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The Empire’s New Asian Clothes

  Then offer a deep bow to conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a man eager to turn the Japanese military into an ever less defensive force, fully breach his country’s “peace constitution,” and assumedly someday end Japan’s “nuclear allergy” when it comes to a future weapons program. In the process, rising tensions with and increasingly belligerent acts by China have proven helpful domestically. And give Abe special credit for the provocative way he’s been using history to push his domestic agenda and increase those regional tensions. In late December, as his first year in office ended, he paid a 30-minute visit to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine for Japan’s war dead, where 14 convicted war criminals from World War II are buried. Both the Chinese and the Koreans, brutally mistreated by Japan in those years, were horrified and angered, though Abe, having purposely stuck the needle in, denied that his visit had anything to do with honoring war criminals.

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