By Xinhua Writer Zhu Dongyang
BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Instead of making a genuine reconciliatory gesture to Washington, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's surprise announcement to visit the U.S. Pearl Harbor seems to harbor a deceptive design too calculative to wipe off Japan's original sins on history.
Abe, who will be accompanied by U.S. President Barack Obama on his visit, will become the first serving Japanese prime minister to visit the site of the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Japan's brutality then and later dragged the United States into World War II, claiming the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians.
Abe's intention is as clear as daylight: to relieve Japan of its past war debts to the United States and promote in Washington and the whole country the illusory image of a loyal ally and devoted peacekeeper.
Tokyo's calls for a reassuring military alliance with Washington are becoming increasingly imperative, as the outgoing Obama administration will soon be replaced by the defiant billionaire Donald Trump, who in May denounced on Twitter Japan's "sneak attack on Pearl Harbor" that caused "thousands of American lives lost."
But it is prudent to judge a person not only by his words, but also his deeds. Abe by no means intends to serve as a committed "peacekeeper" or play a constructive role in the U.S. Asia strategy as he claimed, as shown by his reckless efforts to scrap Japan's pacifist constitution, lift the ban on Japanese forces to combat overseas, and renounce any possibility to apologize for his country's heinous invasions.
As for speculations that Abe's upcoming visit merely reciprocates Obama's May visit to Hiroshima, a Japanese city razed to the ground by the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing, it needs to be made clear that Obama has been unable to bring about a historical reconciliation with the island country.
During his eight-year term in the Oval Office, Obama failed to prevent his country's Asian ally from instigating trouble with its neighbors through provocative words and deeds.
As a new slap in the face of the Obama administration, Japan said after announcing Abe's Pearl Harbor visit that the Japanese leader will not apologize for his nation's attack 75 years ago.
It has sparked speculation what motive behind Abe's visit is, especially after White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that he is "confident that many (war veterans and survivors of World War II ) will set aside their own personal bitterness ... because they recognize how important this moment is for the United States."
It is a fact that Tokyo will never become fully trustworthy in the international community without sincere repentance for its past war brutalities; nor can it salvage its reputation through any backdoor deals for self-serving purposes.
For those U.S. veterans who lost their lives in Pearl Harbor while defending their country more than seven decades ago, ultimate closure may come only when Japan sincerely repents for its wartime atrocities and makes reparations.