The 70th anniversary since the end of WWII gave rise to confrontation over the interpretation of the Japanese war in Asia and the Pacific, showing that history and memories of war are still a contentious issue, both inside and outside Japan. This confrontation involves the victims of Japan’s colonialism and the enemies of the past as well as the alliances and antagonisms of the present, affecting the delicate strategic balance in the region. In order to both meet different expectations and constraints, and balance political imperatives with the lenient view of Japan’s wartime past supported by the prime minister Abe Shinzo - , the latter established an advisory panel whose task was to look into historical issues of the XX century and Japan’s contribution to world order in the XXI century, in the face of the statement expected on August 15th, the anniversary of Japan’s surrender. The narrative of wartime history underlying the advisory panel’s report and the prime minister’s statement clearly shows that the process of Japan’s reconciliation with its Asian neighbors as well as with its painful past is still far from concluded.
Keywords: Japan, Historical revisionism, Public use of history, Collective memory