New Travel Rules, The Queen, and Japan’s Long Post-War Journey to Becoming a ‘Normal Country’

Today was the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II. The British monarch, who died at the age of 96, is honored and remembered as a friend of Japan.

After the end of World War II, when anti-Japanese sentiment was still strong, the queen deepened her relationship with the Japanese imperial family and played a leading role in her country’s reconciliation with the former enemy nation.

The British Empire, once ruler of the seven seas, collapsed after the two world wars, marking the end of colonialism.

By the time Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, the world had entered a new post-war era. Over 70 years of tireless dedication and loyal service to her country, the Queen has withstood various criticisms and strove to create a more open and accessible monarchy.

As liberty and democracy became the greatest virtues of the West, the Queen became a symbol of Commonwealth unity and the embodiment of the ideals of a constitutional monarchy in the modern world.

While the queen rests in peace, JAPAN Forward would like to pay tribute to her merits and wish her newly crowned son, King Charles III, every success at the age of 73.

Their Majesties, now Emeritus Emperor and Emeritus of Japan, with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in May 1998. (kyodo)

Japan’s road to normality

A state funeral will also be held in Japan on September 27 for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot dead by an assassin. But the opposition party turned his funeral into a political soccer game, rallying its few supporters for noisy demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s office.

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It’s baffling why some activists, politicians and media thought this was the best time to brandish anti-Abe slogans, as if inflicting pain on the feelings of those who wished to quietly mourn his death was their claim to accomplishment .

JAPAN Forward has published numerous articles about Abe’s assassination. One of them is a column by British analyst Peter Tasker entitled “The Abe Legacy: A Japan Empowered by Far-reaching Reforms” published on September 10th.

He touches on the relationship between Japanese politicians and the Unification Church, the religious group to which Abe’s assassin claims his own mother made a huge donation, leading to the collapse of his family.

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Notably, Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, gave up his anti-communism before he died in 2012, returned to North Korea, where he was born, set up a business there and received a posthumous tribute from Supreme Leader Kim Jong-. U.N. Tasker suggests that key Japanese politicians may have maintained ties with the Unification Church in order to have this “unofficial” direct channel to the Pyongyang regime.

Tasker concludes: “Japan’s journey to ‘normalcy’ – which includes agency in foreign policy, pride in its cultural heritage and possession of intelligence resources similar to those of other major democracies – continues. Shinzo Abe was killed when he had so much more to contribute, but it is hoped his legacy will be honored and enhanced.”

International flights are full again at Tokyo Haneda Airport

Reopening of Japan

Still the most read JAPAN Forward Article in the past two weeks was the article linked below reporting on the long-awaited decision by the Japanese government to relax border control measures against the coronavirus. What readers abroad want to know most is when and how to visit Japan.

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Other articles that caught readers’ attention deal with Japan’s national interests, including one on the Japanese government’s rush to produce long-range missiles domestically, another debunking the misconceptions surrounding the treatment of prisoners of war during World War II, and a third analyzing China’s dangerous economic situation.

Since the end of the war, both the United Kingdom and Japan have tried their own methods to free themselves from the curse of colonialism. The road to becoming a normal country that upholds freedom and democracy continues, but the two countries have come a long way together.

JAPAN Forward will continue to support Japan on its journey to normality, honoring Abe’s legacy and bringing the true voice of Japan to the world.

Look out for the next issue on October 10th.

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(Read the column in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Yasuo Naito, Editor-in-Chief, JAPAN Forward

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