Japan PM keeps pledge to mark 1952 return of sovereignty

TOKYO Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:06pm EDT

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference next to the national flag, which is hung with a black ribbon as a symbol of mourning for victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, at his official residence in Tokyo March 11, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference next to the national flag, which is hung with a black ribbon as a symbol of mourning for victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, at his official residence in Tokyo March 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuya Shino

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government decided on Tuesday to hold a ceremony to mark the restoration of Japan's sovereignty seven years after defeat in World War Two, a sign of his drive to repair what conservatives consider dented national pride.

The popular 58-year-old Abe, who returned to office when his party swept back to power in a December poll, wants to revise the post-war, U.S.-drafted pacifist constitution and rewrite Japan's wartime history with a less apologetic tone.

His Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had pledged in the campaign to make April 28 "Restoration of Sovereignty Day", to mark the day in 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect, formally ending World War Two and the Allied Occupation.

"There are an increasing number of young people who do not know that there existed a seven-year occupation period under which Japan lost its sovereignty," Abe told a parliamentary panel on Thursday to explain the plan, Kyodo news agency said.

Some Japanese business executives worry that Abe, who has been focusing on policies to revive Japan's stagnant economy, may shift gears to his hawkish security and historical revisionist agenda after a July upper house election that his ruling bloc needs to win to cement its grip on power.

Abe enjoys support rates of around 70 percent, largely on hopes for his "Abenomics" mix of big spending and hyper-easy monetary policies, but some political experts question how much backing there was for his parallel non-economic agenda.

"I think that for the right, the meaning of Sovereignty Day is to celebrate the end of a foreign occupation that imposed alien ideas and institutions on Japan," said Columbia University political science professor Gerry Curtis.

"Abe wants 'regime change' but most Japanese appear happy to have the regime the occupation made possible - democracy, peace, freedom, prosperity - rather than what they had before."

The plan has upset some residents of Japan's southern island of Okinawa, which remained under U.S. control for another two decades after 1952. Okinawa is still reluctant host to the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan.

"We should not forget the history of hardships of Okinawa and should continue working on easing Okinawa's burden in hosting the (U.S. military) bases," Kyodo quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as telling a cabinet meeting in a nod to Okinawan sensitivities.

(Reporting by Linda Sieg and Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Comments (3)
Janeallen wrote:
Obama, leader of the free world, should condemn Abe for confusing the Japanese people and the free world about what is a good kind of pride versus the bad kind of pride.

Every responsible nation should be allowed to rule themselves.

However, a nation like Japan, which has continued to lie to its own people and to the world about what happened in WWII, should not be allowed to re-arm until it shows that the likes of neo-Nazi rhetoric that Abe is promoting, stops.

Hundreds of millions dead souls, victims of Japanese war crimes, rapes, torture, followed by defamation, scream at Abe, and Reuters, from their graves.

Mar 13, 2013 3:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Janeallen wrote:
BOYCOTT ABE.
BOYCOTT JAPAN AS LONG AS IT CONTINUES TO REVERE NEO_NAZISM OFFICIALLY.

Mar 13, 2013 3:12am EDT  --  Report as abuse
WwokenUup wrote:
BOYCOTT JAPAN FOR PROMOTING NATIONAL PRIDE OVER WAR CRIMES.

Hundreds of millions of dead victims, scream from their graves at Abe, Abe’s Government, and all Japanese who continue to molest and defame the victims by worshiping their torture, the rapes, the invasion, the defamation, the distortion of history.

BOYCOTT JAPAN UNTIL IT TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS WAR CRIMES, AND STOP ITS SUBVERSION OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AND ITS DEFAMATION OF HONORABLY PEACE LOVERS.

BOYCOTT JAPAN FOR THE CONTINUAL HARASSMENT OF HONEST, HONORARY WORLD CITIZENS WHO DOCUMENT HISTORY OF JAPANESE WAR CRIMES.

THE VICTIMS OF JAPANESE CYBER-HACKING, CYBER-BULLYING, CYBER-STALKING, CYBER-HARASSMENT SCREAM AT THE INJUSTICE, HYPOCRISY, AND EVIL OF ABE’S LEADERSHIP.

Mar 13, 2013 3:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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