Monday, July 6, 2015
The 70 Years after Japan’s Unconditional Surrender-3: The Prime Minister Did Not Read the Potsdam Declaration
On May 20, 2015, during the political leaders’ debate session of the Japanese Diet, Shinzo Abe made a shocking statement. When the head of the Japanese Communist Party, Kazuo Shii, asked the prime minister if he had ever read the Potsdam Declaration, Abe replied that he had not read it carefully. Unfortunately, not only the foreign presses but also the Japanese media have totally ignored this news. However, while the majority of the news media discounted this news, the JCP website at http://www.jcp.or.jp/akahata/aik15/2015-05-23/2015052301_01_1.html published the article. There is some humor in the story. After the Japanese government realized that the prime minister had made a serious mistake, the Japanese politicians began a “funny game.” In the following days, one of the Diet members from Ishin no kai, another conservative party, sent a questioner to the prime minister’s office to ask whether the prime minister read the declaration. Of course, the prime minister’s office issued an answer saying that Shinzo Abe had read the Potsdam Declaration. However, Abe was not prepared for Mr. Shii’s question.
In conclusion, I should note a couple of interesting points in Japanese politics. First, all of the debates in the Japanese Diet are prepared by bureaucrats in advance. There should not be “prepared” questions as part of the Japanese Diet. In other words, all debates in the Diet are just for “show” in front of television cameras for Japanese citizens. Second, the real personal character of Abe regarding issues surrounding WWII has been revealed. No wonder he has launched the idea of Sengo rejimu kara no dakyaku (戦後レジームからの脱却) [to get away from the postwar regime]. Abe wishes to create his own constitution without Article 9.