Should the world fear that Japan, after championing nuclear non-proliferation and asserting the inhumanity of war for almost 70 years, is returning to its imperial ways? On the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima – and days before the anniversary of Japan’s surrender to allied forces, this editorial from Japan’s Nara Shimbun is a warning to readers not to allow politicians to lead the Japanese people down the path toward war and destruction again.
The editorial from Japan’s Naha Shimbun says in part:
There is no such thing as a good war, a heroic war, a bad war, or a wrong war. All war must be abolished. Even if it may seem idealistic or fanciful, we must not back down from this conviction. That is the best way to apply the lessons of this defeat.
It is worrying that in East Asia, not only China, South Korea and North Korea, but Japan, appear to be strengthening their military capabilities.
Since it was unveiled on August 6th, the destroyer Izumo, which is capable of launching helicopters, has captured popular attention. It is 815 feet long and has a displacement of about 20,000 tons [empty]. In any event – it is large. Judging from the images shown in news reports, it has the layout of an aircraft carrier. By comparison, the Imperial Japanese Navy’s war vessel Yamato was 862 feet long, and the warship Nagato, which was requisitioned by the U.S. Army after the war and used for nuclear experiments in the Pacific, was 738 feet long. The worry is that military tensions could be heightened by the emergence of this new “weapon.”
Instead of leaving it in the hands of politicians, every one of us must consider the implications of constitutional reform and the right to collective self defense. We must reflect on the war-ridden path our country took from the Meiji Restoration  to August 15th, 1945, as well as our post-war history, and decide how to proceed. To do so, we first must take ownership of the memories of “August 15th.”
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