and he regularly visited or sent ritual offerings to the Yasukuni shrine, which contains the shrines for 14 class A war criminals. Even the Japanese emperor has not visited Yasukuni after these enshrinements.

Most Asians like myself have great respect for Japan, but feel uneasy that the Japanese are beginning to whitewash their role in the war. The Yasukuni shrine has an accompanying museum that seems to suggest not only that the Nanking massacre did not occur, but that US actions to deny Japan energy resources pushed it into war. But these do not explain why Japan invaded China in 1937.

On the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War, will the US leader express an apology or remorse for bombing Nagasaki or Hiroshima? If the Japanese want to understand how the rest of Asia feels about its actions during World War Two, just changing the history book will not solve the deep sense of injustice that war brought to the region. Could those who died or suffered during that period appeal to the rule of law that Abe-san so proudly proclaim today?

All of us want to move on, but not through denying the past. As the philosopher Santayana said, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Think Asian by Andrew Sheng

 President of Fung Global Institute
http://ineteconomics.org/people/andrew-sheng
Sheng is Malaysian Chinese. He grew up in British North Borneo (todaySabah, Malaysia). He left Malaysia in 1965 to attend the University ofBristol in England, where he studied economics.

Datuk Seri Panglima Andrew Sheng (born 1946) is a Distinguished Fellow of Fung Global Institute, a Hong Kong based global think tank. He started his career as an accountant. He served as Chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) before his replacement by Martin Wheatley in 2005.

THE AUTHOR IS CHIEF ADVISOR TO THE CHINA BANKING REGULATORY COMMISSION, A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF MALAYSIA’S KAZANAH NASIONAL BHD AND A MEMBER OF THE INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY PANEL TO THE AUSTRALIAN TREASURY’S FINANCIAL SYSTEM INQUIRY

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German Chancellor: Japan needs honesty to improve relations with victims of World War II


Angela Merkel: I think history and experience tell us also that peaceful means of reconciliation have to be found

TOKYO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded into the fraught area of wartime forgiveness during a visit to Japan, saying that “facing history squarely” and “generous gestures” are necessary to mend ties.

Merkel was speaking in Tokyo on March 9 2015 ahead of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, in which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative views on Tokyo’s war crimes are under scrutiny, and as China and South Korea continue to call for more contrition.

“Germany was lucky to be accepted into the community of nations after the horrible experience the world had to meet with Germany during the period of National Socialism (Nazism) and the Holocaust,” she said.

“This was possible first because Germany did face its past squarely, but also because the Allied Powers who controlled Germany after WWII would attach great importance to Germany coming to grips with its past.

“One of the great achievements of the time certainly was reconciliation between Germany and France … the French have given just as valuable a contribution as the Germans have.”

Relations between Japan and its wartime victims China and South Korea are at a low point, with Beijing and Seoul both calling for Tokyo to do more to atone for its past.

Nationalists in Japan say Tokyo has apologised enough and that the constant references to WWII are covering flak for governments in China and South Korea seeking to direct popular anger elsewhere.

There were “great minds and great personalities who said we ought to adopt a policy of rapprochement … and without these generous gestures by our neighbours this would not have been possible,” Merkel told her audience.

The public lecture came on the first day of a two-day trip to Tokyo, her first in seven years.

Abe visited Germany last year.

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday said Abe would be welcome at Beijing’s commemorations of the end of WWII if he was “sincere” about history.

Beijing has not given a specific date for the parade but it regards Sept 3, the day after Japan signed its formal surrender to Allied forces on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, as victory day.

“It’s difficult for me as the German chancellor to give you advice on how to deal with part of your neighbourhood. But I think history and experience tell us also that peaceful means of reconciliation have to be found,” Merkel said in response to questions.

Merkel’s visit to Japan is part of her swing through G7 member nations before Germany hosts the group’s next summit in June. She has already visited the other five nations.

The visit, her third to Japan in almost 10 years in office, is seen as a balancing act between Germany’s ties with Beijing and Tokyo. She has been to China seven times during the same period.

Thanking Japan for joining Western powers in imposing sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Ukraine, Merkel said: “Japan and Germany share common interests whenever the strengthening of the international rule of law is to be brought about.” — AFP

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