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Emperor expresses deep remorse on WW2 anniversary

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By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Linda Sieg

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It's good that the Emperor is pushing back, even slightly, against Abe's stance, which is hypocritical. If he and his backers want to move on and stop having to apologize for the errors of past generations, then they should stop venerating those who made the errors with visits and monetary gifts to Yasukuni Shrine.

23 ( +27 / -4 )

I've never been much interested in the dealings of Emperor Akihito but he said the right thing this time.

Of course this could be a good cop, bad cop routine.. The Return of the Emperor is one of Japan's long awaited events. Perhaps by the Olympic Games?

5 ( +13 / -8 )

The cycle of apology must stop. It really needs to do so.

-19 ( +11 / -30 )

This is not a problem of 'generations '… it is a problem of a 'racial' one !

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

This rejection of everything they stand for must be really hard to swallow for the right-wingers who love and revere the Emperor. But just like your average stalker, I suspect they will continue to live in a fantasy bubble and refuse to accept reality.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

“Reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse over the last war, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated,” Akihito, 81, said at a memorial service on the anniversary of the day his father, Hirohito, announced Japan’s defeat.

Why couldn't he say "sorry"? I thought the emperor was better than this. His speech echoed that of Mr Abe, basically. Maybe they had a little chat about scripts beforehand. His father got a free pass after the end of the war that was authorised by him, and waged in his name. At least he could have had the decency to say "sorry

-5 ( +13 / -17 )

MyTimeIsYourTime: "The cycle of apology must stop. It really needs to do so."

Doesn't it really make the right-wingers in the black trucks stamp and scream when THEIR OWN EMPEROR -- the person some literally wish to be in charge again and bring back the glory of Japan -- sticks it to them like this and shows true remorse when its politicians cannot?

Good on this man. Ironically, it is HE that is a true leader in the times when he is expected to follow, and Abe who is the follower when the right wing expects it, but the people need him to lead.

8 ( +14 / -5 )

Abe’s conservative supporters are keen for Japan to put an end to what they see as a humiliating cycle of apologies.

i somehow systematically let this and similar stock story-lines go ... but some how, the brain kicked in today. who, by name, are these patron contributors? what is their placement? what are they worth? where are their hands currently? why are they rolled out in these stories without some background? anyone know them? are posts pulled for naming names? and, if applicable, what are the campaign finance rules... ?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Emperor Akihito is above politics, speak for the heart and soul of the people of Japan, forgive does not mean forget.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

His father got a free pass, and it is the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. A time to say one word: "sorry"

1 ( +8 / -8 )

Excellent speech. One of the bestIever heard. Banzai

2 ( +6 / -4 )

A true honorable, charismatic gentleman. I think he's done a lot for the people, but today will be remembered by our East Asians. That's how you build a civilization, not just all that competing, exploiting, bullying, at each other's throat. I know all those have their own merits, but in the end, we're humans, we have a heart, or a soul as the Westerns call it. The man has taught the world a lesson.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

What a lovely old man. He should be made emperor of the world.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Again, three cheers for the Emperor. In his own modest way he kicked the doo dah out of Abe.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Childish article, puts too much weight on whether or not who visited Yasukuni shrine.

-23 ( +3 / -25 )

A deep remorse is still not an apology.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Japanese media reports that Abe's speech lacked "Abe color". Probably because he has to reflect or not go against the Emperor's New Years Address. The Emperor is putting the breaks on Abe. Good for hiim.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Is it time to definitely turn the page on that horrendous century, the worst in the history of mankind.The difference in Akihito's shifting from "deep sorrow" to "remorse" will not be lost to anyone in Japan, though perhaps the rest of the world will miss the nuance. Akihito is a man of peace telling his fellow citizens that this is the path they should choose, vs Abe's desire for more militarization.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

remorse means deep regret or guilt. Does it mean apology? no. it is a first step to an apology, but there is no second step taken. well, at least they feel guilty for the consequences of the war.

the murayama statement mentioned both "remorse" and "heartfelt apology". the emperor omit one of those. so, i find it just as similar with the PM's message, nothing very different or meaningful there.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

As I see it, remorse is a way to say that you regret what you did, yet you do not feel like you owe and apology. There is more concern about how those actions affect you than it affect something or somebody else.And there is no compelling reason to apologize. As long as history books do not speak the truth and you try to sweep it under the carpet, it validates the point that previous apologies were empty and not heartfelt. Why is it so difficult for Japanese leaders to see the point that China is trying is trying to tell them yet they do not want to understand nor they want to open their hearts?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Quote: "Recalling the past with profound remorse over the previous war and sincerely hoping that the tragedy of war is never repeated, I, together with people across the nation, express my heartfelt sorrow toward those who fell in battle, and pray for the further development of our country and world peace." TRANSLATION: War just happens, we suffered, too. It had nothing to do with the democracy-hating, opponent-murdering, criminal military that my father allowed to take over the government. Chit happens. Let's move on because I'm not man enough to face the truth.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Again, the Present Emperor outclasses the petty politicians of Japan. He has come out against the restarting of nuclear power plants, he went personally several times to Tohoku to meet with ordinary Japanese caught in the extraordinary circumstances of the Great East Japan Tsunami, he's a man of science. The fact that he can issue statements and the government can do the opposite tells you how much of a figurehead he is. It must frustrate the heck out of him but he maintains his quiet dignity. He carries his father's karma...it's like when he became Emperor, Japan's economy went sour almost right after. He's almost a Shakespearian character, buffeted by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Isn't it about time the US President apologised for FDR's intentionally luring Japan to attack Pearl Harbor? Read 'Day of Deceit', by Robert B. Stinnett. And Obama should apologise to Vietnem, Laos and Cambodia, for LBJ's 'Gulf of Tonkin' LIE, now exposed with declassified documents, which clearly show the so-called 'Gulf of Tonkin' incident never occurred. The 'attack' by imaginary 'N. Vietnamese torpedo boats' was used to massively escalate the conflict, sending hundreds of thousands of mainly conscripts to kill and be killed; previous to the 'Tonkin Hoax', there were thousands of so-called 'US Advisors', but LBJ's hoax put the Vietnam conflict on a war footing. 58,000 US dead, 100,000s injured, over 2,000 MIA, and then the millions of Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian deaths and injuries, and the continuing result of mines, Unexploded Ordinance, and devastating, continueing effect of Agent Orange. Then we have Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen....boy, has the US got some 'apologising' (to say nothing about compensating) tens of millions of survivors and relatives (not to forget the Military Juntas they 'installed' or 'Backed' in Latin America, Indonesia, Congo and so on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

elephant200Aug. 15, 2015 - 05:52PM JST A deep remorse is still not an apology.

Then what is it? Gloating?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

“We need to terminate (the cycle of apology) for our grandchildren and the grandchildren’s grandchildren,” said a 64-year-old man visiting Yasukuni.

WRONG oyaji! Japan continued unwillingness to face its past IS making things worse for people now & will continue into the future, UNLESS japan is more honest & DEALS with its history, THEN your grandchildren & great grandchildren WILL NOT be benefitting!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A feeling of deep remorse is a good sign that they are in the right way in the journey towards repentance. Full repentance is a long and painful process. Repentance and forgiveness are healing attitudes of all parts involved. The alternative to an eternal open wound.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As far as Yasukuni goes, we need to be careful. If war criminals (torturers during iraq/afghan war, for instance) are later buried at Arlington National Cemetery, this would become an American Yasukuni. By international standards, the above example are considered war criminals. The president and congress could no longer go, let alone make a speech.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Remorse is deeper than an apology.

Why should someone whose grandparents were not born when an event took place feel sorry or apologetic for it, and why on earth should children be brought up bowed by guilt?

That's child abuse in another developed nation.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

newyorknewyorkAug. 15, 2015 - 10:43PM JST Remorse is deeper than an apology. Why should someone whose grandparents were not born when an event took place feel sorry or apologetic for it, and >why on earth should children be brought up bowed by guilt? That's child abuse in another developed nation.

It is psychological subjugation, another tool in China's grand plan to destroy the US-Japan alliance, the only real obstacle to it's dreams of regional hegemony.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

hmm, the US states we never have war criminals- war criminals are tried by an international court - and we do not allow US military to be tried by the Hague

so we can try in our military courts, but you'll never get branded a "war criminal"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

'It m is psychological subjugation, another tool in China's grand plan to destroy the US-Japan alliance, the only real obstacle to it's dreams of regional hegemony.'

Your paranoia, obsession with and hatred for China is disturbing. I've spent quite a bit of time in China but have never come across anything as extreme as your views. I'd hate to think how your mind would have reacted to an education as jaundiced as that in China. I suppose we should be thankful.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is to Japan's future benefit if they fully and officially apologized for their past war crimes. Then if it ever is brought up again in the future, Japan could say they already truly and officially apologized very sincerely. So what is bad about doing that if there are only benefits? False pride is useless and benefits no one!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ain't this topic over yet? Hanging on still to this matter and insisting everyone in "present-time" Japan has to/must give their apologies.

Just only yesterday most of you here who cannot or simply do not want to understand there is NO SUCH NEED of repeated apologies - wanted PM Abe to personally go and visit the "comfort women" in Korea by himself and ask forgiveness personally to every women who apparently suffered as "sex slaves" under the arms of IJM during WWII. Now you wanted the Emperor to do the same and suggesting the son must also give his personal heartfelt apologies to the victims that suffered under the symbol and name of his late father? - the then Emperor Hirohito during those years whom Japanese Imperial Army went to war in the name of their Emperor???

Just how exactly do you want it done this time? What would it make of a good accepted apology other than what they all have already previously done? It's all becoming sad and partly a shame that even the present Emperor is being dragged and burdened with this baggage, the baggage that he never even started, the wrongdoings which he never commited (but his father) , the accusations and false reasonings and all these "must've beens" that Emperor Akihito should do and must do.. Quite unfair IMHO when he has really nothing to do about the war then, in the first place.

And yet the peaceful Emperor, still, humbly stated and offered remorse and words of apologies. Can't we all just acknowledge the Emperor, accept that his words are sincere and respect his own offer and feelings of remorse just this time, once and for all?

Again the same people here are arguing that "deep remorse" ISN'T an apology? Common just how do you give justice to the word 'remorse' ?

via Wikipedia: Remorse is an emotional expression of personal regret felt by a person after they have committed an act which they deem to be shameful, hurtful, or violent. Remorse is closely allied to guilt and self-directed resentment. When a person regrets an earlier action or failure to act, it may be because of remorse or in response to various other consequences, including being punished for the act or omission. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remorse

By it, if you feel the descriptions above are still not an apology to you (and you still refuse to accept remorse is indeed = utmost apology) More ellaborations on the same sense of the word :

Remorse - a feeling of being SORRY for doing something bad or wrong in the past ; a feeling of guilt ; a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs self-reproach...

Should we all continue this topic → "Japan needed to apologize" and must acknowledge their past wrongdoings (don't they've already did that repeatedly many-a-times? The Emperor just did acknowledge Japan's wrongdoings on the above ariticle) ...and go on until the morning.. of the next morning.. till next week.. until the next 71st Anniversary of the end of WWII, next year? Or should we rather go on discussing more different, important subjects? TBH I'd rather talk of more relevant, important and immediate issues and matters than hang on to this neverending unagreement about Japan's true "ultimate apology" for the countries of China and Korea.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

JimizoAug. 16, 2015 - 01:12AM JST 'It m is psychological subjugation, another tool in China's grand plan to destroy the US-Japan alliance, the only real obstacle to it's dreams of regional hegemony.' Your paranoia, obsession with and hatred for China is disturbing. I've spent quite a bit of time in China but have never >come across anything as extreme as your views. I'd hate to think how your mind would have reacted to an education as >jaundiced as that in China. I suppose we should be thankful.

Your ignorance and/or denial of geopolitical realty is what's truly disturbing. I suppose you still subscribe to the fallacy of China's "peaceful rise"?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As far as Yasukuni goes, we need to be careful. If war criminals (torturers during iraq/afghan war, for instance) are later buried at Arlington National Cemetery, this would become an American Yasukuni. By international standards, the above example are considered war criminals. The president and congress could no longer go, let alone make a speech.

You might have a point except war criminals cannot be buried at Arlington; only honorably discharged veterans can. Furthermore, Yasukuni is not a cemetery, it's a shrine, while Arlington is a cemetery.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"As far as Yasukuni goes, we need to be careful. If war criminals (torturers during iraq/afghan war, for instance) are later buried at Arlington National Cemetery, this would become an American Yasukuni. By international standards, the above example are considered war criminals. The president and congress could no longer go, let alone make a speech."

Don't worry! The US is not stupid! They will dig those out and trash them elsewhere.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

suzuran,

Regret & remorse are indeed powerful words, however you need to better look at the words before & after these two, they are key as to what the remorse & regret are FOR!

Most of the time this will be VERY vague, misleading, so one cant tell whether the remorse etc is for atrocities or for simply LOSING WWII, its left to interpretation, I wonder how abe & his ilk interpret this?? Should be pretty obvious, but alas often is not.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Expressions of “deep remorse” over the conflict are not the same as an apology --- especially a signed, documented one, drafted by one of the houses of the Diet, signed by both houses and the Prime Minister, and sealed by the Emperor, which could then be sent to every nation that felt the boot of Japan's Imperial Army and its aggression. An "expression of 'deep remorse'" is a good place to start, but my belief is that this is where it will end, tragically enough...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Seems people feel like there's either a dichotomy or a huge dilemma. There's obviously one really, but what we know of is that an apology cannot be repeated so many times that it loses it's obvious meaning. Let's say... screaming and waking up during a nightmare. The emperor and many others who are but humans, have been forced to do this by their ancestor's troubles, and other types. How does one then stop the screaming, if so subconsciously? We don't. We raise our efforts to feel what dream is it that we're feeling, whether from one nightmare that arises from a family issue, then to a phobia issue then to one... where it just merely scares you for no-reason...by realizing that the issue is merely momentarily. For a second will be a year, a thought will be a movement. And that... we need awareness (total awareness, not protests, and that will bring individuals, from the young, strong, old and frail). We need articles, photos of people advocating how people truly still believe in the Emperor's decision to renounce war. We know that the law DOES NOT permit the emperor of political power or stance. But people.... let us know. To replace something for this moment is to experience something of the same in a good way when we've been hurt by that something in a bad way...

That if we were all outsiders and educated in the systems, we will know that truly... 1984 is much of a reality in japan that we truly could not afford to let it happen. We're on the verge.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He should not be remorseful about the war. He should be remorseful about his subjects' continued ignorance and denials about Imperial Japan's wrong doing and evil during the war.

By the way, there are a heck of a lot more war criminals honored at Yasukuni than just 14! There are over 1000! Plus there are Koreans whose family don't want them mentioned there. Plus plus there is a war museum that makes the war time Japanese out to be noble and daring and long suffering and all "enemies" practically faceless nothings, apparently not worth one second's consideration. Its the thinnest guise of neutrality ever donned by anything purporting to be a museum. Its a sick place and Japan's neighbors are right to complain. Japan's own royal figurehead won't go there and neither did his father!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Correct above poster: Deep remorse is not an apology. There are constitutional constrains that forbid the Emperor from making an outright apology. To do so would be to preempt the prime minister, an elected official. If that were the case, the Emperor would be ipso facto taking control of the national government in that instant. And that would not do, no matter what one thinks of Abe. The Emperor went as far as he could go, that is in expressing a personal feeling. It's pretty heavy when you think about it. It has to do with his dad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Emperor was 6th grader when war was over, He knew Tokyo air raid. Abe was not born yet, Thus different message. Ditto with people who knew air raid and others.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“We need to terminate (the cycle of apology) for our grandchildren and the grandchildren’s grandchildren,” said a 64-year-old man visiting Yasukuni.

Heh-heh . . . is this how they think? How about teaching the grandchildren's grandchildren a few things first.

1) war is a terrible thing. 2) japan started the war in the pacific by bombing PH. 3) japan committed atrocities on other nations and women during the war. 4) japan were not seen as liberators from other asian nations prior / during WW2.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Haven't all postwar Emperors been more tending to apologize and show remorse than the politicians? And Hirohito was dead set against putting the souls of the A-class war criminals in Yasukuni as it would lead to fetishizing their ideas, which it sort of has.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why should someone whose grandparents were not born when an event took place feel sorry or apologetic for it, and why on earth should children be brought up bowed by guilt?

That is the same dilemma that faced an Australian PM in 2007. He he said "sorry" to the Aborigines, in a broadly publicised statement. Since then no politician has denied the statement, and the reconciliation process has progressed. If Japan did the same, dropped all the halfway words like grief, and remorse - and said we are deeply sorry - then future generations would be able to move on

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What about saying thank you to those who risked their lives to stop the horrors that were happening up to 1945? When my father returns to Normandy people of all generations come to him and say thank you. Do the Chinese, Koreans, Indonesians, etc also thank the liberators? Also, in Europe, many Germans were grateful that the allies came and destroyed the Nazi rule. However it must not be forgotten that some people in the occupied countries supported the Nazis. The last SS soldiers protecting Hitler's bunker in Berlin at the end as the Russians closed in were supposedly French. I imagine that there are similar complexities in the Asian war too. Complete and accurate history is difficult to find out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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