Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling coalition's recent drive to reinterpret the nation's pacifist constitution may well undermine the state of peace and order that has been maintained in Asia since the end of the World War Two (WWII), Zhao Jianwen, a researcher at the Institute of International Law under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said at a press conference commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Potsdam Declaration in Beijing on July 23.
The United States, China, and Great Britain called for Japan to surrender unconditionally in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945. Later in August that same year, the Soviet Union also joined the declaration after it announced its participation in the war against Japan.
The Potsdam Declaration stipulated the responsibilities that Japan should rightfully bear given its status as an aggressor in the war and Japan's post-WWII territory, said Jin Yilin, Deputy Director of Institute of Modern History under the CASS.
"Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration as the country surrendered in August, 1945," Jin said. "But the actions undertaken by the Japanese Government in recent years have destroyed the very foundation for postwar international laws including the Potsdam Declaration."
Zhao said that the spirit of Potsdam Declaration is perhaps best encapsulated in Article 9 of Japan's constitution that was enacted in 1947.
Article 9 stated "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes."
On July 16, a set of new security bills were passed in the lower house of the Japanese parliament, which permits Japan to send combat troops overseas without any restrictions.
Abe claims to be reestablishing the "right" to collective self-defense, but in fact, he wants Japan to acquire rights of war that Japan had abandoned since the end of WWII, Zhao said.
Fundamentally, many Japanese politicians seem to be incapable of adopting an appropriate attitude toward Japan's historical responsibility for aggression, claimed Lu Yaodong, a researcher at the Institute of Japanese Studies under the CASS.
The international community should remain vigilant as regards revisionism activities and sentiments within Japan's government, Lu said.
Copyedited by Eric Daly
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