(Yomiuri: April 30, 2015 – p. 2)
By Satoshi Ogawa, political department
Japan and the United States, which fought each other in the war, will work together for the peace and prosperity of the region and the world.
In his official visit to the United States, which was realized this year that marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Prime Minister delivered the message that Japan and the U.S. should work together “from reconciliation to collaboration” based on their experiences.
The two countries have been able to achieve “reconciliation” and “collaboration” as a result of the tolerance of the people of Japan and the U.S. and their shared values and strategies. Prime Minister Abe’s first stop on his U.S. tour was the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. During World War II, Kennedy’s U.S. torpedo boat was attacked by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri and Kennedy was thrown into the sea and injured. After the war, Kennedy formed a friendship with Kohei Hanami, who commanded the Amagiri, and demonstrated reconciliation between Japan and the U.S. through his own experience.
The National Archives of Japan is currently hosting the international exhibition, “JFK: His Life and Legacy,” in which a letter sent by Kennedy to Hanami is displayed. Kennedy says in the letter that “yesterday’s enemy is today’s friend.”
The Japanese side does not regard the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the Great Tokyo Air Raid as obstacles to “reconciliation.” The collaboration between Japan and U.S. has been boosted by China’s growing “challenge to international order” on the military and economic fronts, according to the “U.S.-Japan Joint Statement: A Shared Vison for the Future.”
Japan and the U.S. have agreed on the new defense cooperation guidelines (Guidelines) and affirmed their commitment to aim for concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks. It can be said that based on shared global strategies, Japan-U.S. relations have deepened to the point where the two countries will “build a future together,” according to Obama.
In conducting diplomacy toward Asia, PM Abe should utilize the message of ‘from reconciliation to collaboration’ that he has highlighted in his U.S. tour.
Japan’s continued difficulties in achieving reconciliation with its neighbors can be attributed primarily to the fact that the Chinese and the South Koreans are trying to politicize history issues. However, the prime minister on his part should acknowledge Japan’s past mistakes , including ‘aggression,’ and spotlight Japan’s posture of contributing to peace and prosperity while keeping in mind that the international community is paying close attention to the history statement that he plans to issue on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.