Tokyo Trials war crimes convictions were victors' justice: PM Abe
The Tokyo war crimes trials following World War II were no more than exercises in victors' justice, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told legislators on March 12.
"The view of that great war was not formed by the Japanese themselves, but rather by the victorious Allies, and it is by their judgment only that (Japanese) have been condemned," Abe said during a House of Representatives Budget Committee session. During his first stint as prime minister in 2006-2007, Abe stated that the verdicts of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, known more commonly as the Tokyo Trials, "have been accepted by Japan, and so we are in no position to object now."
Abe's March 12 comments can be seen as consistent with his previous statements on the Tokyo Trials, but the prime minister has nevertheless risked harsh criticism from former colony South Korea as well as the Allied nations, including China and the United States.
Also according to Abe, a consultative body under the Allied General Headquarters (GHQ) "moved to shut down" the very short-lived post-war committee established by the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Kijuro Shidehara to investigate the reasons for Japan's defeat. "I think (GHQ) suppressed the committee over worries it would discuss views of the war that were inconvenient to the Allies," Abe said.
Abe also said, however, that "evaluations of history are best left to the experts. If the government began research into historical issues and presenting opinions, it could create diplomatic problems."
Before the December lower house election last year, Abe stated that he may review the so-called "Kono Statement" on Korean comfort women -- women forced into sexual slavery to the former Imperial Japanese Army. Since taking office, Abe has indicated he would not get involved in any review of the statement out of consideration for Japan's international relations, but his latest comments could cause concerns in the U.S.
During his first administration, Abe said that Class A war criminals "are not war criminals under the laws of Japan," and taken with his March 12 comments, his views could very well cast a shadow on Japan-U.S. relations.
March 13, 2013(Mainichi Japan)