[EDITORIAL] Japan Is Not Qualified
Is Japan qualified to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council? Unfortunately, our candid answer is a "no." Japan is lobbying from all corners and resorting to various means to become a permanent member amid talk that the Security Council should be expanded and reworked. As the world's second largest economy, Japan's wish to exert international political influence commensurate to its economic prowess is quite understandable. We also empathize with the sad reality that Japan is still being treated as a "small country" when it is paying more than the sum of dues paid by four permanent council members - Russia, China, France, Britain. Only the United States, the fifth permanent member, pays more.
Created in the aftermath of the Second World War to maintain international order, the United Nations is still following article 53 paragraph 2 in its charter, which tacitly defines Germany and Japan as "enemy states." Has Japan sufficiently settled its crimes committed half a century ago? Only when it can confidently say "yes" can it qualify to knock on the doors of the Security Council.
How are things in actuality? The Ministry of Education in Japan is said to plan to extend on March 30 its final authorization for a controversial textbook revised by rightist historians and seven other history textbooks. Although they claim that history has been rectified after numerous revisions, fundamental distortions with exaggerated and diminished facts remain prevalent. A few days ago, the United Nations Human Rights Commission expressed its concern over racism toward Koreans residing in Japan and the International Labor Organization plans to deal with Japanese comfort stations, which offered sexual services during its colonizing period, under the Forced Labor Convention. What does all this signify? They are testaments to the shortcomings of Japan's resolution of its past.
That Japanese society is tilting toward the right as a result of a prolonged economic stagnation is a fact that the Japanese themselves admit. Recent absurd remarks made by Japan that have stirred up its neighbors and moves that fanned controversy over the textbook problem, once thought resolved, are certainly not unrelated to the rightist trend. If Japan truly desires to become a permanent member of the Security Council, it should first unshackle its historical fetters. Such should be the order of things and something it could learn from Germany.