Shifting the focus of domestic contradictions was also smugly calculated into Abe’s decision. Domestically, the nuclear pollution accident has not been effectively controlled and a final solution is still a distant hope. The newly introduced state secrecy act has provoked concerns about muzzling the media and curtailing public access to information on issues such as the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Though Abe’s economic policy has produced a short-term effect in lowering the exchange rate and boosting the stock market, there is no progress on the adjustment of structural problems. Japan’s economic outlook in 2014 is still not optimistic. In the face of shrinking domestic support and a negative evaluation of his performance over the past year, Abe needed to do something to distract people’s attention.
Abe’s shrine visit again brazenly affronted Chinese people and the people of other victimized countries and aggravated relations with Japan’s neighbors. Countries that once suffered from Japanese militarist aggression established diplomatic relations and now carry out civil exchanges with Japan on the premise that it admits its past aggression and adheres to the correct view of history. Therefore, having a right attitude toward history is a major principle that bears on the political foundation of Japan’s relations with its Asian neighbors and is a moral baseline for civil exchanges.
Abe’s shrine visit will further exacerbate the tense situation in East Asia, and it has already given rise to high vigilance among the international community, especially China.
In order to achieve its political power dream, the Abe cabinet has approved a new national security strategy, new National Defense Program Guidelines and a Mid-Term Defense Program that will use the “China threat” as a pretext to strengthen its independent military capability, maximize Japan’s role in the US-Japan alliance, set up and play a leading role in an “ocean alliance” surrounding China, and strive for hegemony in Asia.
In the face of Japan’s military buildup under Abe’s wrong view of history, China and other victimized countries have to raise their vigilance and make good preparations to respond, even the United States should take precautions against Japan’s intentions. Washington has repeatedly reminded the Abe administration to take no risks. During the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting held in October, Washington contained Tokyo’s demand for “proactive pacifism” or “proactive contribution to peace”, which aims to expand Japan’s military role by undermining the Japanese Constitution.
Therefore, China, the Republic of Korea and other victimized countries should join hands in responding to Japan’s dangerous tendency and actions that continue to exacerbate regional security situation. When necessary, response measures can be brought into the US-China strategic dialogue.
Li Wei is director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
© China Daily