Poll: Majority of Japanese agree to reflect on past
[ 2007-01-26 18:20 ]
Japan's Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe (front L) and first lady Akie Abe disembark from a plane
at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, October 8,
While nearly 80 percent of Japanese say they are patriotic, most of
that majority say their country should own up to, and reflect on, its
record of aggression in Asia, according to a poll published in a newspaper
The Asahi Shimbun said 78 percent of 1,805 respondents to the December
2-3 poll felt at least some degree of patriotism. The figure was slightly
lower than the 80 percent recorded in a similar poll conducted in April
2005, the daily said.
At the same time, 88 percent of those claiming to be patriots said
Japanese must consider their country's militaristic past and brutal
colonial rule in Asia, the Asahi said.
The results reflect public concerns about Japanese friction with China
and South Korea over their shared history, the Asahi said.
Japan's relations with its Asian neighbors have often been poor because
of Tokyo's lack of contrition for its aggression and harsh colonial rule
in the first half of the 20th century.
Repeated visits by former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to the
Yasukuni Shrine that honors war criminals from World War II have further
strained those ties.
The Shinzo Abe government has pursued a policy agenda aimed at
bolstering Japan's international military role.
However, Japan's relations with China and South Korea have improved
after Abe took power in September last year. His first overseas trips as
prime minister were to Beijing and Seoul and there have been several
initiatives in recent months to thaw ties.