Japan PM disses WWII war crimes trials as 'victors' justice Mar 16, 2013 8:52:48 GMT 8
Post by EXO on Mar 16, 2013 8:52:48 GMT 8
Japan PM dismisses WWII war crimes trials as 'victors' justice'
By Julian Ryall, Tokyo
2:24PM GMT 14 Mar 2013
As published in The Telegraph
Japan's nationalist prime minister has dismissed the Tokyo war crimes trials in the aftermath of World War II as nothing more than victors' justice.
Shinzo Abe, who was elected in a landslide general election victory in December, expressed beliefs that are likely to trigger anger in nations that were occupied by the forces of imperial Japan in the early decades of the last century and raise eyebrows in allied nations, primarily the United States.
"The view of that great war was not formed by the Japanese themselves, but rather by the victorious Allies, and it is by their judgement only that [Japanese] were condemned," Mr Abe told a meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Tuesday.
In his previous short-lived spell as prime minister, for 12 months from September 2006, Mr Abe said that the 28 Japanese military and political leaders charged with Class-A war crimes are "not war criminals under the laws of Japan."
More than 5,700 Japanese were charged with Class B and C war crimes before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, which was convened on April 29, 1946. Initially, 984 individuals were sentenced to death and 475 received life sentences.
After the prolonged legal discussions, seven were executed in December 1948, including General Hideki Tojo, the commander of the Kwantung Army and later the prime minister, while the majority of the others sentenced to hang or life prison terms were paroled by the mid-1950s.
"Mr Abe is definitely to the right of other recent prime ministers and and I feel that this just shows that he deeply cares about these issues," said Jun Okumura, a political analyst with the Eurasia Group.
"For him, it is a matter of national honour, but as prime minister he should be saying that this is a matter of history," he added.
Given the Liberal Democratic Party's overwhelming majority in the lower house of the Japanese Diet, allied to rising public support rates ahead of elections in the summer that are expeted to grant Mr Abe a similar degree of control over the upper chamber, Mr Okumura suggested that Mr Abe's "unguarded comments" demonstrate an "element of over-confidence" in his power.
Since his election, Mr Abe has unveiled plans to dramatically revamp a national constitution based skewed heavily towards peace and self-defence, as well as lifting the ban on the sale of Japanese weapons systems overseas.
Another area of controversy has been the issue of "comfort women," the women forced to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese military during the war, with Mr Abe suggesting he may review the government's official position on whether the women were coerced into their roles.