BEIJING, Sept. 27 - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in New York Friday that he is "open to dialogue" with neighbors, but it is only an empty gesture given his unchanged stance on the Diaoyu Islands.
For Japan, it needs to take real actions to mend the troubled relations with its neighbors, but what Abe has done since he took office only dragged the ties to a new low.
It is strange that the current Japanese government regards its right-leaning attitude, which raised concerns among neighbors on a revival of its militarist past, as a badge of honor rather than a shame.
A series of provocations, such as a morbid bid to revise Japan's pacifist constitution to make the Self-Defense Forces a full national army, the farce of "nationalizing" the Diaoyu Islands, and a green light to cabinet members to worship the notorious Yasukuni Shrine where the spirit tablets of 14 Class-A war criminals rest, has repeatedly tested the nerves of the Asian people.
The Abe government is driving its country in the opposite direction of the global trend, which seeks rapprochement, common ground and mutual benefit.
A courageous reflection on history and a sincere attitude are indisputably the basic preconditions for mending fences between Japan and its neighbors.
If Japan wants to be a "proactive contributor to peace" in an interconnected global security environment, as Abe claims, it really needs to reflect on its appalling record of military aggression and convince the world it is truly a peace-lover.