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Japan apologizes to elderly Australian POW nurse, others

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© 2011 AFP

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Would appreciate a general outline of what the apology is for, as distressing as it may be? Hope it's not just an apology for just imprisoning her!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MONEY? Where's the money? If you are apologizing, show her the money. Compensation!! Dinero, Mula, Yen, Bread, Dead Presidents

If you are going to apologize sincerely, pay them.

IMO, this is the only thing that hurts Japanese.

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I am not sure if this is a sincere apology. Japan has apologized many times before with no substance. If Japanese goverment is really sincere about the victims of WWII to the neighboring countries, they need to build a memorial museum similar to Hiroshima atomic bomb museum for victims of the war that was caused by Japanese Military.

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I read about this in The Aucklander magazine. Although the nurses endured 3 years of real hardship in Japan during the war, this lady has no animosity towards the Japanese people. "It was the government, not the ordinary people" she said in the magazine.

Good on the Japanese government now to do this. I can't see the US having the Taliban over to tea, even in 70 years.

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Why was she the only surviving nurse back then?

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Odd how Japan can't seem to grow the gonads to earnestly and sincerely educate it's own people about the transgressions they are so good at apologizing to white people for ( not much on the former occupied countries reconciliation tour). Fact is if you don't detail what exactly you are remorseful about then the apology is empty.

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lostrune2

Why was she the only surviving nurse back then?

Just a guess but maybe they died due to tremendous damage and suffering.

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There is a great Aussie film called Sisters of War which is about these nurses. They were beaten, starved, molested and finally some were dragged here to Japan and imprisoned. They saw many of the most horrible aspects of the war.

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This WP account is about their plight.

'In January 1942, the Japanese war machine thundered across South East Asia. In its path lay a tiny Catholic mission station Vunapope, on the island of New Britain. Here a handful of Australian nurses, led by Matron Kay Parker took refuge along with a number of wounded Australian soldiers. Abandoned by their commanding officers, they were left to face the Japanese alone. When the Japanese arrived at Vunapope, the nurses and their patients were saved from massacre by the mission’s leader, Polish-born Bishop Leo Scharmach. This astonishing man bluffed the Japanese into believing that he was a personal friend of Hitler and that the mission was Hitler’s property. In the dark days that followed, Sister Berenice and Lorna found themselves facing starvation, beatings and torture. Their beliefs were constantly tested, as was their friendship. Sister Berenice idolised Bishop Scharmach: Lorna was convinced he was a collaborator. The tiny mission became a setting for betrayal, heroism and death. And all the normal rules of war were broken. After six months, Lorna and Sister Berenice were separated. The Australian nurses were sent to Yokohama as part of a prisoner exchange. But the exchange program collapsed and the nurses found themselves trapped in war-time Japan, freezing and ravaged by disease. At the same time Sister Berenice, Bishop Scharmach and the nuns were taken to a dark, uninhabited jungle valley where they would be safe from air raids' There i guess a reason to appologise.

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How can Japan apologize? Its utterly meaningless. Today's Japan is not yesterday's Japan and neither is the government. It was specific individuals responsible, and only they can apologize with any meaning. The next best thing would be for people who voted for Tojo's party to apologize, but they did not even vote for Tojo directly.

Imagine if you live in Kyoto and one of your neighbors flattens your car tire and never says sorry. Then a man from Hokkaido who is not even a relative apologizes for it 10 years later. That is about as much sense as this apology makes.

But I am greatful for the Japanese government to finally start admitting Japan's past misdeeds. If the Japanese government has anything to apologize for, it would be the failure to admit those misdeeds up to now, and failure to compensate the victims.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Apology is meaningless??? Sorry it does mean a lot, to those who suffered...maybe not so much to people who have no link to events.

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Apology is meaningless???

It would help greatly to read more than the first two sentences.

Japan cannot meaningfully apologize. Neither can the government. Only the actually perpetrators can actually apologize. The government can admit that Japan and the government of the past were wrong though.

Sure, an apology might mean a lot to the victims. But it is still rational in the slightest. For example, if your wife punches me, I don't want your apology. I want hers. Is it that hard to understand?

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Historically it does mean a lot, to those directly involved much more. Individuals do not count. Of course at this level any apology is general but a sincere apology combined with reparations would go a lot further than this well intentioned sham.

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For example, if your wife punches me, I don't want your apology. I want hers. Is it that hard to understand? not if he paid her and brainwashed her to think you were worthy of punching. Surely the instigator is culpable?

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No offense all you people who offer the opinion that the apology is meaningless. Pretty sure the only person who gets to make that decision is the actual person being apologized to......

Travis, I kind of understand where you are coming from. But it is a little bit different in this case. While it may not be the same government that commited the atrocites, they still have the authority to offer an apology on behalf of the government actions of the past. If that was how it worked, governments would get away with all sorts of crap. Just blame it on the predecessor.... oh wait........

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That's the best gesture for Japan. How about the long over due public apologies for the Filipina's that was used by the Japanese soldiers as their COMFORT WOMEN during their occupation of the Philippines. There are only a very few alive now. Some of them were featured in one TV documentary. They don't need compensation or whatever according to all of them. What they asked was a sincere PUBLIC apology to everyone living and had passed away.. How about it Prime Minister.

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