by Liu Tian, Liu Xiuling
TOKYO, March 17 (Xinhua) -- For those Japanese who experienced Japan's aggressive war against China and other Asian countries seven decades ago, their time is ticking away, pressing them harder than ever to tell the young about the bitter past through asking Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to admit the aggressive history for developing friendship with neighbors.
"The memory on war is very superficial in the Japanese society as those who experienced the war are fading away. So, it much depends on the society and the country to have a correct education on history so as to make the younger generation maintain a proper historical perception," Nobuo Iwamoto, 85, told Xinhua.
Iwamoto from Saitama city in Saitama Prefecture., who was forced by the Japanese Imperial Army to work at an industrial school in the puppet Manchu State in 1945, said that although he went to China only three months before Japan's surrender, his work in helping the Japanese army means he was involved in the war.
"The war Japan waged is an aggressive war and this is why we were in China. But the term of 'aggression' is deleted from our textbook because of the government's policies," said Iwamoto, stressing: "We have to convey the truth to the next generation and the textbook should have the expression that 'Japan waged aggressive war in the past.'"
"Anyway, Japan has to offer apology for its past wrongdoings," Iwamoto said.
Takeshi Hashimura, 83, went to China in 1943 and was a student in the so-called Manchu State. "I was taught militarism when I was in school," he told Xinhua, "but I found it is wrong after the war. "
Hashimura stayed in China until 1953 and helped China complete the railway linking Tianshui and Lanzhou in the northwest province of Gansu. "It could be a little compensation to China for what Japan had done," said the old, who endeavors his postwar life in improving cultural exchanges between the two countries.
His wartime experiences make him disgust with Abe's rightwing politics and historical revisionism. "Japan should learn from Germany. Germany conducts a thorough reflection to history and then reconciled with France and other neighbors," he said.
"What Japan is doing right now is regrettable," he added.
Hisao Shintaku, who was born in 1935 in Changchun, the then " capital" of the puppet Manchu State, left China at the age of 17 and sees China as his second home.
"Abe was born in the postwar time. He never tastes the bitter of war. He, however, inherits his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi's wrong historical perception that denies aggression and the ruling of the Tokyo Tribunal," said Shintaku.
"Such wrong perception influences some young people under the current Abe administration," he said.
Japanese young people are inactive toward politics, and they think what is happening is irrelevant to them, he noted.
"It is wrong. If there is war again, it will be them to fight in the battlefield," Shintaku said, encouraging the young to voice opposition to Abe's attempt to engage war through revising the pacifist Constitution and exercising the right to collective defense.
"We old people are puny in influence. But we can not let the Abe administration do whatever it wants to do," he said. "I believe in a Chinese saying that a single spark can start a prairie fire, we need to prevent the situation from further worsening."
All the three war-experienced hoped that Abe could uphold the Murayama Statement, released by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on Aug. 15, 1995 in which he apologized for the damage and suffering caused Japan to its Asian neighbors, in his new war anniversary statement scheduled this summer.
They all agree that historical reflection is the foundation to develop friendship with neighboring countries and only the correct perception over Japan's wartime past could lead to generations of peace.