On the eve of August 14, the eyes of the world are on what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will (and will not) say in the statement he is expected to issue to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. However, what we will hear from Japanese Emperor Akihito on August 15 will be equally—if not more—important.
As the Washington Post reported on August 11, Emperor Akihito has used various opportunities to reaffirm his personal commitment to Japan’s national identity as a peace-loving nation, as well as his creed that Japan should not forgot its prewar history of aggression. The Post article refers to Emperor’s New Year’s statement on January 1 this year, in which he stated, “It is most important for us to take this opportunity to study and learn from the history of this war, starting with the Manchurian Incident of 1931, as we consider the future direction of our country.”
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