Commentary: Japan ought to honor terms dictated by Cairo Declaration

(Xinhua)    08:10, December 02, 2013

BEIJING, Dec. 1 — As the world is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Cairo Declaration Sunday, it is high time that Japan observed the terms dictated by the historic document.

On Dec. 1, 1943, the Cairo Declaration was broadcast in a communique on radio in Chongqing, Washington and London, setting the tone for an imminent end to the most destructive war in human history.

The landmark document, issued by China, the United States and Britain, voiced the determination of the Allies of World War II to continue military actions until Japan’s unconditional surrender.

It also set goals for the post-war order, in which Japan shall restore all the territories it has stolen from China, including Taiwan. The Diaoyu Islands, which for recent years Japan has claimed as its own territory, was then affiliated islands of Taiwan.

The Cairo Declaration serves as a cornerstone of the post-war order in East Asia. By incorporating history, international law and bilateral treaties, the document laid the foundation for regional peace.

On July 26, 1945, the Potsdam Declaration, issued by the United States,Britain and China, reaffirmed that the terms of the Cairo Declaration would be carried out, and stipulated that “The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.”

By signing the Instrument of Surrender a month later, Japan specifically accepted the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration, which incorporated the terms of the Cairo Declaration.

The normalization of Sino-Japanese relations was also achieved within the framework of the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Declaration. In the Sino-Japanese Joint Communique inked in 1972, Japan agreed that “it firmly maintains its stand under Article 8 of the Potsdam Declaration.”

Six years later, in the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978, the two countries pledged to strictly observe the principles in the joint communique, and vowed that “they will use peaceful means to settle all disputes and will refrain from the use of force or the threats of the use thereof.”

The post-war order in East Asia, which has weathered the vicissitudes of time, remains steadfast in its commitment to the restoration of territories seized or occupied by invaders, as well as the international status of those countries that fell victim to Japan’s aggressive war.

On such basis, East Asia has quickly emerged from the ashes of war to become enviable economic powerhouses of the world. Amid overall peace, Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore as well as many Southeast Asian countries and regions have witnessed spectacular growth in past decades.

The Cairo Declaration, as well as other related documents, have served as legal guardians for economic prosperity in East Asia.

To ignore these documents and allow the then militarist invaders maintain their stolen land would defy the post-war East Asian order, risk a resurgence of the once rampant Japanese militarism, and breed historical resentment in countries, on which Japan’s war of aggression had wreaked havoc.

China loves peace and needs a peaceful environment for its domestic development. It is Japan that has provoked the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, and heightened regional tension to challenge the post-war order.

Despite the strong opposition from China, Japan, on Sept. 10th last year, unilaterally announced its “nationalization” of the Diaoyu Islands, riding roughshod over the declaration.

Over the past year, Abe’s government has turned a blind eye to the evidence presented by the Chinese government and the testimony given by Japanese witnesses, and refused to recognize the agreement to “shelve the disputes” over the islands issue, which was struck by the two sides in 1970s.

If Japan would not even admit the dispute, how could dialogues and negotiations be launched to seek a settlement?

To amend Japan’s current pacifist peaceful constitution and beef up its military muscle is the major factor behind the Abe administration’s hell-bentness on having its own way.

As stipulated in its post-war pacifist constitution, Japan has no right to wage war. The so-called “China threat” is a lame excuse Japan has invented to break the restraints imposed by the constitution.

What’s more, the Abe administration takes an apathetic stand on war crimes Japan committed some 70 years ago.

Provocative remarks and actions, such as quibbling with the definition of “aggression”, sparing no efforts to revise the country’s war-renouncing constitution and visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, have been repeatedly brought up by the prime minister.

The dispute over Diaoyu Islands has thus borne heavily on Japan’s understanding on its aggressive and militarist past, its intention to amend the pacifist constitution and the post-war order in East Asia dictated by the Cairo Declaration.

The post-war order in East Asia and in the Asia-Pacific at large, as prescribed by the Cairo Declaration, serves not only as an warning and caution against the catastrophe of war and a penalty on war crime perpetrators, but also an important gateway toward the  hard-won regional peace, all of which entails a regular and in-depth review of the historic document.

(Editor:LiangJun、Zhang Qian)

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December 2, 2013 · 3:31 am

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