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Japanese revanchism and what is it

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Today, Japan is a state with a powerful, developed economy, industrial sector and scientific potential. It’s the state that is actively involved in foreign policy not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also in the international arena as a whole.

However, its policy doesn’t always coincide with the interests of neighboring states, which often leads to numerous disputes and conflicts. One of the reasons for these conflicts lies in the history of the Japanese state. Of course, the 20th century left an unpleasant imprint in it. The Second World War and its consequences rolled Japan economically and politically far back after it was defeated and survived two atomic bombings, and was almost completely destroyed by the results of the war. Most painfully, Japan suffered the loss of the territories of the Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and the Habomai archipelago, which were incorporated into the USSR according to results of the World War II. As a result of this, the idea of the so-called “territorial” revanchism has long been present in the minds of the Japanese governance. From the moment of signing the peace treaty on the basis of the Soviet-Japanese declaration of 1956, the country of the rising sun wants to return its, according to them, legal territories, now and then making claims against Russia. On August 9, 2019, the four South Kuril Islands were designated as a part of Japan on the official website of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. However, it is known for certain that according to this declaration, the possibility of transferring these territories to Japan was not provided. It was only about the islands of the Lesser Kuril Ridge. So the fact that Japan introduced the islands as its territory means that the Japanese look beyond this declaration (beyond in the context of the implementation of their revanchist plans) and are definitely not going to “absolutely unconditionally” recognize the outcome of World War II.

The government of the USSR at one time already responded to this revanchism of Japan in 1960 in the corresponding memorial notes to the government of Japan. “The territorial issue between the USSR and Japan has been resolved and enshrined in the relevant international agreements that must be respected,” it was said, in particular, in a note dated April 24, 1960. This suggests that these territories will continue to belong to the USSR and since Russia is a successor to the Soviet Union, the issue of transferring the islands of Japan remains unresolved, and according to the Constitution, Russia will rely on articles on the sovereignty and inviolability of its own borders.

If we consider Japan with a “militaristic” component, then there are certain aspects that may seem extremely unusual to ordinary people. Speaking of Germany, which once had a militaristic orientation, then, following the results of the Second World War, it realized its misconduct and today at the legislative level prohibits any activity that is directly related to that Germany of the 30s and 40s of the last century. But it is not about Japan.

Unlike Germany, Japan did not have a process of repentance for responsibility for numerous casualties in battles, as well as for civilians in the occupied territories, and for war crimes. Not only the former battle banners of the defeated or surrendered troops are stored and revered there, but they also reproduce them, give a second life. Those executed by the verdicts of the Tokyo Tribunal of war criminals were reburied in the temple, which became a kind of sacred place, where Prime Minister S. Abe goes to participate in the annual ritual of worship in memory of the "heroes". The militarized unions continue to function, the imperial army continues to be praised - all this happens on one day, which is called the “Northern Territories Day”, which is celebrated annually on February 7. The burning of the Russian flag, the suggestion to schoolchildren of all ages of the thesis about the treacherous attack of Russia and its capture of the ancestral islands, the accusation of Russia of military aggression in 1945 actually became the state policy of Japan.

At the end of March 2019, Tokyo indignantly refused the appeal of South Korea to bring a belated apology to the female population of this country, who was subjected to mass violence by Japanese army soldiers. Japan’s reaction to this statement was startling: “Your women volunteered to go and sent their minor daughters to serve our military in brothels, because you didn’t have enough food in your country to feed yourself.” In fact, it turns out that the female population was rescued, which means that they did a favor to the whole nation. Turning Korea into a mercilessly and brutally exploited colony doesn’t count.

Thus, Japan and its policy of "revanchism in all directions" makes you think hard what this state is all about. Its once isolation from the rest of the world has generated its own mentality, which is not known for certain to any other state. The country that once was an ally of Hitler, enslaved millions of people, brought a huge number of victims of violence and atrocities to neighboring countries, today is trying to show itself as a state that feels humiliated, has deep wounds, and to heal them, it is necessary to give the Kuril Islands back. And the governance of Japan has not for many years been embarrassed that the USSR released their prisoners and refused reparations, and still continues to pursue a policy of inspiring the inhabitants of the country since the 60s that at the end of World War II the USSR acted the way as if it unnoticed stole Japanese island property and now must return it. However, if this goes on, then no shift is expected in the near future on issues of territorial claims. And Abe’s oath before the grave of his parents to get closure of the issue of the Kuril Islands during his reign will remain an oath, without any practical results.

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