The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 17 August 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on August 24, 2015

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(17AUG15)

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

Japan Marks the Anniversary of the End of World War II

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (AP)

This week’s snapshot focuses on the Japanese government’s response to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement elicited international scrutiny for “lacking sincerity” and failure to renew his predecessors’ apologies. The anniversary comes just as the Japanese parliament debates controversial legislation that would enable the military to fight wars overseas for the first time since the end of World War II.

 

News summary of events during the week of 10AUG15 – 16AUG15

  • 10AUG: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted difficulties in formally amending the constitution the unpopularity of such a move. (Kyodo)
  • 12AUG: A South Korean man set himself on fire in front of Japan’s embassy in Seoul amid a rally calling for Japan to apologize for the treatment of “comfort women.” (Xinhua)
  • 12AUG: South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se called Abe’s statement marking a “touchstone” for improvement in South Korean-Japanese relations. (Xinhua)
  • 13AUG: Peace protesters and musicians gathered outside of Tokyo’s Shibuya Station to protest PM Abe’s constitutional changes. (Asahi Shimbun)
  • 14AUG: Taiwan called on Japan to continue examining its wartime aggressions and learn lessons from World War II. (Kyodo)
  • 14AUG: Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said Abe’s statement did not specify what Japan is apologizing for. (Mainichi)
  • 14AUG: Abe’s cabinet endorsed his statement, which represents the government’s official stance on the country’s wartime history. (Xinhua)
  • 14AUG: China urged Japan to assume responsibility for its “war of aggression” and apologize to neighboring countries. (Xinhua)
  • 14AUG: Japanese Emperor Akihito expressed “deep remorse” at an annual service marking Japan’s surrender. (Reuters)
  • 15AUG: North Korea’s foreign ministry criticized Abe’s remarks for not including an honest apology. (Yonhap)
  • 15AUG: Abe sent ritual offerings to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine. (Xinhua)
  • 15AUG: South Korea urged Japan to take “concrete action” in resolving issues in the Korean Peninsula stemming from Japan’s past colonial endeavors. (Kyodo)
  • 15AUG: The Philippine government praised Japan’s post-war efforts and close relations with the Philippines. (Kyodo)
  • 15AUG: Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou said he hopes Japan will do more to acknowledge Japan’s wartime treatment of “comfort women.” (Kyodo)
  • 16AUG: The White House acknowledged Abe’s remorse and lauded Japan’s commitment to peace as a “model for nations everywhere.” (JiJi Press)

 

 

Sample of Twitter handles regarding Japan’s response to the anniversary of the end of World War II

  • @observingjapan – Tobias Harris, Japan analyst at Teneo Intelligence
  • @annafifield – Anna Fifield, Tokyo bureau chief for The Washington Post
  • @SheilaSmithCFR – Senior Fellow for Japan Studies @CFR_org. Author, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (2015).
  • @TakahashiKosuke – Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Japan. Formerly at Jane’s Defense, Asahi, Bloomberg and WSJ. Columbia J-School alum.
  • @michaeltcucek – Adjunct Professor, Sophia University; Adjunct Fellow, TUJ Institute for Contemporary Asia Studies; Advisor, Langley Esquire.

 

 

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding Japan’s response to the anniversary of the end of World War II

Philip McNeil, political commentator and Shizuoka-based author

“Abe made it abundantly clear that his statement was based on the consensus reached by his expert panel of historians and scholars picked so that Abe could articulate how Japan wants to be viewed by the world in the future, based on its past. This is the very essence of historical revisionism that makes Abe and his administration so dangerous and misguided.”

–      News Analysis: Abe’s war statement spurns reconciliation in favor of forward-looking spin, Xinhua, 14AUG15

 

Teruhisa Muramatasu, political analyst

“Abe repeated former pledges of ‘deep repentance for the war’ that Japan had made and the fact that Japan had ‘consistently upheld that pledge never to wage a war again,’ but in terms of the prime minister’s own sentiments, they were far more tepid than his predecessors. He mentioned his feelings of grief, rather than remorse, and noticeably referenced aggression by Japan in WWII as ‘incidents,’ failing to concede that WWII in terms of Japan’s involvement was a war of aggression and brutal colonialism.”

–      News Analysis: Abe’s war statement spurns reconciliation in favor of forward-looking spin, Xinhua, 14AUG15

 

Jennifer Lind, Japan expert at Dartmouth College

“[Abe] was reacting to both domestic and international pressures on him in the lead-up to this statement. Abe recognizes he he needs to uphold the ‘Murayama consensus.’ But also Abe thinks that a strong nation come from a positive history, so you have him noting Japan’s accomplishments after the war.”

–      With WWII statement , Japan’s Abe tried to offer something for everyone, Washington Post, 14AUG15

 

Shihoko Goto, East Asia analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars

“Abe missed an opportunity to take the moral high ground and make clear the wrongs undertaken by Japan’s Imperialist forces.”

–      Why Abe’s ‘utmost grief’ won’t ease regional tensions, Deutsche Welle, 14AUG15

 

James Brown, Japan expert at Temple University, Tokyo

“The PM is instead simply noting that several Japanese leaders have made apologies in the past and that he is not going to contradict them directly. He confirms this as being his stance by also stating that, ‘Such position articulated by previous cabinets will remain unshakable in the future.”

–      Why Abe’s ‘utmost grief’ won’t ease regional tensions, Deutsche Welle, 14AUG15

 

 

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to Japan’s response to the anniversary of the end of World War II

1.      Abe statement to be touchstone for S. Korea-Japan ties: S. Korean FM

 

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 12 August 2015

 

SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s landmark statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War Two (WWII) would become a touchstone for future relations between South Korea and Japan, Seoul’s top diplomat said Wednesday.

 

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said the Abe statement “will be a touchstone” for improvement of the bilateral relations in the current historic moment to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and the 50th anniversary of the normalized diplomatic ties between Seoul and Tokyo.

 

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2.      China calls for sincere apology after Abe’s statement

 

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 14 August 2015

 

BEIJING, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) – China on Friday responded to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II by asking Japan to sincerely apologize for its aggressive past.

 

“Japan should have given a clear account of the nature of the aggression war launched by Japanese militarists and its responsibility, offered sincere apologies to people of countries that suffered in the war, and broken with the militarism past rather than glossing over history,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

 

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3.      Japan’s Emperor Akihito expresses ‘deep remorse’ for war

 

Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 14 August 2015

 

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Emperor Akihito marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two with an expression of “deep remorse” over the conflict, a departure from his annual script which could be seen as a subtle rebuke of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

 

Abe on Friday expressed “utmost grief” for the suffering Japan inflicted in the war, but said future generations should not have to keep apologising for the mistakes of the past. He offered no fresh apology of his own.

 

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4.      Abe sends ritual offering, as 2 female ministers visit notorious Yasukuni Shrine

 

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 15 August 2015

 

TOKYO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday sent a ritual offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo where two female cabinet members visited on the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.

 

The nationalist premier sent his aide, Koichi Hagiuda, to make the offering as leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) , one day after he delivered a statement which is perceived both at home and abroad as “lacking sincerity.”

 

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5.      U.S. lauds Ave WWII anniversary statement

 

Media: Japan Times

Byline: N/A

Date: 16 August 2015

 

WASHINGTON – The White House on Friday gave high marks to a statement issued by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

 

“We welcome Prime Minister Abe’s expression of deep remorse for the suffering caused by Japan during the World War II era, as well as his commitment to uphold past Japanese government statements on history,” a White House National Security Council spokesman said in a statement.

 

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