How did Japan pursue reconciliation with China, the Republic of Korea and other Asian countries in the 70 years after the war
(1) 70 Years of Reconciliation with China
(1)(a) From the End of the War to Normalization of Diplomatic Relations
(1)China’s stance on Japan’s responsibility for the war has been consistently that of the “military-civilian dualism” since the end of World War II up until now. The idea is that China lays the onus of Japan’s war responsibility on a select group of militarists and does not hold Japanese civilians and ordinary soldiers responsible. The Chinese government took a stem attitude toward Japan in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the occupation policy on Japan, but allowed ordinary Japanese soldiers remaining in China after the war to leave for Japan after disarming them, along with civilians.
(1)Soon after the end of the war, when the People’s Republic of China was established in October 1949 and the Republic of China relocated to Taiwan, the two Chinese governments came to coexist in the world. Partly due to the request from the United States, Japan concluded the Treaty of Peace with the Republic of China in April 1952 and established diplomatic relations. The Republic of China waived reparations claims, and President Chiang Kai-shek announced his policy of “returning virtue for malice” toward Japan, based on the idea of “military-civilian dualism.” Chiang Kai-shek’s stance on Japan, as expressed by the term “returning virtue for malice (yi de bao yuan)” assumed the role of preventing the history issue from emerging in subsequent relations between Japan and the Republic of China. On the other hand, Taiwan was placed under martial law, with the constitution suspended until 1987. Chiang Kai-shek’s peace with Japan was thus not something that was
(1)achieved on the basis of consensus among its people. Personal exchanges between Japan and the Republic of China were also limited in the 1950s and the 1960s. While Japan and the Republic of China achieved peace in terms of diplomatic relations, there was no major breakthrough in reconciliation between the peoples of Japan and the Republic of China.
|Chinese President Meets Japanese Prime Minister|
(1)Meanwhile, turning to the People’s Republic of China, the one-party rule by the Communist Party of China was established by the mid-1950s, and the Communist Party introduced history education which was harsh on Japan, or so-called anti-Japanese education. However, like Chiang Kai-shek, Chairman Mao Zedong, in line with “military-civilian dualism,” held a select group of militarists responsible for Japan’s war against China, and made it clear that Japanese people were their victims. Despite Japan’s establishment of diplomatic ties with the Republic of China, instead of with the People’s Republic of China, lying behind Mao Zedong’s call for “military-civilian dualism” toward Japan were his intentions to draw Japanese people, particularly the civilian population, to China and push them toward creating a movement to recognize the People’s Republic of China in due course. He also had an intention to
(1)politically neutralize Japan in Asia by working with anti American activists and reformists within Japan. Under this policy set out by Mao Zedong, there were some exchanges, centering on private-sector trade, among the business community and people working for Japan-China friendship in the 1950s and the 1960s between Japan and the People’s Republic of China, even in the absence of official diplomatic ties.
(1)Relations between Japan and the two Chinas underwent significant changes from the latter half of the 1960s to the first half of the 1970s. After the Sino-Soviet border conflict arose over the Zhenbao Island in 1969, the People’s Republic of China, developing a sense of crisis with relations with the Soviet Union, made a sudden approach to the United States. After the People’s Republic of China gained a right to representation to the United Nations in 1971, Japan and the People’s Republic of China moved in earnest toward diplomatic normalization. U.S. President Richard Nixon made a visit to the People’s Republic of China in February 1972. Seven months later, in September 1972, Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka visited China and agreed to normalize diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, severing diplomatic ties with the Republic of China.
(1)(b) From Normalization of Diplomatic Relations to the Present
(1)In September 1972, Japan and the People’s Republic of China announced the Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, and normalized their diplomatic relations. In the Joint Communique, Japan stated that “The Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches itself” In response, the Government of the People’s Republic of China stated that it “declares that in the interest of the friendship between the Chinese and the Japanese peoples, it renounces its demand for war reparation from Japan.” Turning to China in the 1970s, the Cultural Revolution came to a close in 1976, and Deng Xiaoping assumed control and launched the reform and open-door policies in 1978. Then in 1978, Deng Xiaoping became China’s first top government leader to visit Japan and the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China was concluded. The treaty, which stated that Japan and China “confirm that... they shall in their mutual relations settle all disputes by peaceful means and shall refrain from the use or threat of force,” was an epoch-making one that committed the two countries that fought each other in World War II, to the building of a truly peaceful relationship. Amid these developments toward Japan-China friendship, Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira visited China in 1979, and subsequently Japan’s economic cooperation with China, worth as much as 3 trillion yen in total, was launched. With this economic cooperation at the core, Japan became an indispensable country for China’s economic development in the 1980s. With Deng Xiaoping regarding Japan as China’s economic mentor, the importance of Japan rapidly increased in China for both the government and its people.
(1)Thus, China increasingly deepened its reliance on Japan economically. However, Deng Xiaoping, while striving to enhance economic relations with Japan, came to underscore history, fearing that China’s young people would grow up without knowing what Japan had done in the past and forget history. This move strengthened after the history textbook issue occurred in 1982. It was in 1985 that the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall was constructed, and in 1987 that the Museum of Commemorating the Victory of Chinese People’s Resistance against Japan in Lugouqiao (the MarcoPoloBridge) was constructed. The basis of anti- Japanese education in China, which still continues now, was laid during this period under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. While anti-Japanese sentiments gradually grew stronger among Chinese people along with the increased consciousness of history in response to anti- Japanese education, amicable relations in the economic field offset the history issue, and public sentiments remained relatively favorable in both Japan and China in the 1980s. Though the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 significantly impaired Japanese people’s sentiments toward China, Japan paid extra consideration to China even after the Tiananmen Square incident, with the Government of Japan swiftly lifting economic sanctions against China in the early I 990s and His Majesty the Emperor visiting China in 1992.
(1)As shown by His Majesty the Emperor’s visit to China in 1992, Japan-China relations remained relatively favorable until the first half of the 1990s, despite a variety of twists and turns. However, the relations gradually changed after Jiang Zemin became president in 1993. As the Tiananmen Square incident occurred in 1989 and the Soviet Union and other socialist countries disappeared one after another from around the world in the wake of the end to the Cold War from the latter half of the 1980s to the early 1990s, a compelling question for the Communist Party of China was how to sustain the socialist system under the single-party rule. Against this backdrop, patriotic education emerged as a means of reinforcing the legitimacy of the Communist Party. The Communist Party of China provided more vigorous patriotic education than that which was provided under Deng Xiaoping, and the history with Japan, in particular, came to occupy a central position in patriotic education.
|Once war time enemies, relations between China and Japan were often quite cordial and pragmatic during the Cold War. The two countries normalized relations in 1972 and engaged in wide ranging cooperation, economic and political, from the late 1970s through the 1980s. [Wilson Center Digital Archive]|
(1)In Japan during this period, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was driven out of government for the first time, shaking up the 1955 system. In 1995, 50 years after the end of the war, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama issued a statement, in which he acknowledged that Japan, “through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations,” and expressed “my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology.” While Japan showed its humble attitude toward history, China, which was strengthening patriotic education, did not respond favorably to Japan’s attitude at that point in time. In the 1990s, China’s economy grew, and China’s economic dependence on Japan was declining.
(1)Also, a significant change occurred in Taiwan during this period. In Taiwan, the first- ever presidential election was held in 1996 and Lee Teng-hui became the first democratically elected president. There had been active exchanges between Japan and Taiwan, mainly in the economic field up until then. Taiwan’s democratization significantly improved Japan’s consciousness of Taiwan, and exchanges between Japan and Taiwan became rapidly closer thereafter with the help of Taiwan’s favorable feelings toward Japan.
(1)Anti-Japanese sentiments that mounted from the second half of the 1990s culminated in large-scale anti-Japanese demonstrations in China in 2005, triggered by Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine and the Japan-China confrontation over the reform of the United Nations Security Council, leaving big scars in Japan-China relations. However, the demonstrations gave rise to the momentum that something must be done for bilateral relations on both sides of Japan and China. In 2006, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Hu Jintao defined bilateral relations as a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests, and agreed to promote such a relationship. The confrontation between Japan and China over the perception of history that continued from the early 1 990s came to a pause, at least tentatively, with the confirmation of this mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests. In fact, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Japan in April 2007, he made it clear in his speech before the Japanese Diet that China continues to uphold “military-civilian dualism” and said that the Japanese Government and leaders have on many occasions “admitted that Japan had committed aggression and expressed deep remorse and apology to the victimized countries,” and “The Chinese Government and people appreciate the position they have taken.” On Japan’s path to peaceful development in the postwar period, he also said, “As a friendly neighbor of Japan, the Chinese people support the Japanese people in their continued pursuit of peaceful development.” This was China’s official response to the Murayama Statement and the 2005 Koizumi Statement, and can be interpreted as a juncture in Japan-China dialogue over the war and reconciliation. While the history issue remains a major concern in the present Japan- China relations, incumbent President Xi Jinping has clearly committed himself to the continuation of mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests between Japan and China.
(1)(c) Evaluation of the 70 Years of Reconciliation with China
(1)Looking back on the 70 years after the end of World War II, we can view them as the 70 years during which both Japan and China showed their attitudes toward reconciliation but their intentions failed to coincide fully.
(1)In the 1950s right after the end of the war as well as in the 1960s, when Chiang Kaishek displayed the spirit of “returning virtue for malice (yi de bao yuan)” and Mao Zedong articulated the idea of “military-civilian dualism,” discussions also gathered steam in Japan about Japan’s responsibility for the war as well as its remorse over the war. However, since Japan did not have diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China then, and personal exchanges with the Republic of China were only limited, reconciliation did not move forward in a manner where peoples from both sides interacted with each other. Conversely, by the time a measure of freedom of speech as achieved in China and democratization was achieved in Taiwan, discussions in Japan on remorse over the war and its war responsibility have receded than before. It was during this period that private-sector relations broadened. The years during which Deng Xiaoping regarded Japan as China’s economic mentor and Japan-China relations rapidly became closer, led by their economic ties in the 1980s, provided the two countries with an ideal opportunity to move forward toward reconciliation. At the same time, however, Deng Xiaoping made a decision to emphasize history between the two countries, preventing them from achieving significant progress in reconciliation. After the Tiananmen Square incident, Japan moved to forestall China’s isolation in the international community and announced the Murayama Statement on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. Nonetheless, these efforts on the Japanese side happened to overlap the years of Jiang Zemin, when China enhanced its patriotic education as a means of reinforcing the legitimacy of the Communist Party after the Cold War.
(1)While factors such as trends of the times unfortunately prevented Japanese and Chinese initiatives for reconciliation from falling into line, this does not mean that the efforts made so far on both sides came to nothing. The “Peace, Friendship, and Exchange Initiative” carried out by the Murayama administration on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of the war did help expand personal exchanges between the two countries. The JapanCenter for Asian Historical Records, established under the initiative, is still widely utilized by researchers of both countries who wish to deepen their understanding of history. Furthermore, Japan and China conducted a joint history research between 2006 and 2010. China has maintained “military-civilian dualism” after the end of the war. As Premier Wen Jiabao stated in his speech before the Japanese Diet in 2007, China made clear its stance of appreciating Japan’s remorse and apology over the war, which was expressed in the Murayama Statement and the Koizumi Statement.
(1)The mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests confirmed between Prime Minister Abe and President Hu Jintao in 2006 called for the promotion of personal exchanges between the two countries. In addition, President Xi Jinping clearly stated he would inherit and promote these principles. Going forward, it will become necessary to undertake work to move toward reconciliation with China by making exchanges at all levels much more active than before, on the basis of remorse over the past and reclosing the buttons done up incorrectly in the past.
(1)(2) 70 Years of Reconciliation with the Republic of Korea
(1)(a) From the End of the War to Normalization of Diplomatic Relations
(1)Japan’s colonial rule over the Republic of Korea for 35 years from 1910 on to the end of the war eased somewhat in the I 920s and achieved a measure of economic growth there, but became relentless from the latter half of the 193 Os. It was essential for the Republic of Korea, which had been under Japanese colonial rule, to deny and overcome prewar Japan in order to achieve its psychological independence. The Republic of Korea, which gained independence in 1948, tried to face Japan by participating in the San Francisco Peace Conference as a victorious nation. However, it was not allowed to participate in the peace conference, and as a consequence, the Republic of Korea started on the postwar path with uneasy national sentiments. Further complicating the position of the Republic of Korea was the fact that it had to cooperate with Japan as a member of the Western alliance in the international situation during the Cold War. On the same Korean Peninsula, North Korea, a member of the Eastern bloc was able to take a clear-cut stance of rejecting Japan. In contrast, the Republic of Korea was torn by a dilemma: while rationally Japan was a country it had to work with in the international politics, it was also a country which should be denied and overcome emotionally. The Republic of Korea’s policy toward Japan, it can be said, has wavered between this reason and sentiment over the 70 years after the end of the war.
(1)Japan and the Republic of Korea normalized their diplomatic relations after seven plenary rounds of negotiations that took as long as 14 years since preliminary negotiations were commenced in 1951. For the Republic of Korea, with the intersecting reason and emotion in its policy toward Japan, the normalization of diplomatic ties in 1965 was a rational decision by the government led by President Park Chung-hee. Under the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and on the Economic Cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Korea Japan provided the Park administration with its economic cooperation worth $500 million ($300 million in grant aid and $200 million in loan aid), which amounted to approximately one year and a half of the Republic of Korea’s national budget then. Article II of the Agreement states that the Contracting Parties confirm that the problem concerning property, rights and interests between the two countries “is settled completely and finally.”
(1)(b) From Normalization of Diplomatic Relations to the Present
(1)In the relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea while President Park Chung Hee was in office, there were incidents that aroused national sentiments of the Korean people, such as the abduction of Kim Dae-jung and an assassination attempt on President Park Chung-hee. Nonetheless, Japan-Republic of Korea relations stayed relatively stable under the realistic approach taken by PresidentPark, who gave much weight to cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Korea under the Cold War. Even after the assassination of President Park Chung-hee, relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea went into the period for the development of stable cooperative ties from the latter half of the 1970s to the 1980s. In the 1980s in particular, Prime Minister Nakasone, who proactively sought to strengthen relations between the two countries, agreed with President Chun Doo-hwan on Japan’s economic cooperation worth $4 billion. The subsequent visit to Japan by President Chun Doo-hwan helped relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea to move forward significantly. The progress in the bilateral relations in this period can be partly explained by the fact that in the international situation under the Cold War, both Japan and the Republic of Korea overcame a variety of difficulties and reached rational judgment.
(1)The Republic of Korea achieved democratization in 1987 and successfully hosted the Seoul Olympics in 1988, raising its status in the international community with its economic growth. Democratization and the disappearance of the authoritarian political system removed obstacles to rethinking its relations with Japan emotionally instead of with reason. During this period, the comfort women issue attracted attention. Japan announced the Kono Statement and the Murayama Statement, and carried out projects by the Asian Women’s Fund (AWF) for former Korean comfort women from the early 1990s to the mid-1990s, stepping up efforts to reduce the distance between Japan and the Republic of Korea. Subsequently, Kim Dae-jung, who assumed the presidency in 1998, and Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi announced the “Japan-Republic of Korea Joint Declaration: A New Japan- Republic of Korea Partnership towards the Twenty-first Century,” in which they agreed that the two countries would build a future-oriented relationship and raise bilateral relations to a higher dimension on this basis. In the Japan-Republic of Korea partnership declaration, Prime Minister Obuchi, “looking back on the relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea during this century, regarded in a spirit of humility the fact of history that Japan caused, during a certain period in the past, tremendous damage and suffering to the people of the Republic of Korea through its colonial rule, and expressed his deep remorse and heartfelt apology for this fact.” In response, President Kim “accepted with sincerity this statement of Prime Minister Obuchi’s recognition of history and expressed his appreciation for it. He also expressed his view that the present calls upon both countries to overcome their unfortunate history and to build a future-oriented relationship based on reconciliation as well as good- neighborly and friendly cooperation.”
(1)However, the favorable relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea went through a sea change under the administration of President Roh Moo-hyun, who succeeded Kim Dae-jung. A large number of officials in the Roh administration were from the “386 Generation.” People of the “386 Generation,” who were born in the 1960s, graduated from university in the 1980s and were in their 30s in the 1990s, were the generation who rebelled greatly against the authoritarian government that gave much weight to reason and oppressed domestic emotions in the 1980s. Once within the Roh administration, they pursued extremely anti-Japanese ideas. At first, President Roh appeared rational in the early years of his presidency, agreeing with Prime Minister Koizumi on the shuttle diplomacy between the top government leaders. However, placed under pressure from the public opinion, President Roh came to demand apology and remorse from Japan, and also referred to the necessity of compensation in his speech in March 2005 at the ceremony to commemorate the March First independence movement. The administration of President Roh Moo-hyun changed its policy toward Japan, partly because the “386 Generation” laid out anti-Japanese arguments within the administration but there was also an aspect of the developments in Japan around that time arousing public sentiments in the Republic of Korea. Furthermore, while exchanges between peoples of Japan and the Republic of Korea increased through the 2002 FlFA World Cup and the Korean boom in Japan, frustration against each other also built up among both Japanese and Korean peoples. When mutual exchanges initially increased, Korean people, who had expected the Japanese to have the same ideas as theirs, felt betrayed and even felt resentment as their differences in sensitivity became apparent over time about the history issue and various other issues. However, these were not one-way feelings that only the Koreans had toward the Japanese. Japanese people, who similarly had expected Korean people to have the same ideas, increased their grievances against the Koreans upon seeing them impassively attempt to overturn the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea and being astonished by the difference in the thinking about the rule of law.
(1)When the administration of President Lee Myung-bak was installed as the first conservative government in 10 years in 2008, Japan hoped that President Lee would opt for a policy based on reason toward Japan and work to improve bilateral relations harmed under the administration of President Roh Moo-hyun. In his early years in office, President Lee appeared poised to manage relations with Japan rationally, as he sought to promote stronger ties with Japan and the United States and agreed to the launch of the Joint History Research by Japan and the Republic of Korea (the Second Phase (the First Phase was 2002-2005)). However, after the Constitutional Court of Korea ruled in August 2011 that the government of the Republic of Korea’s failure to negotiate with Japan on the comfort women issue was unconstitutional, President Lee’s policy toward Japan made an about-face, and he came to deal with Japan by bringing national sentiments to the fore. At the Japan-Republic of Korea summit meeting in December 2011, President Lee demanded that Japan show sincerity on the comfort women issue. In August 2012, he landed on Takeshima, and in the last days of the administration of President Lee, Japan-Republic of Korea relations slipped into its worst shape ever. While Japan had no intention on its side to compound the Takeshima issue, President Lee’s unilateral actions ended up hardening Japan’s attitude.
(1)Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea deteriorated in the latter half of the administration of President Lee Myung-bak, and there have been no signs of improvement in bilateral relations even after the change of administration in the Republic of Korea to that of President Park Geun-hye. Instead of moving to mend bilateral relations impaired under the administration of President Lee Myung-bak, PresidentPark is pushing ahead with the emotion-based diplomacy toward Japan from the outset of her administration, and making it clear that she does not intend to seek any progress in bilateral relations unless Japan compromises on the recognition of history. While her two predecessors, , Presidents Roh Moo-hyun and Lee Myung-bak, tried to promote cooperative relations with Japan based on reason at least in the early years in office, President Park brought emotions to the fore from the outset of her presidency and is regarded as a president with the harshest attitude toward Japan. Partly explaining her attitude is her personal attachment to the comfort women issue and the significant domestic influence of anti-Japanese organizations, such as the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. In addition, it can be pointed out that, with the importance of China gaining in the Republic of Korea, the importance of cooperation with Japan in international politics is dwindling. The importance of China increased against the backdrop of the Republic of Kora’s rising economic reliance on China as well as the rising expectations on China in the Korean Peninsula unification issue.
(1)(c) Evaluation of the 70 Years of Reconciliation with the Republic of Korea
(1)Looking back on the 70 years after the end of the war, one can see that while the rational thinking of the Republic of Korea’s view of Japan provided a boost to realistic cooperative relations with Japan, emotions that heightened the negative historical recognition of Japan proved to be an obstacle to the progress in bilateral relations. It can be said that the answer to the question of what we must do to accomplish yet-to-be-achieved reconciliation with the Republic of Korea is for Japan to work on both the reason and emotions of the Republic of Korea.
(1)In terms of the approach to reason, it is necessary to reconfirm why favorable relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea are necessary for both Japan and the Republic of Korea. The need for this approach is also apparent in view of the current situation where the administration of PresidentPark finds no significance in dealing with Japan rationally, as it increased reliance on China and downgraded Japan. In order to do this, it is necessary to have repeated dialogue repeatedly with the Republic of Korea on the importance of each other, not only by focusing on aspects that the two countries are neighbors who share values such as freedom, democracy and market economy, but also by using specific examples that demonstrate how bilateral economic ties and cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Korea in the security area of the Asia-Pacific region are important for the prosperity and stability of the region as well as the entire world. PresidentPark’s hardline stance toward Japan is showing some signs of change recently, and dialogue between the business communities of the two countries remains active. Given these developments, it can be said that there is room for expanding intergovernmental dialogue as well.
(1)In terms of the approach to emotions, it is true that particularly in the 1990s, Japan made efforts by announcing the Kono Statement and the Murayama Statement and also through the Asian Women’s Fund. Furthermore, it is also true that the Republic of Korea showed a measure of appreciation when the Japanese side made these efforts. Despite these developments, the negative views of Japan regarding history linger strongly within the Republic of Korea even now, and the government reflects such domestic opinions in its policy toward Japan. Looking back on such developments, it is only natural that regardless of how much effort Japan makes and how much the government of the Republic of Korea at the time appreciates it, there will still be concerns that history may be repeated, in that a future government of the Republic of Korea will deny the past efforts made by Japan. Nonetheless, there would be no hope for progress in bilateral relations if nothing is done to deal with the antipathy toward Japan that still lingers within the Republic of Korea. In the Japan-Republic of Korea Partnership Declaration of 1998, Prime Minister Obuchi expressed his deep remorse for tremendous damage and suffering caused to the people of the Republic of Korea through its colonial rule. In response, President Km accepted with sincerity this statement of Prime Minister Obuchi’s recognition of history, expressed his appreciation for it, and also expressed his view that the present called upon both countries to overcome their unfortunate history to build a future-oriented relationship based on reconciliation as well as good-neighborly and friendly cooperation. Nevertheless, given that the government of the Republic of Korea subsequently moved “the goalpost” in the history issue, we need to ask the government of the Republic of Korea to think together about a way to accomplish the lasting reconciliation. It is necessary for the governments of both Japan and the Republic of Korea to get together and consider how to deal with the national sentiments of the people of the Republic of Korea for genuine reconciliation between the two countries, develop measures for reconciliation, and share the responsibility for them.
(1)(3) 70 Years of Reconciliation with Southeast Asia
(1)(a) 70 Years of Reconciliation with Southeast Asia
(1)The period of 10 to 15 years since the end of World War II in 1945 was when many countries gained independence, and momentum for self-determination mounted in Southeast Asia. In Southeast Asia, all the countries except for Thailand had been colonized by Western powers by the end of the 19th century, and were under Japan’s rule during World War II. Therefore, a pressing issue for Southeast Asian countries at the time of their independence was to achieve economic development and become self-reliant both in name and in reality. After the war, the world entered the Cold War, which was fought between the liberal system and the socialist system. In Southeast Asia however, the focal point in the choice of the system was not between communism and democracy, but how to realize nation-building and economic development. Under these circumstances, the developmental dictatorships emerged one after another in Southeast Asia, with these governments leading the nation-building and economic development initiatives in a top-down approach. Many countries in Southeast Asia opted for the path of the top-down nation-building and economic development, including the government of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat launched in Thailand in 1957, the government of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore following its independence in 1965, the government of President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines launched in 1965, and the government of President Mohamed Suharto in Indonesia established in 1966. In Indochina, meanwhile, wars continued throughout the Cold War, with the region’s full-fledged economic development starting only after the end of the Cold War.
(1)Japan proceeded with reconciliation with Southeast Asian countries by concluding agreements on reparations or quasi reparations. For Southeast Asian countries that regarded economic development as their top priority at the time, war reparations from Japan and its subsequent economic cooperation were of extremely huge significance and played a major part in reconciliation between Japan and Southeast Asia. In addition, Japanese companies also increased direct investment in and technological transfers to Southeast Asian countries since the 1 970s. Their deployment of cross-border production networks furthered the relationship of economic interdependence between Japan and Southeast Asia, and personal exchanges centering on the economic field became active, with rconciliation among peoples of Japan and Southeast Asia also making headway.
In the 1970s, however, there was a backlash against Japan’s economic advances in Southeast Asian countries, leading to anti-Japan demonstrations and anti-Japan rioting during the Southeast Asian tour by Prime Minister Tanaka in 1974. In response to these developments, Prime Minister Fukuda announced the “Fukuda Doctrine” in 1977. The “Fukuda Doctrine” provided Southeast Asian countries with a great sense of reassurance by pledging that Japan would never become a military power, build “the heart-to-heart relationship of mutual trust” with Southeast Asian countries and contribute to the peace and prosperity of the entire Southeast Asian region. The Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting, which was launched in 1977 and marked its 17th meeting in 2014, has become what symbolizes that relations between Japan and Southeast Asia have been steadily enhanced since the 1970s.
The Philippines and Indonesia had the issue of comfort women during World War II with Japan. Reconciliation over the issue made significant progress thanks to activities of the Asian Women’s Fund in the 1990s. The atonement money from the Asian Women’s Fund was paid, medical and welfare support projects by the Japanese government were implemented, and letters of apology from the Japanese prime minister were delivered to the victims in the Philippines. Projects to promote social welfare for the elderly were implemented in Indonesia. Through these activities, anti-Japan sentiments caused by the comfort women issue calmed down significantly in these countries..
(b) Evaluation of the 70 Years of Reconciliation withSoutheast Asia
In comparison with Japan’s relations with China and the Republic of Korea, relations between Japan and Southeast Asia have been improved and enhanced significantly over the past 70 years. The background to this development is that while Japan was indeed the enemy in the eyes of the peoples of China and the Republic of Korea through their harsh experiences with the war and the colonial rule,Japan was not regarded as the primary enemy in the national narratives of Southeast Asian countries. There were still many people in Southeast Asia who suffered great hardships under Japan’s rule. However, for peoples of Southeast Asian countries who experienced the long years of colonial rule by Western powers,Japan came as the second or third colonial power, and as a consequence all the hardships under the colonial rule and the war were not totally blamed on Japan.
As former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once said, “Forgive, but never forget” about Japan’s misdeeds during World War II, Southeast Asian countries do remember that Japan had done terrible things to them during the war, and we must keep this in mind. In the 1930s,Japan tried to build an empire against the mounting movement of self- determination since World War I across the world, and made a fatal mistake in its national policy in clashing with nationalism in Asia and also making an enemy of Britain, the United States, and other Western powers, thereby doing harm to the peoples of Asia.
In Indonesia, there were cases where former Japanese soldiers who remained after the end of the war fought for the country’s independence. Nevertheless we must never forget that not a small number of people in Southeast Asia lost their families and relatives as well as friends and suffered tremendously at the hands of Japan during the war, including the Philippines and Singapore, which suffered a huge number of victims. Currently,Japan and Southeast Asia enjoy very friendly relations, but their experiences are being inherited in their national narratives among the peoples of Southeast Asian countries.
The countries in Southeast Asia are aware that Japan has consistently pursued a peaceful path since the end of the war and contributed to the development of Asian countries, and place much importance on their relations with Japan. Some leaders of Southeast Asian countries often say, “Japan is always there to support us and that is the most important thing.” When the Asian Financial Crisis erupted in the latter half of the 1990s and many Southeast Asian countries were on the verge of collapse, Japan provided massive financial support and made no small contribution to their economic reconstruction. If we arc to cite the most recent examples, Indonesian President Joko Widodo chose Japan as the first country to visit in Asia after assuming the presidency. President Aquino of the Philippines, a county that became Japan’s battlefield and suffered a large number of victims during World War II, stated in his address to the Japanese Diet, “The War was devastating for all of us; there was bitterness on all sides for the suffering that occurred. However, prom its ashes, the relationship between our peoples was reborn like a phoenix.” We need to further strengthen cooperative relations with Southeast Asia while treasuring the confidence in Japan cultivated in Southeast Asia over the 70 years since the end of the war, and at the same time, face the bitter experiences peoples of Southeast Asia had gone through during the war and kept in their hearts with humility.