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Emperor expresses deep remorse; Abe vows never to repeat horrors of war

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By Linda Sieg

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Great words by the PM and Emperor, and good to see people and MPs honouring the heroic war dead at Yasukuni

Better to have no heroes and no wars, but heroes have been with us as long as the gods have. And war ...?

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Looked like a really beautiful ceremony! Never forget

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Heartening to see so many turn out for this remembrance day and to pay their respects to the soldiers of the nation

13 ( +19 / -6 )

I often find myself wondering what Japan would be like today if it had never gone to war.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

A great ceremony and nice to see people and Politicians  paying their respects to the dead at Yasukuni! I have no issue with re-enactors being there and their reason for actually doing what they did was not clearly stated in the article, so I will save judgement until I have the fact! However, regardless I think they could have shown more sense and done it at a less politically sensitive time!

10 ( +16 / -6 )

A good ceremony that most Japanese can resonate with.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Remembering the Japanese war dead and all the Asian victims of the state-organized violence called WW2, will not be sufficient to prevent another war if we persist in forgetting the fascist military and political leaders who conspired to bring about the greatest catastrophe in the history of Japan. And what are the names of those brave Japanese men and women who opposed their government's wars of aggression and where are they celebrated and what schools keep alive their memory for future generations? This is, above all, the reason I cannot easily swallow the annual, ritual remorse of Japan's elite. Abe cannot step out from under the dark shadow of Kishi Nobusuke Only the sincerity of Emperor Akihito, doing penance for his father's sins, is capable of convincing.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

SmithinJapan

You associate not being genuine with rebuilding Japan’s military?

Thats your opening line. That...is an opinion, and unless you’re a citizen, simply that alone.

Any sovereign nation has the right to engage how it pleases in accordance with the international laws that it may or may not choose to engage in.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

It would be rather dark I think Darknuts

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Humans have been warring upon each other for at least as long as there have written records. It is in our nature. Teaching respect and tolerance for others might help to reduce the incidence of warfare.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Deep remorse for what? For losing the war? Or for invading other countries and slaughtering millions of civilians? Once again, the key parts are either omitted or intentionally made vague so they can be interpreted differently by the domestic and international audience.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

It is my observation that when a Japanese apologizes to another Japanese the speaker (i.e., the subject) is clear. He/she says "I am sorry, please forgive me." However, when the government apologizes for the war, it seems there is no subject. It is a bland and generic feeling of regret for something that happened, but there is little or no feeling of a genuine apology from Japan.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

What a contradiction in the photo montage.

The Emperor and Prime Minister trying to make some consoling words, with what appears to be an olive branch to other south east Asian nations, ruined by those right wing idiots prancing about in their imperial uniforms.

Those idiots should have been banned from marching about in those uniforms - the shrine is supposed to be about respecting the dead - not condoning war.

6 ( +22 / -16 )

Great words by the PM and Emperor, and good to see people and MPs honouring the heroic war dead at Yasukuni

Which is more important, actions or words, to you?

Saying one thing but then paying respects, through an intermediary, at the one place that is the ultimate symbol of war time aggression in Japan?

So? DO we believe what he says? Or do we look to his actions? Is he lying through his teeth? Or is be being a hypocrite?

I await your answer!

5 ( +11 / -6 )

It takes two to tango. Even if one country vows never to start a war, a war still breaks out if another country attacks that peace loving country.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There is still time to make a clear statement about the repentance of the past errors. Just to clearly express in words what Japan has been doing after the war, working for peace, never using the threat of use of weapons to solve disputes. Japan has changed its behavior by embracing peace, so, it is just one more step, to say the magic words : WE ARE SORRY, WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE PAST ERRORS. Only the braves, the courageous can do that, humbly.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

David VarnesToday  10:30 pm JST

WE ARE SORRY, WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE PAST ERRORS.

Laughable example of how not to accept an apology because it's not worded precisely as you would like it to be. Did it occur to you that if someone else authors your apology then it's not coming from you? That by itself is a reason to reject it as "not sincere". So you can argue that "it's not sincere" till all eternity.

The documented reality shows that Japan has apologized countless times as per the links I posted above. The J-haters simply reject them for one lame excuse or another so that they can continue to perpetuate the fallacy that Japan "has never apologized".

Apologies are meaningless if they are not accepted. Those not willing to accept them shouldn't be demanding them.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Those men dressed as Imperial Army solvdiers seem to have no idea how ridiculous they look.

They must be getting paid by somebody. No normal person would do that for free.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"China's relations with Japan have long been haunted by what Beijing sees as Tokyo's failure to atone for its occupation of parts of China before and during World War Two, although ties have thawed recently. Japan occupied Korea from 1910-1945 and bitter memories still rankle."

Cookie cutter journalism. I swear, every article about Korea/China and Japan uses the same tired terminology. "Lingering bitterness over past history." Etc. etc.

So predictable.

Prime Minister Koizumi apologized near the Marco Polo bridge IN China way back in early 2000s, and the media still spouts off about how Japan has 'never' apologized for its past. Who's whitewashing history now?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Very brave of Emperor Akihito to take this one great opportunity to make his feelings absolutely clear.

This is his right, and his words of peace will carry weight to assuage poisonous thoughts everywhere, among right-wingers and left-wingers, at home and abroad.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Right under the government advertisement asking for a minute's silence at noon (and a piece by the editor about the emperor)

the front page of the Yomiuri, the biggest paper in Japan had advertisements for books about the war, including titles such as "Who really started the war between Japan and the USA?", (about Roosevelt's conduct when he refused Japan's fruitless efforts at peace negotiations, and beyond doubt provoked the war against the US)

Another about the "Truth of the Manchurian Independence" (Japan helped its independence and tried valiantly to protect it from communism - this has been hidden by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

I know that newspapers advertise all kinds of books, and these books are obviously of interest to many Japanese people, so that's why they are there. I would read one too out of curiosity. Maybe take one home (not the US) and explain what some people feel about the war.

But I think it says a lot.......

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Makoto ShimizuToday  07:26 pm JST

Japan has changed its behavior by embracing peace, so, it is just one more step, to say the magic words : WE ARE SORRY, WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE PAST ERRORS. Only the braves, the courageous can do that, humbly.

RecklessToday  09:04 pm JST

when the government apologizes for the war, it seems there is no subject. It is a bland and generic feeling of regret for something that happened, but there is little or no feeling of a genuine apology from Japan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/08/13/world/asia/japan-ww2-shinzo-abe.html

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Those men dressed as Imperial Army soldiers seem to have no idea how ridiculous they look.

They must be getting paid by somebody. No normal person would do that for free.

I'd say the opposite. However much you paid me, I wouldn't prance about like something out of Monty Python. These guys are completely delusional, they've swallowed the propaganda and have the idea they look cool. Rather like their commander in chief.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I begin to realize that abe never wanted to change the constitution of Japan, it's just a bait for him to have support of the conservative wing,

Actually he want to keep Japan in the post-war regime forever.

Abe is the most lying politician I've ever seen, I do not understand. why so many conservatives insist on supporting it.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

Yubaru

Had Japan not gone to war with the US, Russians may also be speaking Japanese.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

IN SHINTO SHRINE IS ABOUT REDEEMING SOULS FOR PAST MISTAKES TOO

°

Source : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasukuni-jinja

°

The religious matter (the religion point of view)

I am not perfectly versed into shinto yet, but in my memory there are several type of shrines. Some are made to honor, other are made to heal from evil. This sanctuary is made to honor the dead as divinity. But, undivinity have been put inside the shrine. It is back spot on Japan collective soul.

Truth is also a basic of shinto (an opposite of lying China).

When you understand what they called divinity, you blemish very fast, because in the shinto beliefs divinity are allowed to meet and live with the previous ones and the emperor thru reincarnation (or paradise). It was like a protected family and they evils in Paradise. In those monsters birthfamily, they became higher ranking souls. Some were very devilish. So when you are religious, this divinity matter here is very dubious. It may be athee behavior and for propaganda.

Yasukuni is a civil shrine and not shinto one, but in a monarchy, everything is shinto.

Normally, you don't honor bad people, you left them without honor. By putting massives dark souls in this shrine, truth has been massively broken. It was like giving bad karma to divine souls and give the unprepared souls suffering and bad karmas. The Shrine will probably burn or be destroyed by the gods in the future if the emperor don't correct the past mistakes.

(this is what religious people should at least think or wonder)

°

The Political Matter (the politic point of view)

Military had no choice but to obey. Their ideals were goods, so why bother ? The bad were because the past time were violent and poor uneducated people didn't know to control themselves. But today, we know better. Japan won't repeat past mistakes. It is not obvious ?

It is just a wood temple, or a prison for political show. We grown.

°

The reality check

I like to verify when a politician say : this won't happen again.

Facts

I have met today's neo-nazi (killing machine) that are saying : this won't happen again too. This way, they manage to get some powers back like in Italy.

When you look deeper (like in USA), you know that humanity violence is always there. It is not that easy to overcome. And that's is why in Europe we honor our win on past mistakes every year.

Today, extreme right, in Europe, say : "let people die in Méditerranée because they are too expansive to save and take care. If they don't reach our ground, law say they are not our problems. So let's banish ONG boats from Méditerannée too. Even better, let's do concentration camp in Africa. [...]".

This is what head of european state are saying. So we have a problem in elite too.

Those simple fact are a good proof, it is not that easy to leave mistakes in the past, because past tend to come back to bit you in the ass. This is actually a democracy weakness : how to leave the past in the past ? Europe is a proof that a good will show is not enough.

The best is memory events. Every years, president or prime minister goes to teach the same story (not every ten years) to same event and let people decide/think/understand the bad solution.

For Japan, it would be going every year in Asia to speak about their mistakes or making a day in Japan to talk about them and what was wrong about it. That is the best we found.

On the side , Confort women subject shows Abe's bad will and a beginning of repeating mistakes loops, because the repeating problem lie at least in here too.

°

To conclude

Saying "this won't happen again" is not enough. Gesture matters most. Blaming monarchy, showing them like old things, won't cure a problem we found in republic. This is a universal problem and not just a monarchy one.

Abe shows here he is naive, unprepared to speak about the past, and he can't reassure Japan's neighbors.

Not going to the evil shrine is a progress. But, it still send flowers.

So ? May be next year. May be at the next prime minister ? with the next emperor ?

°

NCM

1 ( +4 / -3 )

OssanAmerica: "Apologies are meaningless if they are not accepted. Those not willing to accept them shouldn't be demanding them" -- You fail to understand what apology is. An offender who is truly repentant apologizes until the victim says "Enough, thank you". A perp who mouths the words of an apology but when the victim does not find it sufficient, pouts and acts the victim, was never really apologetic in the first place. Clearly, as has been so abundantly demonstrated by sorry corporate executives in recent years, in Japan a ritual show of "regret" is the same as the real thing, and expected to be responded to just as ritually.

Geeliez: "Very classy by Abe for being so selfless and mindful of Japan's immature neighbours" -- Thanks for the first really funny joke in days.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

slowguy2Today  02:50 am JST

OssanAmerica: "Apologies are meaningless if they are not accepted. Those not willing to accept them shouldn't be demanding them" --

You fail to understand what apology is. An offender who is truly repentant apologizes until the victim says "Enough, thank you". A perp who mouths the words of an apology but when the victim does not find it sufficient, pouts and acts the victim, was never really apologetic in the first place. Clearly, as has been so abundantly demonstrated by sorry corporate executives in recent years, in Japan a ritual show of "regret" is the same as the real thing, and expected to be responded to just as ritually.

No, you are just another apology rejectionist. You are deciding what is or isn't an apology based on your own personal bias. The idea of a "victim not finding it sufficient" is ridiculous as it is open ended with no limits. Which is exactly what your crowd has been doing now for decades.

A perp who says "I'm not sorry and I'll do it again first chance I get" is not apologetic. If you can find this in any of the following, then you'd be correct.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/08/13/world/asia/japan-ww2-shinzo-abe.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

https://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/q_a/faq16.html

Meantime, using Corporate behavior as evidence of the Government's insincerity is ridiculous.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Leaders are always saying "not to repeat the mistakes of the past". When these world leaders take a look around the world and really evaluate the type of weapons we have today. Then through contention are forced in a striving rivalry. How can they say "not to repeat the mistakes from the past"? We are destined to annihilate each other and kill each other off. Since man discovered picking up a stone to use it for violence on his fellow man. Civilization is headed for the last world war rapidly. Words are just words.

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” 

― Sun TzuThe Art of War

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese Prime Minister avoided Yasukuni Shrine this year,

but He visited local shrine where is origin of Yasumini Shrine. 

and,Japanese ruling party LDP deleted this sentence from their statement of memorial day in this year.

"Maintain basic values such as freedom, democracy,basic human rights,rule of law"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I often find myself wondering what Japan would be like today if it had never gone to war.

More than likely you would be asking that question in Russian. I can not see however why you wonder about this, because depending upon where you live WWII started a hell of a lot earlier to many in Asian than December 8th, 1941.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

On Wednesday, Abe vowed never to repeat the horrors of war.

Ah so!

Is that why he is building up the Japanese military, trying to change the constitution and paying for a huge new US superbase in Henoko?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

ANSWER TO ABE'S VOW ?

°

But, the one after him ? will they do the same promess ? not condem the Yasukuni visitors ?

°

NCM

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A very important announcement as those who Japan transgressed against are now future leaders of the world. While not spoken, ancestors are remembered and honored by all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And what are the names of those brave Japanese men and women who opposed their government's wars of aggression and where are they celebrated and what schools keep alive their memory for future generations?

Sadly, most are probably forgotten. But I think Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda are still remembered in Soka Gakkai circles for their strong anti-war stance.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Okay, bottom line, if Abe is serious let’s hear him condemn the people in the bottom picture and ask Yasukuni not to allow them on their grounds. They certainly wouldn’t allow someone dressed like a sex-slave, or a statue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Glad to see Japan working towards peace, unlike almost any other nation on Earth. By far the most peaceful country in the world at the moment, very well done

-1 ( +17 / -18 )

Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, but did not visit in person out of apparent consideration for ties with Seoul and Beijing.

Very classy by Abe for being so selfless and mindful of Japan's immature neighbours, but it's an insult to the nation for him not to visit Yasukuni in person. He better not miss next year otherwise my vote will be going elsewhere

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

Abe is just a pawn. He said never repeat the horror of the war, can he deliver it ? Just look whom he is worshiping.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Japan China relationship isn't defined by the war history. Since the reestablish of the relationship 40 years ago, and even before that since the end of the war, there isn't any hatred from Chinese side, only trouble making by some dead meat in right wing group. Japan and China actually get alone very well, because the culture and the genetics, two people are not separable. As long as Abe govt abandons its anti-China attitude, change its bad manner, the relationship can only be getting better and better. 3000 years history of are assets for both Japan and China. Moving forward doesn't require denying the past. Quite contrary, it requires remembering the past, correct the wrong and uphold the right.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Great words by the PM and Emperor, and good to see people and MPs honouring the heroic war dead at Yasukuni

-3 ( +17 / -20 )

Actions matter. The Abe government in 2014 allowing the country's producers to export arms and military equipment makes a mockery of his vows.  

Japan is a full arms dealer now.

You can't vow to never repeat something and then sell the instruments that make that possible. No news about that anniversary. Do memorial attendees get shareholder updates on their arms sales? This is what would be called cognitive dissonance.  

You can't have both regret and arms sales

-3 ( +14 / -17 )

Two pictures. Opposite intent. Only the future will tell which is the true Japan. Do we need a change of the constitution?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

oldman_13: "Prime Minister Koizumi apologized near the Marco Polo bridge IN China way back in early 2000s, and the media still spouts off about how Japan has 'never' apologized for its past."

Never SINCERELY apologized. One or two men have tried, and the government IMMEDIATELY said it is not the official position of the government. What's more, that was often immediately followed by lawmakers, many of whom deny atrocities like the Nanjing Massacre (do you agree it happened, by the way?) and forced prostitution, visiting Yasukuni and donations by other people high up, in this case, Abe. Koizumi was better than many, but he still never said what Japan did wrong and how. Only apologized for "bad things happening", in the passive voice.

"Who's whitewashing history now?"

Japan, and always has been. If you've forgotten about that, let me remind you it was Abe himself who had all references to "comfort women" removed from textbooks, and he was quite proud of that.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Abe vows never to repeat horrors of war

But, he refuses to join the UN anti-nuclear weapons pact. Hmmm?

-4 ( +17 / -21 )

I did notice that all the photos feature old men in cos play pretending to be something they are too old to be.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Too bad Abe is not at all genuine, and instead wants to rebuild Japan's military. I wouldn't surprised if he has a costume like the louts in the third pic above and wishes he could march around Yasukuni with them.

Darmstadt: "Great words by the PM and Emperor, and good to see people and MPs honouring the heroic war dead at Yasukuni"

Including the war criminals enshrined there, who helped kill more than 10 million across Asia in Japan's reign of terror.

-5 ( +20 / -25 )

It would be nice to have an end to the horrors of this PM's rule.

-5 ( +15 / -20 )

This should be an opportunity to show a certain place some healing. A trip by the Emperor and PM to another country to do their bit. It would be difficult as dishonest parties would not want that healing to occur but healing must occur.

Abe must go to Nanjing

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

WE ARE SORRY, WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE PAST ERRORS.

The problem, Makoto Shimizu, is that is exactly the type of apology the government of Japan has been dishing out for years now. Those exact words do not say what the apology is about, nor does it say why.

When I correct my son, and he apologizes, or when I make mistakes and apologize to my wife or my son (I am no perfect parent), I clearly state not only what I did, but why what I did was wrong as I apologize. I own up to my own actions and apologize for them.

Just saying, "There was a war, and we apologize for it and the mistakes we made," is not a true apology.

A true apology would be, for example, saying, "We, the government and people of Japan, recognize that we invaded the following nations (list of all the nations Japan invaded, including China and Korea). We recognize that in those occupations the soldiers and nation of Japan committed war crimes, including but not limited to killing of civilians, torture, kidnapping, comfort women, etc, etc, etc. We, the government and people of Japan, recognize that such actions were WRONG. We recognize that WE DID THE WRONG THING. We committed heinous acts that are unforgivable, and heartily apologize to you, the victims, for those crimes. We know that the years since cannot atone for our actions, and honestly and openly beg you for undeserved forgiveness."

That statement, passed by the Diet, signed by the Prime Minister AND the Emperor, would be a good start. At that point, many would be willing to say "Hey Japan, we get it. You've got right wing retrograde whackos in your country, we've got them too. We understand that the fools doing cosplay in front of Yasukuni and sending offerings up to Tojo are just a slim percentage of your population."

I know I would. I mean, I used to live in the American South, where the Confederacy was still celebrated.

But until Japan does this, until it offers an open, honest, and heartfelt apology and not "Hey, we're gonna apologize, but that's just to get you to shut up about this, okay?" then it's never going to be fully accepted.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

What happened in the war isn't a small horror, an apology just doesn't do it. In China alone, 50 million people died and injured because of the "horror". That is half population of today's Japan. I don't no what China will do if there is another war, collective or not.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Too bad they made a mockery of the shrine and their words by half measures.

Take the vows to statues of the comfort women in Korea, to memorials of the fallen elsewhere. Join in recognition of history.

If you can't do that, then what do the words mean?

-9 ( +16 / -25 )

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