Yasukuni Shrine and Japan’s War Responsibility

Written by Akiko Takenaka. Yasukuni Shrine, where the military-related dead of modern Japan are memorialized, remains one of the main focal points in the international debates on how Japan remembers its wartime past. It is also deeply intertwined with Japan’s domestic politics in the postwar decades as a result of the strong ties that the …

China’s military parade is an error of judgement

Written by Steve Tsang. Whenever the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) departs from routine protocol, it is usually highly significant. Today’s military parade in Beijing, which marks 70 years since the defeat of Japan in the Second World War, is no exception. It is only China’s fourth military parade since the Mao era; it is the …

The 70th Anniversary of Japan’s surrender

Written by Hans Van de Ven. On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced in his first ever radio broadcast that he had instructed his cabinet ‘to communicate to the governments of the USA, UK, China, and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration’. This was the Potsdam Declaration in which …

Abe’s Subtle Apology: Can It Help Japan Become ‘Normal’?

Written by Niv Horesh. Visitors to Japan can feel this is a country undergoing an identity crisis. After more than two decades of economic stagnation, falling birth rates and unstable governments, the Japanese have slowly become accustomed to the notion that the heady 1980s are long gone. Back then, amid a real estate and stock …

Japan’s sorry saga

Written by Mark Beeson. What is it about northeast Asia? Why is it that a part of the world that is a byword for unparalleled economic development and astounding social transformation can’t come to terms with its past and develop co-operative intra-regional relations? Northeast Asia ought to be the most important region in the world …

The Abe Statement and the politics of war memory in Japan

Written by Edward Vickers. Since the mid-1990s, successive Japanese premiers have issued expressions of regret for wartime aggression and colonialism. Nevertheless, anti-Japanese nationalism in China and South Korea has reached new heights. Hardly surprising, then, that apology fatigue has set in. Channeling this sentiment in his August 14 statement, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo stated, ‘We must …

Abe’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and Sino-Japanese relations

Written by Karl Gustafsson. On 14 August, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered his long anticipated statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. For months, scholars and pundits have speculated about whether Abe would use words such as “apology”, aggression and regret. Would the statement reflect the revisionist views that he has …

The living ghosts of 1945 haunt Asia’s rival powers

Written by Nick Bisley. Following the devastation of twin atomic attacks, Japan announced its unconditional surrender to the Allied forces on August 15, 1945. Seventy years on from that momentous day, the war continues to haunt the peoples of East Asia. In the West, it is often forgotten that 1945 marks the end of not only …

70 Years of ‘Cold Peace’ and ‘Cold War’ in East Asia Coming to an End?

Written by Christian Wirth. 70 years passed since Emperor Hirohito declared Imperial Japan’s surrender and ended what is often referred to as The Pacific War.  25 years passed since the Soviet Union’s disintegration ended the global confrontation between the US-led ‘West’ and the Soviet-led ‘East’, commonly referred to as the Cold War. Yet even in this …

Taiwan and the Diaoyutai Spat: Is All that Noise Really Necessary?

Written by J. Michael Cole. If a few years ago you had asked people outside the region whether they had ever heard about the Diaoyutai islets, or the Senkakus as they are known in Japan, the likely answer would be that they had not. That this is no longer the case is in large part due …