Comments on Richard Katz "What drives Shinzo Abe?" 8/07/2015
The author, Mr Richard Katz, states the following as the last two paragraphs:
"There are two groups of politicians who wish to have Japan take an active role in collective self-defence and constitutional revision. The first group is motivated by cool consideration of present-day threat assessments. Abe, however, belongs to the second group, which is driven not just by present-day realities, but also by a romanticised view of the 1930s and 1940s. Abe in particular is devoted to restoring the ‘honour’ of his beloved grandfather and role model, Nobuo Kishi, as well as the entire generation of wartime leaders.
Kishi served in Tojo’s wartime cabinet, spent three years in Sugamo Prison as a suspected Class-A war criminal, and became prime minister in the late 1950s. Upon being elected to the Japanese Diet in 1993, Abe joined an Liberal Democratic Party ‘study group’ that published a book in 1995 calling the World War II a war for self-defence and denying that Japan committed war crimes like the Nanking Massacre and the forced recruitment of ‘comfort women’ (sex slaves). In February 1997, Abe formed another group of Diet members with similar views and became its executive director. Half of his cabinet ministers are members. He is forcing through changes in school textbooks to better reflect his revisionist view of history.
Despite all this, the accusation from some in Asia that Abe wants to — or could — lead Japan back to militarism akin to the 1930s is completely outlandish. Japan’s actions back then were an artefact of that era in world history and Japan’s own status as a traditional, rural, pre-democratic society. Today, Japan is a modern democratic society in alliance with the United States. There is no going back."
I have the following comment on them:
The last paragraph appears to imply that a modern democratic society, as Japan is at the moment, can not go back to or become militarism. In another word, that assumes, in its bare logic, that the majority of any society can not become militarism. I would argue that that assumption is wrong and that some societies can become militarism with the support of a majority. That is the danger of the history revisionists who deny its country's past wrong doing and war crimes committed to other nations. For example, I would argue that Hitler probably had majority support of Germany people at some time. back to the 1930s and 1940s We all know what that support developed into.
Secondly, while I don't know for sure what Abe wants to do with his "romanticised view of the 1930s and 1940s" of Japan, one thing for sure is that the relative international strengths have changed and that Japan, though having very strong capacities in many sectors, does not have its absolute power in Asia as it had during the 1930s and 1940s, irrespective its alliance with the US or not, or wether its has majority domestic support or not. For one thing for sure, China, as well as other East Asian countries, is/are much more powerful and Japan is and will no longer be allowed to do what it did in the 1930s and 1940s.
Thirdly, as long as the Japanese government has the view of Abe's regarding Japan's 1930s and 1940s, it will have difficulty relationships with its East Asian counterparts. And that damages and will damage its own national interests if it does not stop that view.
The days of 1930s and 1940s of Japan have long gone forever and any attempts to bring that back by any Japanese politicians will be completely futile and downright stupid. Should Japan become militarism again, it would risk its own total destruction with the modern military capacities of other East Asian countries.