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Zenroren protests against the Japanese governmentfs recklessness in rushing to turn Japan into a country that can go to war

photo--Prime Minister Abe cannot justify his Yasukuni Shrine visit as an act based on his personal creed

ODA Yoshikazu
Secretary General of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
December 27, 2013

On December 26, Prime Minister ABE Shinzo visited Yasukuni Shrine, a war-shrine in the Kudan district of Tokyo. We express our anger at his outrageous act that goes against the public sentiment in favor of peace, the international order created after WWII and friendship with neighboring countries, including China and South Korea.

Historically, Yasukuni shrine served as an ginstrumenth to prosecute Japanfs war of aggression. Despite this fact, it has existed since the end of WWII as an institution to propagate the view praising the Japanese war of aggression as a gjust struggle for survival and self-defenseh and as a gwar to liberate Asiah.

The government leaderfs visit to Yasukuni Shrine, regardless of its form, is tantamount to declaring Japanfs approval of the war of aggression.

Commenting on Prime Minister Abefs Yasukuni visit, the government of South Korea has said Abefs act represents the anachronistic view of Japanfs imperial history ? an act that fundamentally damage stability and cooperation in East Asia. The Chinese government said the Japanese prime minister visited the shrine in open defiance of international justice. These protests are justifiable.

Even the United States, Japanfs ally, has expressed disappointment at Abefs Yasukuni visit, which he tried to justify by stating that he pays respect for the war dead as a role of the national leader. But this argument is so self-righteous that it could not be supported by the international community.

Since the House of Councilors election last summer, Prime Minister Abe has been on a dictatorial path toward turning Japan into a country that can go to war. In the latest extraordinary session of the Diet, the ruling parties used a force of numbers to get bills enacted to establish the National Security Council and to protect national secrets.

After the extraordinary session of the Diet, the newly launched National Security Council met behind the closed doors to approve a gnational security strategyh which marks the Self-Defense Forcesf departure from the way they have existed and acted, viz., from an exclusively defensive stance. The government took advantage of the intensifying conflicts in South Sudan to provide South Korean peacekeepers with ten thousand rounds of ammunition in contravention of what the government has so far maintained.

The government has compiled the FY 2014 budget plan that includes a consumption tax increase and cutbacks in social services. But the Abe administration proposes increasing the gdefenseh-related expenditure by 2.8 percent to approximately 48 billion dollars. This extraordinary rise in military spending represents the Abe administrationfs aspiration to turn Japan into a military power.

It is clear that Prime Minister Abefs Yasukuni Shrine visit at this time was part of the effort to lay the groundwork for authorizing Japan to go to war. For that reason, the visit represents the prime ministerfs stance of making frontal attack on public opinion that aspire to build a peaceful Japan based on the Constitution.

The task now is for us to build up a nationwide movement to stop Prime Minister Abe pushing ahead with making Japan a country that can wage war in defiance of public opinion and the international order until we foil the vicious attempt.

Zenroren is set to use its full capacity to stop the government from adversely revising the Constitution and from implementing the policy of destroying jobs and livelihoods. We will start this struggle from the beginning of 2014 in close cooperation with people of all sectors.

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