There isn't much in this world that South Korea, North Korea, and China have in common. And getting all three on the same side, as U.N. diplomats have learned of late, is like herding cats. Enter Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who's questioning whether the Japanese occupation of those countries was an "invasion"—you know, per se.
"The definition of what constitutes an 'invasion' has yet to be established in academia or in the international community," Abe said in parliament on Tuesday. "Things that happened between nations will look different depending on which side you view them from." When you start getting into the semantics of the history books and defer to obscurity, you know something bad happened—only you don't want to call it what it is. Those words are part of Abe's political push to change Japan's pacifist constitution, and they arrived around the time the prime minister paid an offering to the Yasukuni war shrine. Not to mention his efforts to boost approval ratings.
As Abe said, everything depends on how you see it—or at least which side you're on when it comes to the history of global conflict. And China likely sees Abe's attempts to redefine "invasion" as a crass reminder of the period between 1937 and 1945, when the Second Sino-Japanese War became "the largest Asian War in the 20th Century." North and South Korea, meanwhile, take their history and see an antagonistic interpretation of the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula that lasted until 1945.