Abe’s forked tongue

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Abe’s forked tongue

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands. The house, where the young Anne Frank wrote her famous diary while in hiding from the Nazis in occupied Holland for two years, was renovated as a museum. There, Abe said human rights were oppressed in the war-stricken 20th century. He said he wanted to realize world peace by modestly confronting historical facts and relaying them to the next generation.

Frank’s house is a symbol of the sacrifice of the Jews, who had to suffer the Nazis’ brutal racial discrimination against them. As many as six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust during World War II. While the madness of a militaristic war of aggression by the Nazis was sweeping through Europe, Japan launched its own war in Asia. Abe’s visit to Frank’s house and his pledge to world peace is commendable. The question is whether he is committed to world peace from the bottom of his heart.

The scene of Abe visiting Frank’s house can be juxtaposed with his paying respects at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo last December. Abe bowed to the ancestral tablets of the millions who were killed - including 14 Class-A war criminals in the Pacific War - despite the international community’s strong opposition. It is contradictory for Abe to visit the Anne Frank house and talk about peace and history. Analysts said Abe probably visited the house in a move to appease the anger of Jewish people around the world over a chain of attempts to tear sensitive pages of Anne Frank’s Diary out of copies in scores of public libraries in Tokyo. If that’s true, Abe can’t avoid the criticism that he made the visit out of a purely political calculation.

Abe has consistently denied Japan’s invasions in Asia. He speaks - and behaves - as if to glorify the aggressive history of Japan. On the issue of women forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s army during the war, he maintains a very ambiguous attitude. Despite a vow to stand behind the so-called Kono Statement, which admitted to the Japanese government’s accountability for the mobilization of sex slaves, his aides habitually tell a different story: They want to “verify” the testimonies of comfort women because they believe they were lying.

If Abe really wants to prove the sincerity of his acceptance of historical facts, he should have met the Dutch comfort women - who were also sexually exploited by Japanese soldiers during the war - and apologized to them.

JoongAng Ilbo, March 26, Page 30

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