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Declaration still relevant

Looking at the Potsdam Declaration 69 years after its release on July 26 in 1945 is of great help in knowing why the Japanese government's attitude towards the war of aggression it launched against China and other Asian countries during World War II matters a great deal to its relations with its neighbours and the situation in East Asia.

Along with Cairo Declaration in 1943, this historical document was the cornerstone of the post-war world order. It was these two documents that established the principles for Japan, one of the culprits of World War II, to redeem itself from the evil of its militarism. And it was by following what both documents stipulated that Japan could realise reconciliation with its neighbours, which had forgiven what its invading troops had done to their peoples with the hope that the island country would behave itself and contribute to the building of a peaceful Asia and peaceful world at large.

However, the declaration was challenged when the Japanese government made the decision to nationalise the Diaoyu Islands in 2012, territory it had grabbed from China with its military aggression. Japan was supposed to return all the territories it had taken from China according to Cairo Declaration, and the Potsdam Declaration requires that the Cairo Declaration must be observed.

By blatantly questioning the international definition of the nature of the war, the legitimacy of the Far East Military Tribunal and even the existence of the "comfort women" Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is actually trying to overturn what the two declarations had stipulated for Japan’s surrender and the establishment of the post-war order.

Abe government's lifting of the ban on its collective self-defence by reinterpreting Article 9 of its post-war pacifist Constitution early this month trod on the toes of its neighbours, as there is no threat to Japan's national security that calls for the possible use of its collective self-defence and for any overseas military action.

All Japan's Asian neighbours can get from what Abe is saying and doing is nothing but increased suspicion about the possibility of the revival of Japan's militarism.

When celebrating the 69th anniversary of the Potsdam Declaration, it is indeed necessary and urgent for China and its Asian neighbours to remind the Abe government that it is leading its country in the wrong direction if it indeed wants its country to become a normal member of the international community.


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