Young Japanese Drift to the Right

Young people in Japan are being swept along on a wave of resurgent rightwing sentiment set in motion by the Abe administration.

The Asahi Shimbun reported on Sunday that 33 percent of twenty-somethings in Japan believe the Pacific War was not a war of aggression, compared to 28 percent in their thirties and 24 percent in their 40s and 50s.

The proportion of those who believe Japan did start the war was just 45 percent among those in their 20s and 37 percent in their 30s, compared to 57 percent in their 40s and 60 percent among in their 50s.

Young people are poorly educated in the country's recent history. Asked whether they knew that wartime leader Hideki Tojo and other convicted war criminals are being honored at the Yasukuni Shrine, 43 percent of those in their 20s answered no.

They also showed stronger leanings toward racism, with 22 percent agreeing that ethnic Koreans should leave Japan, compared to 19 percent among those in their 30s.

The young generation generally see the rightwing government of Shinzo Abe as a force for reform. Those in their 20s gave the ruling Liberal Democratic Party a score of 3.03 points on a six-point scale between reform-minded and conservative, and those in their 30s 3.09 points.

The Abe administration boosted the budget for teaching patriotism from 800 million yen to 1.4 billion yen for next year, and experts believe these efforts are already reflected in the poll.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 30, 2013 12:31 KST