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Japan’s new PM denies war crimes

This article is part of the international report that was presented at the 12 January meeting of the CPGB-ML central committee.

Disillusion with the economic situation on the part of the Japanese electorate has led to a crushing defeat in general elections in December for the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which was elected in 2009 on promises to tame Japan’s bureaucracy, rebalance foreign policy towards less servility to the US, restrain public works spending and strengthen the welfare safety net. It is universally agreed that in government the party failed to deliver on these promises.

Tweedledee, in the form of the Liberal Democrat Party, headed by Shinzo Abe, has been returned to power, winning 294 seats in the lower house to the DPJ’s humiliating 57. The supermajority gained by the LDP is expected to result in attempts to relieve the economic crisis in Japan by means of a resort to Keynesian measures, with a surge in spending on public works and monetary easing being forced on the Bank of Japan.

Notwithstanding its name, the Liberal Democratic Party is conservative and hawkish. In government, it can be expected to take an even more aggressive stance against China than its predecessor, and it officially seeks to strengthen the US-Japan alliance.

According to an editorial in the New York Times of 20 December, “As a candidate this fall, Mr Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honours Japan’s war dead, major war criminals included. He shamelessly denies the wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women by Japanese military forces and seeks to tone down past apologies. He says he will reinterpret Japan’s anti-war constitution to permit a more assertive foreign policy. And he favours revising Japan’s already euphemistic school textbooks to further disguise Japan’s militaristic excesses and promote more patriotic pride.” (‘Mr Abe’s second chance’)

Mr Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, served as a top official during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria and as cabinet minister during World War Two, before going to on to become prime minister from 1957-60.

See also: Ten Mile Inn, Mass Movement in a Chinese Village