Written by Staff Writer, CNN
Last month saw a bloody series of clashes at the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands that saw Japanese ships face off with Chinese vessels.
In response, a furious Chinese government branded the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo “a political and military shrine” and “a national disgrace.” The presence of Japan’s war dead, including Japan’s war criminals, along with war cemeteries (both for civilians and soldiers) and the ashes of several wartime leaders, sparked outrage on both sides of the shared chain of Pacific Ocean islands.
Hidetsugu Abe, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s father, was elected to parliament on a platform of restoring the “honor of the nation’s war dead” which “must be at the center of Japanese political life.”
In an interview with CNN on Christmas Eve, Hidetsugu Abe reiterated his father’s position, warning that an invasion of Taiwan would be a “dire concern to the Japanese people.”
“It’s quite true that we have never violated the Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity. We don’t get into the details of the tense military standoffs, but it is very strong protest against what Japan did in the past and what Japan is doing in the present.”
Recalling that his father served in World War II, Hidetsugu Abe said that after the war, he “was told by our president that he will not ever invade another country again.”
On Taiwan, Hidetsugu Abe said, “In the past it’s true that Japan did some unfair things, and we recognize it completely.”
Some 24 Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel have been reported killed in around 20 incidents of alleged violence — all but one of which have since ended — since May 25, 2017, according to Japan’s Defense Ministry.
Hidetsugu Abe’s appearance on CNN ties in with the release of his first book since becoming prime minister in late 2016. “Honor to the My Father, Honor to the Mother” addresses the impact that Abe’s father’s controversial statements have had on Japan.
According to Hidetsugu Abe, his father speaks the “right language.” The right message is one that holds sway among Japanese, he said.
However, the Wuhan-born prime minister — who is now 60 years old — stopped short of directly criticizing his father and revealed that he has read the excerpt of “Honor to the Father, Honor to the Mother” that was published by two leftist newspapers in China.
“In my life I’ve written a lot,” he said. “I try to take care of myself, take care of my family, and always seek the truth for the sake of mankind.”