Editorial About Abe in Full, Chinese Version Above, English Version Below:
美国前联邦国会议员 吴振伟（David Wu）
一连串关于历史罪行的争论正在亚洲上演，并将美国卷入到这场潜在的冲突中。最近，19 名日本历史学家给麦格劳·希尔（McGraw-Hill）出版公司写信，要求McGraw-Hill出版公司“改正”该公司大学历史教材中关于“第二次世界大战`慰安妇’的内容。”慰安妇是指约在第二次世界大战期间约20 万名被日本帝国陆军强迫从中国、 韩国、 菲律宾和其他亚洲国家抓捕并强迫成为日军性奴的女性。今年1月，日本首相安倍晋三在国会发表演讲，批评麦格劳·希尔出版社的高中历史教科书中关于日本强征慰安妇的内容.修改历史教科书问题已经超出历史与赎罪的讨论范畴，它事关国内政治、国际关系，以及东亚地区的稳定。
1979年我访问了中国。在我走访的每一个地方，当地党委书记都告诉我侵华日军在1931年至 1945年期间在犯下的罪行：屠戮男性、 奸淫妇女、将一个个和平安宁的村庄夷为平地。直到今天，那些痛苦的以及仍然难以抹去。在1910 年到 1945 年期间，韩国也曾遭受着残酷的日本统治。美国人无法感同身受那些在二战期间曾经被日本蹂躏过的亚洲国家的人们，以及他们到现在还历历在目的创伤余悸。在这样的情感和历史背景下，再加上其它诸多因素，慰安妇问题充满争议。
在一个依然被战争创伤影响的地区，面对安倍先生在慰安妇问题和修改宪法等一系列问题上的所作所为，美国政府的回应既要巧妙又要立场坚定。美日安保条约为日本提供保护，但同时也提供制约。历史上我们与韩国、台湾地区、和前西德签订的条约中一个心照不宣的规定是，美国可以保护他们，但他们不能寻衅滋事，不能同朝鲜、中国大陆和东德发生冲突。美国政府应该用巧妙的手段告诉安倍政府: 美日安保条约要求日本停止其一切挑衅行为，这些行为其中包括否认慰安妇存在，修改或重新解释日本的和平宪法，或参拜那些肯定会激化韩国，中国及亚洲其他地区人民感情的地方。最重要的是，日本必须就钓鱼岛（尖阁列岛) 同中国展开无条件的谈判，并且解除威胁地区和平产生威胁。
Denial of the Past Affects the Future
A sequence of events is playing out in Asia which links past transgressions to potential future conflict involving the United States. Recently, a group of 19 Japanese historians sent a letter to McGraw-Hill asking it to “correct” passages in a college textbook about World War II “comfort women.” The so called comfort women are the estimated 200,000 women dragooned by the Japanese Imperial Army from China, Korea, the Philippines, and other Asian countries to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. In January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a speech to Japan’s Diet that criticized passages about comfort women in a McGraw-Hill high school textbook. This is more than an argument about history and atonement. It is also about domestic politics, international relations, and the stability of East Asia.
In 1979, every town visit I had in China began with the local Communist Party leader talking about Japanese atrocities committed there between 1931 and 1945: men massacred, women raped, and a peaceful community leveled. It was as if the war had just ended yesterday. Korea was subjected to a brutal Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945. To a degree that Americans don’t understand, nerves are still raw in every Asian country the Japanese occupied before and during World War II. The debate about comfort women occurs against this emotional and historical background, in addition to the many factors that make it a charged issue in the West.
Mr. Abe has proposed to remove Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which commits Japan to permanent peaceful behavior, and to bolster Japan’s military. Both the constitutional provision and the military constraints are commitments never to return to Japan’s prewar, militaristic past. These efforts, and a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which contains the ashes of convicted war criminals, have further fueled Asian resentment. One can say that people in the region are obsessed about the past and should move on, but these issues are affecting the future-and American interests.
When the Japanese government purchased three of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in 2012 and made them government property, it touched off the current furor between Japan and China. An action by either party has resulted in an escalation by the other. Today, ships and aircraft of both countries regularly patrol the islands and come into close proximity, raising the risk of unintended conflict. China has declared an “air defense identification zone” in the area, which violates international law in the view of the United States. Our immediate response was to fly two B-52s through the disputed airspace. The United States is being drawn into the standoff between Japan and China, and our future role in the region, and even peace itself, depends upon a successful resolution.
Everyone in China is an ardent nationalist when it comes to the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. They believe that Japan takes a tough stand only because of American support, or worse yet, that Japan is actually a shill for us in our efforts to contain China. In China, my explanation that we are bound to Japan by a mutual defense treaty very similar to those we have with South Korea, Australia, and many European countries, and that the stability of important regions of the world depend on the credibility of these treaties, only sometimes wins a dissatisfied acceptance. This response is uniform, whether I’m talking with a taxi driver or to a group of otherwise progressive graduate students.
Add to this international situation the brew of domestic politics. There is no better way to improve the standing of any government than to find a foreign adversary. The contest between Japan and China makes each government more popular at home.
With respect to Mr. Abe and his series of irritants, ranging from comfort women to constitutional revision in a region still raw from World War II, our response must be both subtle and strong. Mutual defense treaties offer protection, but also provide restraint. Our treaties with South Korea, Taiwan, and West Germany implied that in exchange for protection, open conflict with North Korea, China, or East Germany, respectively, was off the table. Through the most nuanced means of communication, we should convey to the Abe Government that our mutual defense treaty requires cessation of all its provocative behaviors, including denying that comfort women existed, revising or reinterpreting Japan’s peace constitution, or visiting controversial sites sure to incite South Korea, China, and much of the rest of Asia. Most importantly, Japan must begin unconditional negotiations with China about the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and defuse this threat to peace.
We see Japanese revision of what happened to “comfort women” as a matter of history and atonement in one particular instance, but in Asia, it foreshadows a frightening resurgence of Japanese nationalism affecting all countries in the area. In order to exercise responsible American leadership and maintain regional stability, we must look at this one tragic issue and the many other related international events in that context, and also with a historical view that reaches back at least a century.