Two anniversaries and six scenarios: East Asia’s outlook through 2020

In a much-anticipated address marking the 70th anniversary of Japan’s WW II surrender, the country’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: 'Japan has repeatedly expressed feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war.' (photo: dpa)
In a much-anticipated address marking the 70th anniversary of Japan’s WW II surrender, the country’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: 'Japan has repeatedly expressed feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war.' (photo: dpa)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's long-anticipated statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on August 14, 2015 was neither a breakthrough nor a failed attempt to whitewash Japan's history, as some critics have claimed. It should rather be seen as a carefully planned and executed act of diplomacy, seeking the middle ground with neighbouring powers China and South Korea in a credible and honest way. It is a measure of Mr Abe’s success that he pulled it off without losing the support of his political base, the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Mr Abe used all the key words that were expected in Beijing, Seoul and Washington; he talked of 'aggression' ...

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