JAPAN- A longtime no-war pledge has disappeared from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party’s annual working policy revealed on Sunday, while the ruling party vowed to continue visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and push ahead constitutional revision, in another move leading the country in a far-right direction, observers said.
At its 81st LDP annual convention in Tokyo, the party removed the pledge that Japan would “never wage a war”, China Central Television reported on Sunday.
In another change from last year’s policy, the party added a phrase saying it will “bolster veneration for the war dead” – referring to continued shrine visits – and also made clear it will amend the country’s constitution. The changes show that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also the party chief, will intensify efforts step by step to push Japan further into animosity with neighbouring countries, analysts said.
Wang Xinsheng, a professor of international affairs at Peking University, said it is Abe’s ultimate goal to “normalize” Japan, as indicated when he avoided mentioning the no-war pledge on Aug 15, the 68th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
Abe then reaffirmed the no-war pledge to soothe international anger over his visit, saying he renewed his “determination before the souls of the war dead to firmly uphold the pledge never to wage war again”.
According to Japanese media, the no-war pledge appeared in an earlier draft for the 2014 LDP working policy. “By removing the pledge, Abe has revealed his true political ambition, which is to reinstall Japan with the right to wage wars,” Gao said.
Under the terms of its surrender in World War II, Japan banned from starting a war, while Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution also forbids Japan from resorting to warfare to settle international disputes.
“Abe has been eyeing a change to the postwar constitution for a long time, and can eventually realise that ambition by writing his intention into the LDP annual working policy,” Gao said.
“However, Abe knows that there are still a lot of obstacles in front of him, so he chooses to push ahead step by step.”
Full article: Japan drops ‘no-war’ pledge (Asia One)