Japan's Abe says "restoration of sovereignty day" signals hope

TOKYO Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:52am EDT

1 of 5. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front L) delivers a speech as Emperor Akihito (3rd R) and Empress Michiko (2nd R) listen during a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of Japan's restoration of sovereignty and return into the international community, in Tokyo April 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Itsuo Inouye/Pool

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Sunday for a renewal of a "sense of hope and determination" in marking for the first time the restoration of Japan's post-war sovereignty, part of a drive to repair what conservatives consider dented national pride.

Abe, who is riding a wave of popularity after being swept back into office in a landslide election last December, 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) pledged during 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.

"I want to make this a day when we can renew our sense of hope and determination for the future," a somber Abe, 58, told a ceremony in a hall near parliament attended by about 400 officials.

"We have a responsibility to make Japan a strong and resolute country that others across the world can rely on."

The San Francisco Treaty officially declared an end to the war, required Japan to relinquish claims on other countries and territories and determined war compensation.

Giving added weight to the ceremony was the presence of Emperor Akihito, 79, and Empress Michiko. Participants, mostly men in dark suits, threw their hands up into the air and cried "banzai!" or long life, to send the royal couple off.

Akihito's father, Hirohito, was Japan's wartime leader, and made a historic broadcast announcing the terms of surrender to his people in 1945.

After returning for a second stint as prime minister, Abe initially focused on policies to revive the stagnant economy.

His popularity rating stands at around 70 percent, largely on hopes for his "Abenomics" mix of big spending and hyper-easy monetary policies, but there are doubts about the level of popular support for his agenda outside of economics.

The prime minister has devoted greater attention in recent weeks to a more hawkish stance on security and Japanese history ahead of a July upper house election that his ruling bloc needs to win to cement its grip on power.

Abe has defended the visits in the past week by more than 160 lawmakers to the Yasukuni shrine, which honors Japan's war dead but offends neighboring countries because it also honors Japanese war criminals.

CHINESE, SOUTH KOREAN OBJECTIONS

Both South Korea and China, where memories of Japanese military occupation remain fresh, were angered by the visits. Seoul summoned the Japanese ambassador and canceled a visit to Tokyo by its foreign minister.

In Seoul, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won urged Japan to carefully study the state of relations and make efforts to restore good ties "with a correct historical perspective".

"Japan remains unrepentant of its past misdeeds," Yonhap news agency quoted Chung as saying at a ceremony honoring Korean admiral Yi Sun-shin, who inflicted defeats on Japan in a 16th century war.

Japan has also been embroiled in a territorial dispute over uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, with Abe last week saying it would be "natural" to use force to repel any Chinese attempt to land on the islands.

Abe has also refused to clarify whether his cabinet endorses a landmark apology for Japan's aggression before and during World War Two, issued by a previous government in 1995.

Abe has made clear that he wants to revise Article 9 of the constitution to set down Japan's right to maintain a military for self-defense. He also wants to change the interpretation of the constitution that has prevented Japan from exercising its right to collective self-defense or aiding an ally under attack.

Sunday's ceremony upset residents of Japan's southern island of Okinawa, which remained under U.S. control for another two decades until 1972. Okinawa is still a reluctant host to the bulk of up to 50,000 U.S. military forces in Japan.

Residents of Okinawa held a counter-rally describing the commemoration as a day of "humiliation" for Okinawa and not a true return of sovereignty to Japan.

(Additional reporting by Jane Chung in Seoul; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Comments (4)
Janeallen wrote:
To Neo-Nazi leader Abe, wolf-in-sheep-skin:

Soon and very soon, all those deceived by your propaganda will find out the truth of your deceitful, warmongering, racist, war criminal mind, and the danger you pose to mankind as a whole. Those who have been deceived the most before will be most angry in demanding retribution from you and the posthumous trials of all the war criminals you mislead the deceived Japanese people and the world to defend.

Soon and very soon, justice will be served.

Apr 28, 2013 7:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
PPlainTTruth wrote:
Jiro:
Wake up from the fake propaganda from Abe. He and the right-wing politicians never really cared about the wellbeing, the wish, the rights of Japanese people.

All Abe cares about is how to deceive, manipulate, lie, to promote his own status, his career, and an agenda of global dominance by ANY kind of warmongering — brutal, military conquering as his grandfather championed, is just the other side of the coin of sneaky deceitful manipulative economic, political propaganda and corrupt dealings, to pull the wool over the eyes of the Japanese people.

If the United States did not force Abe’s grandfather to abandon militarism, so many more Japanese would have died. Now, more have died in the Tsunami because Abe and all the well connected politicians supported the cover up of Tepco, siphoning all the money to so called “bonds to the Government”, corrupt practices(many more than the lone exposed case of Olympus”.

All Japanese people, wake up and protest the lies and deceit and warmongering by Abe’s government, which is leading Japan to fake dreams, false promises, just like those initial victories in WWII that caused the allies to drop the Atomic bomb on Japan.

Wake up. Japan was a VICTIM ONLY OF THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT.
This “hope” means “come Japanese people, come believe in your Government’s lies.”

Yielding to temptation, bribes was bringing laughs that every Japanese knows is immoral, and created by unethical dealings with declining world powers— history is beckoning the Japanese people to stand up to the deceitful, immoral leadership of the Japanese Government.

Immorality is causing Japan to decline. Countries who pretend to be friendly are all bribed— bribed by the promise of money for investment, bribed by Abe’s offer to American warmongers’ war agent.

Remember what the corruption of Tepco created in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster? Remember how the Japanese politicians sold nuclear energy is “hope for the future, for an “advanced Japan”? This is one disaster lurking behind the deceitful rhetoric— one that is much worse than the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

WAKE UP. SAY NO TO DECEIT. DEMAND ABE TO BE MORAL! DON’T BE MISLED TO THE THIRD NUCLEAR DISASTER, FROM N KOREA OR OTHERWISE. There have been so many hundreds of millions of victims and their descendants in Asia. They are all screaming from their graves. Do NOT be fooled by the war criminals worshipers among your Japanese politicians, ESPECIALLY ABE.

Apr 28, 2013 7:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Janeallen wrote:
China should organize all the evidence for a posthumous war criminal trial for the Japanese war criminals Abe is leading the Japanese people to worship — they committed more murders, rape, human rights violation (continuously from the late 19th century till 1945) than Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler learned the term “Aryan Race” from Abe’s ancestors to justify the genocide of Jews. In World War I, Germans welcomed Jews to serve in their army because they had not been corrupted by Abe’s ancestors yet.

Apr 28, 2013 8:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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