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Posted : 2014-02-28 17:03
Updated : 2014-02-28 17:03

'Shinzo Abe trying to revive militarism'

Kim Hak-joon, president of the Northeast Asian History Foundation, gesticulates during an interview, Thursday.
/ Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

Japan does not deserve UNSC permanent seat


By Chung Min-uck


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other right wing politicians are conspiring to revive a militaristic spirit, first espoused by Yoshida Shoin and promoted by Ito Hirobumi at the height of the country's expansionist movement, a noted scholar said Thursday.

"It's a mistake to attribute their provocations to domestic political needs," said Kim Hak-joon, president of the Northeast Asian History Foundation (NAHF), in an interview marking the 95th anniversary of the March 1, 1919 Independence Movement.

"The Shoin spirit had been simmering under the surface before bursting out through Abe," Kim said.

Shoin was a 19th century Japanese philosopher who promoted Japan's military adventurism in an imitation of western colonial powers. Hirobumi was one of his disciples leading the militaristic takeover of Japan and invasion of China. He was assassinated by An Jung-geun, a Korean independence fighter.

"Not to speak of China, we must keep in step with Southeast Asians countries who suffered from Japan's imperial aggression and isolate Japan from the global community," said Kim. "Otherwise, we will possibly face another disaster."

Specifically speaking, he said Japan's ongoing attempt to become a permanent member of the veto-wielding United Nations Security Council (UNSC) must be thwarted at any cost.

Especially, he accented the important role Korea should play, saying that the extension of the Shoin ideology poses an existential threat.

"Japan historically tends to think of the Korean Peninsula as its old territory that must be retaken," the NAHF president said. "This is the essence of understanding Japan, that the country will never be Korea's partner for coexistence and mutual development."

Bilateral ties have reached a new low as Abe is trying to revoke an apology for sex slavery forced upon Korean women during its imperial occupation, while laying claims to Dokdo, Korea's eastern most islets.

Relations soured further after Abe went to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors Japan's war dead, including 14 Class-A war criminals, in December, the first visit in seven years by a prime minister.

Kim also stressed the importance of reaching out to "sensible" intellectuals and politicians in Japan.

"The Kono and Murayama Statements reflect the collective and intellectual conscience of Japan," he said.

In 1993, then Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono publicly acknowledged that the Japanese military was involved in the "coercion" of sex slaves and apologized. It was highly regarded as opening up an era of sustainable relations between the two countries.

Two years later in 1995, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who recently visited Seoul, issued the Murayama Statement and acknowledged Japan's wartime aggression and apologized for the atrocities it had committed.

Kim asserted that Korea's independence movement should be called a "revolution."

"The March 1 Independence Movement represents the biggest national uprising against the Japanese colonial rulers," he said. "And it later led to the founding of Korea's interim government in April the same year, a jump from a lost kingdom to a republic."

"Americans call their independence war the American Revolution. Why don't we call it the March 1 Revolution?" he added.

"When we mark our 100th anniversary of the movement in 2019, I hope it will be called the March 1 Revolution."

Kim was as a politics professor at SNU and also served as president of the University of Incheon from 1996-2000. He then became the chairman of the Donga Ilbo, one of nation's major dailies, from 2001-2010.

관련 한글 기사

"아베, 군국주의적 발상 부활시키려 한다"

김학준 동북아역사재단 이사장은 27일 3.1절을 맞아 본지와 가진 인터뷰에서 일본의 아베 신조(安倍晋三) 정권의 잇따른 우경화 행보가 단순히 국내 정치적 목적이 아닌 과거 군국주의로 회귀하려는 발상에서 비롯됐다고 경고했다.

그는 “일본은 늘 한반도를 자기들이 되찾아야 할 고토(故土)로 여기고 있다”며 현 일본 지도층의 사상적 뿌리를 일본 우익사상의 창시자 요시다 쇼인(吉田松陰) (1830-1859)에서 찾았다.

요시다는 정한론(征韓論)과 대동아공영론(大東亞公營論)을 주창했던 에도막부 말기의 사상가로 아베가 과거에 자신이 가장 존경하는 인물로 꼽기도 했다.

김 이사장은 더 나아가 “그렇지 않고서야 어떻게 2차 대전 때 저지른 만행을 부정하고 대동아 전쟁을 일으킨 1급 전범들이 합사된 야스쿠니 신사를 참배할 수 있는가”라며 “중국은 물론 일본에 피해를 본 많은 동남아국가들과 공동보조를 맞추어 아베의 일본을 국제사회에서 고립시켜야 한다”고 말했다.

정민욱 기자/


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