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Obama's Hiroshima visit stirs differing views across Pacific

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By MARI YAMAGUCHI and JULIE WATSON

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Kodama, the Hiroshima schoolgirl, faced discrimination in employment and marriage. After her first love failed because her boyfriend’s family said they didn’t want “radiated people’s blood in their family,”

Such a cruel thing to say.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

As the survivor's pass away, from all sides in the war, the memories will fade and the reality of what happened will be forgotten.

THAT is the biggest crime in my opinion.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

All of these people being quoted with their thoughtful, complex opinions about a challenging, complex moment in human history...

...all used to move online print where the audience wastes time arguing simplified, reductionist narratives about that moment. We're at the point where people don't even want Obama to appear and speak because, without even knowing what he will say (but being told repeatedly he won't apologize), we can't trust his speech won't reveal too much complexity for our simple self-congratulatory narratives to withstand.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The Tokyo high school student's suggestion is a rather standard one. I deal with young people a lot and very many of them suggest that other young people of erstwhile enemy countries should "have the opportunity" to visit Hiroshima to hear the victim stories because they themselves did so while in school. It is almost as if the idea is promoted that if kids from other countries visited Hiroshima that nuclear weapons would be eradicated. Needless to say, few suggest hearing the stories of Japan's victims because for various reasons they are barely aware of them. The issue of what their textbooks contain is moot when the current content, patchy as it is, is at the end of the course and rushed over in order to finish it at the end of school. And this stands in stark contrast to the school visit to Hiroshima.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Use a nuclea weapon to IS to put an early end to the war agaisnt the terrorisms.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

People have to stop looking at WWII as good guys verses bad guys. There were bad guys on both sides. Truman was a real rascist.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Japan sees itself as the victim rather than the victimizer.

-A very interesting insight, that for me, clears up a huge difference in the way that history is viewed. Your version of history is your reality.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

...few suggest hearing the stories of Japan's victims because for various reasons they are barely aware of them.

All well said, @Moonraker. I have had many of the same experiences, and this is what has really turned me off regarding the function of the "peace museums" in Japan, and the role they have come to play in feeding the nation's victim mentality. Yes, I feel terrible for the victims of Hiroshima (and equally so for those from all nations who suffered because of the war), but I am appalled at how the site has been hijacked by nationalists in Japan.

One Tokyo high school student has a suggestion. Mayu Uchida... said she cried when she heard survivors recount their memories on a school trip to Hiroshima

This is indicative of where the problem lies. Although Mayu has shed tears for the many who suffered in Hiroshima (as have so many other Japanese students who have visited Hiroshima on school-organized field trips), something tells me that she probably has yet to shed tears for the much higher number of non-Japanese people who suffered at the hands of the IJA.

Japan's education ministry actively prevents students from being taught about atrocities committed by Japan because they fear that doing so would harm their confidence and pride in being Japanese, but on the flip side encourages ample time spent beyond history classes in teaching students about the suffering Japan has endured at the hands of others. This is not a good recipe for instilling a healthy and honest view of history.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

@Schopenhauer

Use a nuclea weapon to IS to put an early end to the war agaisnt the terrorisms

It's interesting that you say this because the parallels between ISIS and 1930-40s Japan are striking: Fanatical brain washed soldiers and civilians, suicide bombers, beheadings of civilians, POWs being enslaved and tortured and on and on.

Over the past 70 years it's been almost impossible to put ourselves in the shoes of those who decided to drop the bomb (and those who supported it at the time) but the recent war with ISIS gives us a small glimpse into the fear and uncertainty you feel when confronted by this type of enemy. Many of the same moral questions arise.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Japan stop it with the apology already, you are not the victim.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

War sucks! All sides committed atrocities during the war. I am on the fence about President Obama visiting Hiroshima. I have been there several times. My dad was in combat in Korea and saw some pretty bad stuff. When I took him to Hiroshima he was moved to tears.

In my opinion the best thing President Obama can do is to walk through the memorial solemnly and say as little as possible.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@Moonracker, @Sensato

Well said, thank you. Here is a link to a resource guide used in high schools in British Columbia, Canada called Human Rights in the Asia Pacific 1931-1945. I like how the the focus is on human rights, social responsibility and global citizenship with full historical accounts of the wars. Talking about human rights issues is important to prevent other conflicts.

https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/resdocs/hrasiapacific.htm

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I don’t think there should be any apology. ... We helped that country. We helped them out of the pits all the way back to one of the most economically advanced. There’s no apology required

I agree. Japan is a much better place today than it was then.

He added that his own government also should take some of the blame for the suffering of atomic bomb victims. “It was the Japanese government that started the war to begin with, and delayed the surrender,” he said, adding that Japan has not fully faced up to its role in the war.

Very true. It is the Japanese gov that needs to apologize to the people- not Obama. It was their nationalism that caused this.

From my point of view, the fact that the war ended when it did and the way it did, it saved my life and it saved the life of those Americans and other allied POWs that were in Japan at the time,” he said at his home in in Carlsbad, California. “I was in Japan, shoveling coal in a coal mine. No one ever apologized for that. ... I end up with black lung disease because they didn’t take care of me in the coal mine, and yet there is no apology, no words of wisdom, no nothing.”

Exactly. Where is the Japanese apology for all the Imperial Army's atrocities towards the captured allied soldiers? The US isn't asking for one, and neither should Japan.

Kodama, the Hiroshima schoolgirl, faced discrimination in employment and marriage. After her first love failed because her boyfriend’s family said they didn’t want “radiated people’s blood in their family,” she married into a more understanding one.

Well now you understand what its like to be a foreigner living here. Anyway, why should a US president apologize for Japanese discrimination??

4 ( +8 / -4 )

moonraker - exactly right.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm just curious.

Has Japan ever apologized to China?

Has Japan ever apologized for Pearl Harbor?

Has Japan ever accepted full responsibility for the war in the Pacific and the countless lives lost or the torture they inflicted on western troops in their P.O.W. "camps?"

The nuclear bombs were devastating and left long-lasting horrific effects. But Hirohito and his generals would not stop. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they did.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

I think the media is stirring the pot more than any actual WW2 participants on either side, and the media is trying to force opinions on the civilians on either side. I've only seen the media trying to whip up a frenzy.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

(in Obama's voice) Uhhh.....I will apologize......for Hiroshima and Nagasaki......uhhh......if Japan also acknowledges its atrocities in the Phillippines, China and Korea.....and also apologizes for them!

Personally, I don't think he should apologize because of the problems it would cause there after. I think that if he does, everyone else would also want an apology. I mean, he should, just to ease people's minds and hearts, but they're not thinking of the backfire.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Mr. Noidall

I tend to agree with your observation. A few years ago I saw a documentary showing American WW2 prisoners of war who came to Japan. These Americans were participants in the infamous Bataan death march. A small group actually met their captors and when they met, the meeting was cordial. The men on both sides spoke to each other and no apologies were offered and I had the impression they were not expected. The meeting was a recounting of a horrible era (WW2) by men who participated. I was left with the thought that these men knew and understood the enlisted man on both sides were pawns used by their respective governments and that was all. That was a common bond these men shared.

I am not offering an opinion on this however as a side note Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada did apologize in person to a group of Bataan death march survivors in 2010.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It's not a question of apologies all round. The U.S. and allies have nothing to apologize for. Japan certainly does.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Mayu Uchida... said she cried when she heard survivors recount their memories on a school trip to Hiroshima...“[Obama] could also suggest, promoting opportunities for more Americans to visit Hiroshima, or to hear the story of Hiroshima,” the 18-year-old said.

The human interest/inspirational "Mayu Uchida the now enlightened high school student" angle of this story is something I keep thinking about. This narrative has become a tried and true formulaic cliche in news about Hiroshima, and is one that I have seen countless times in relation to Hiroshima during my years in Japan.

The story is invariably one where a previously naive high school girl (almost always a girl) learns about Hiroshima and becomes forever more enlightened to the suffering of the victims in Japan, and consequently she earns everyone's approval, acceptance and admiration for her newfound empathy. The problem is, exchange the word "Hiroshima" for "Unit 731," "sex slaves" or any other IJA atrocity, and this same girl would be shunned. Her shedding tears over those victims would bring nothing but silence, rejection and scorn from many of her teachers, classmates and society at large.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

The Americans fire bombed Tokyo shortly before the A-Bombs were dropped and killed 120,000 people. The atom bombs were horrible, but they brought the war to a quick end. If the war had been extended, there would probably have been more fire bombings of major Japanese cities including Kyoto. There were significant elements in the Japanese military who wanted the war to continue even if it meant the deaths of millions of Japanese citizens.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Sensato - you nailed it exactly.****

0 ( +4 / -4 )

If Obama apologizes, he should be impeached. I have known survivors of Japanese prison camps and the only apology should be from Japan to the victims of Japanese aggression.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I don't see the problem with President Obama apologizing.

He could start off by apologizing for the CIA and MacArthur giving Japan back to the very people who had started the war, by creating the LDP from the remains of the fascists, imperialists and the yakuza.

Then maybe he could apologize for all the war criminals who were let off scot-free because they were "anti-communist". You know, the Unit 731 people, the sex slavers, the cannibals, mass murderers, looters and rapists.

Finally he could apologize to the good people of Okinawa for the rape and murder, the agent orange and the nerve gas and the nuclear weapons.

I'm sure that would be eagerly welcomed by all parties and provide a fitting legacy for his presidency.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

As a Marine Viet Nam War vet, one thing I learned in war is that there are no good guys in a war. Each side commits atrocities that they deny, while of course attacking how horrible the atrocity of the other side is.

War is mass murder. That itself is an atrocity. The first victim of war, is truth. In other words all sides in a war lie, and continue to lie afterward.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

“There is going to be controversy about apologizing. I don’t think there should be any apology. ... We helped that country. We helped them out of the pits all the way back to one of the most economically advanced. There’s no apology required.”

Said perfectly.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

People have to stop looking at WWII as good guys verses bad guys. There were bad guys on both sides. Truman was a real rascist.

Sure about that? Churchill -good guy, Hitler -bad guy. Tojo -bad guy, MacArthur -good guy. Truman did what he had to do. It was what it was, there you go history.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Mrs. Kodama and Mr. Tanaka have very reasonable views about the Obama visit, something the media and fringe politicians seem to lack. As I stated before, let Obama visit, view the atrocious effects of the bomb and then give a statement about his resolve for denuclearization. No need to revisit the past decision, which was made before he was even born, and no apologies. Understanding, yes; apologies, no.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

what poison are the japanese government feeding it's people?

to the civilians of hiroshima and nagasaki. Why aren't you blaming YOUR government for bringing you into war? AND you still vote their blue blood war mongering spoilt offsprings into power!?

the chinese are blaming the right party (the nationalist party) for not protecting them. japanese on the other hand are blaming the victims (remember pearl harbour, japan started it) for retaliating.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Obama plead for a 'No nuclear weapon world' ? What is he talking about ? The fact is he will doing the otherwise ! This man is secretly modernizing the US arsenals, his efforts is in quality NOT in quantity. Never take his call seriously.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Kodama's younger daughter died of cancer in 2011... LOL How OLD is she at 2011? my aunt died of cancer at the age of 35 even when she haven't been to hiroshima and yet Kodama is still a SURVIVOR of the bombing! how old is Kodama now?

as for the discrimination, the people who practices this discrimination are YOUR JAPANESE counterparts, not the international crowd, i've visited hiroshima and tohoku twice. i don't mind marrying a girl from hiroshima if i love her.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I haven't posted on Japantoday in a while but this is just a fascinating story - it's one of those things that never goes away - I remember first arriving in Japan (I'm American) convinced that the US was very wrong for having dropped the atom bombs - but then reading much more about the issue and talking to an uncle who had liberated Europe from the Nazis and was sure he'd die in Japan in the planned invasion - the bomb bizarrely saved lives in the long run. Okinawa was a bloodbath for civilians and soldiers....

In addition, all this suffering was because Hirohito wanted to save his own skin - he could have surrendered beforehand - abdicated - the war carried on weeks or possibly months longer than it needed to so he could stay on as emperor which is truly a crime. MacArthur saved his life afterwards and created the (still believed) lie that he had nothing to do with the war - nonsense! The other allies all wanted to hang Hirohito for war crimes

The point is I would be against an apology but perhaps an acknowledgment of the terrible suffering of the civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. War is hell for everyone involved but dropping the bomb was a complex issue - and Japan was not an innocent victim

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I am quite sure that most of those people cannot stand, is the today's denial and not what has be done because war is made of atrocities. This is not about giving apology that much for what was done 70 years ago by other people living under a different regime, it is more about why in 2016, there is still denial on what happened and there is no clear condemnation on identified war atrocities, you do not need to apologize to condemn them and the absence of condemnation is certainly the responsibility of the current govt and has nothing to do with acts done 70 years ago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is ironic that the Japanese, ruled by nationalistic right-wing regimes before and after their psychologically devastating defeat in 1945, and Americans in thrall to the toxic, triumphalist ideology of American exceptionalism and brainwashed by years of social engineering by the dominant right-wing mass media, are unable to come to a consensus concerning WW2. The Japanese, especially, are unaware of what their fascism then WAS, and both sides appear unaware of what our latter-day fascism now IS, reflected in actions and attitudes displaying authoritarian and fascistic traits that belie their professed commitment to democratic values. It is disappointing that even after 70 years discussion of WW2 only results in pot and kettle mutual accusations and futile solipsistic argument like dogs chasing their own tails. Educators are not solely responsible for the prevalent ignorance of WW2 since challenging society's dominant narrative of self-justification (Japan) and self-congratulation (USA) would require the kind of courage sorely absent in today's climate of fear and conformity before authority. Let's hope Obama's visit will at least spur more people to look objectively at the historical record, not only concerning WW2, but also the post-war years when the US military-industrial complex wrought so much havoc around the world. With right-wing demagogues like ignoramus Trump, or Wall Street shills like hawkish Clinton waiting in the wings the world is in need of the truth of history like never before.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@ muttinjapan - Good point

talking to an uncle who had liberated Europe from the Nazis

Unfortunately, the Nazis had a hand in Japan's fate - even with two land armies descending on Berlin, the Germans still fought right to the doors of the Reischstag. Boys and old men were wheeled out in front of the Russian war machine and mowed down right up to the end. The savage fighting saw an increase in Allied casualties - something unplatable to society back home. People had had enough. Except the military leaders of Japan.

So after Okinawa, the Allies expected an even harder fight on the Japanese mainland. After 60 plus cities firebombed, the Japanese were still fighting.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I want to ask you, "Which day of the week did America's B29 drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima?" The answer is Monday. August 6 1945 was day.

We should focus attention on the day and time when America dropped the atomic bomb. 8:15 am. and Monday morning… Why did the Enola Gay carry out the world’s first atomic bombing at 8:15 a.m.? Why did the Enola Gay drop the atomic bomb on Monday morning? American Army knew Japanese schools held morning meetings on Monday morning. 8:15 on Monday was the time that schools started morning meetings. American Army knew school children would round up in schoolyards for morning meetings at 8:15 am. Therefore, American Army set the time of dropping the world’s first atomic bomb at 8:15 am, on Monday, August 6th. For what? To kill Japanese school children efficiently and to crush all hope in Japan’s future. As a result of America’s atomic bombing, 140,000 people out of 350,000 citizens of then Hiroshima died. Most of 140,000 people were children, women and elderly people. They suffered and suffered, and died in great agony.

It is obvious that America carried out genocide against the Japanese people on the pretext of ending the war.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

SabrageMAY. 24, 2016 - 01:55PM JST

People had had enough. Except the military leaders of Japan.

It is by now agreed by historians around the world that the war continued because the US insisted on "unconditional" surrender.

Is "unconditional" surrender any different from ordinary surrender? Can the winners do whatever they want on the losers, such as arbitrary killing them or enslaving them just like the Europeans and Americans did just a while ago?

Japan accepted surrender only after "unconditional" surrender is no different from ordinary surrender.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

The Allies insisted on unconditional surrender, because the Nazis were the result of conditional surrender of WW1. The terms are very different.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Tojo -bad guy, MacArthur -good guy.

MacArthur said Japan was not a bad guy. In his memoir he said "It was a war to avoid being colonized for Japan". "It was not invasion". US stopped all oil export, with zero oil, Japan would not be able to use war ship or airplane but wait to be colonized by the west like other Aisan countries did. Japan had no choice but to fight.

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

SabrageMAY. 24, 2016 - 02:49PM JST

The Allies insisted on unconditional surrender, because the Nazis were the result of conditional surrender of WW1. The terms are very different.

WW1 ended not with a surrender but with an armistice. Your argument is wrong from the beginning. Even if the war continued till one side surrendered, I do not see any causal relationship between the assumed surrender and the Nazis. Do you think Nazis was out of necessity at the time?

Even if your argument were correct, your conclusion would then be that it was the US that wanted to continue the WW2 until Japan lost all its powers, contradicting your previous argument that its was Japan that wanted to continue the war.

What are the differences among unconditional, conditional and ordinary surrender? What differences did it make to insist on "unconditional" surrender?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Er..thanks for clearing that up Tina. Next please your explanation for- where shall we start - oh, the Unit 731 horror show.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Crazy Joe: "Has Japan ever apologized to China?"

No. It didn't happen.

"Has Japan ever apologized for Pearl Harbor?"

No. Pearl Harbor was the US' fault. Japan had no choice. They were forced to attack.

"Has Japan ever accepted full responsibility for the war in the Pacific and the countless lives lost or the torture they inflicted on western troops in their P.O.W. "camps?""

No. They were liberating Asia from Western powers, and gave modern education and taught people in Asia how to bathe. Any atrocities were either committed by Koreans and Chinese, or are myths created by them. Japan did nothing wrong. The POW camps were places of fun and games. Nothing bad happened, and soldiers were well taken care of. Yes, some labourers from Asia died, but they were volunteers, eager to be Japanese, so they cannot be called POWs, nor was it forced. They were well paid. The rest of the stories about POW camps were lies created by Americans... and Koreans and Chinese.

Oh, Joe, just in case, I was taking the Japanese revisionists side there. Just look at the comments above mine (and above Outrider's) and you'll see that some people very much think these things. They literally think Japan had no choice but to attack Pearl Harbor -- it was not their fault. The colonies were not their fault. etc.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

US stopped all oil export, with zero oil, Japan would not be able to use war ship or airplane but wait to be colonized by the west like other Aisan countries did. Japan had no choice but to fight.

So, if the US needs oil but the OPEC countries refuse to export oil to the US, then the US can fight OPEC to get the oil? Ah, so US grabbing oil in the Middle East makes sense now

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Most people believe in the story that America dropped two different type atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the purpose of putting an end to the war. This is an out-and-out lie.

The truth is that America dropped atomic bombs in a hurry because America thought it was coming to the end of the war. America didn't want to lose a golden opportunity to conduct experiments on living human bodies.

America harried to conduct the nuclear weapons test on July 16, 1945. This test is called "Trinity test". The plutonium type atomic bomb (which was dropped over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945) was tested actually. Interestingly, the Uranium type (which was dropped over Nagasaki on August 6, 1945) was not tested. America dropped the Uranium type atomic bomb over Hiroshima without rehearsal. This was the Uranium type atomic bomb itself. Hiroshima was the test place of Uranium type atomic bomb.

Japan had been asking USSR to be an intermediary's position for cease‐fire negotiation since June, 1945. Atomic bombing were utterly unnecessary to end the war. America wanted to measure the effectiveness of atomic bombs by using Japanese children' living bodies.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

TAMAGAWA, yeah.. sensing that Japan might lose the war that they started, Japan's leaders got coward and tried to seek peace negotiations. Except that things don't always go according to these spoilt brat's desire. Stalin declared war with Japan and are moving troops to the borders preparing to invade. Peace negotiations is not an option, the bombs got Japan to surrender and intimidate USSR to back off.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

This apology issue just reinforces the sad fact that Japan learned little from its mistakes in World Ear 2

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Truman was a real rascist. compared to the IJA and those leading Japan during WW2 Truman was a saint!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The WompMAY. 24, 2016 - 07:29PM JST

This apology issue just reinforces the sad fact that Japan learned little from its mistakes in World Ear 2

Interesting. How about America? Did it learn anything from WW2?

Japan has not lost any war after the end of WW2. US seems to have lost Korean War, Vietnam War and be losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

War is hell.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ms Uchida needs to remember Japan was not a victim in the war, horrific though the bombs were.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Is the position that Nuclear weapons should never be dropped on anyone? Is it that it's only this case that was bad? Japan is a big supporter of nuclear weapons both vis a vis the "nuclear umbrella" as well as J-companies supporting Pakistan's attainment of a Nuke program. LDP loves nuclear weapons when they serve its "interests."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ TAMAGAWABOAT, I think you may find there is a gaping hole in your argument:

I want to ask you, "Which day of the week did America's B29 drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima?" The answer is Monday. August 6 1945 was day" We should focus attention on the day and time when America dropped the atomic bomb. 8:15 am. and Monday morning… Why did the Enola Gay carry out the world’s first atomic bombing at 8:15 a.m.? Why did the Enola Gay drop the atomic bomb on Monday morning? American Army knew Japanese schools held morning meetings on Monday morning. 8:15 on Monday was the time that schools started morning meetings. American Army knew school children would round up in schoolyards for morning meetings at 8:15 am. Therefore, American Army set the time of dropping the world’s first atomic bomb at 8:15 am, on Monday, August 6th. For what? To kill Japanese school children efficiently and to crush all hope in Japan’s future

August 6th is slap bang in the middle of summer vacation.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For me it's easy to tell who are the good guy and bad guy in war. The bad guy are the one who started the war and in this case, it's Japan. Japan attack Pearl Harbour first. They also attack committed war aggression on China. When Japan attack China, the entire League of Nation members protest against Japan invasion. Japan did not listen. You reap what you sow. The nuclear weapon is a self defense action by USA. And of course, has Japan ever apologise for Nanking Massacre? Never. Japan don't have right asking apologise when Japan itself never atone for it's sin.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Use a nuclea weapon to IS to put an early end to the war agaisnt the terrorisms.

No, and NO. ISIL is not the only terrorist group out there. Completely destroying ISIL will not end the war against terrorism. Al Qaeda is still around as well as 100 other groups who feel if the world doesn't do what they say, then they'll just start randomly killing innocent civilians. As far as using nuclear weapons ANYWHERE, the "collateral damage" would be devastating and would constitute a war crime as the international rules currently define.

The article brings up the Bataan Death March as a counterpoint to the attacks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While the Bataan Death March was horrific and clearly a war crime as the rules were written then, it was a crime committed against military prisoners of war. Contrast this with the dropping of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The cities were chosen because they had not received any attacks previously and therefore battle damage assessment could be completely attributed to the one bomb dropped. Two different methods of achieving critical mass were used to compare effectiveness. And finally, the aim point for the bombs was the city center, not any military target. In short, the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were specifically targeted, not for military reasons, but in order to serve as the guinea pigs to see how many people the two differently constructed bombs could kill. After WWII, the 1949 Geneva Convention made "collective punishment" (i.e. punishment simply because you were of the same nationality/race/religion/political ideology as a violent group) a war crime. There is no one who would argue that a nuclear weapon wouldn't create a war crime event. Nukes have outlived their usefulness now that precision strike weapons have come into existence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it would be good for Obama to go to Hiroshima, and it's unfortunate that doing this is so complicated.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Farmboy:

Well he is going... where have you been? And I am the furthest from an Obama fan that one can be, but I think his answer when pressed by some NHK boneheads about a possible apology there was spot on. Fundamentally he said that in times of war, leaders have to make very difficult decisions we can not take them out of context and judge by our current standards. So, no apology.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

While it shows up in the papers, it's hardly "water cooler" discussion and I'm certain that if I were to ask my co-workers about it most if not all of them wouldn't even know about the G-7 summit let alone that Obama will be visiting Hiroshima.

WWII is of little concern in the U.S. anymore. Most Americans even ignore what is going on in Iraq in the context of the war we started there that unleashed what we see today. The inability to connect the dots is breathtaking. The only people that still really get all exercised about WWII are right wing ideologues.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What Americans forget is that people are still dying from the atomic bombs. People not even alive at the time. What they forget is some day another country will use the same excuse when using nuclear weapons on America.

The Peace museums are not for the past but the future.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Let's all take a moment to consider how irrelevant WWII is today. All the old people can go ahead and throw hate into every conversation and bring up animosities and sacrifices and wrongdoings of days long past. Deep down, such people are not trying to forget the past. They want to settle some old score, of puff themselves up, or profess some knowledge of morality that they really don't have.

I am starting to get pretty tired of it, frankly. WWII is about as far in the past as the US Civil War was to American GIs living then. I fail to see a lot of relevance today. WWII settled many questions, just as the Civil War did, but those questions were settled. Let's move on.

Why do the media emphasize all of this crummy fuzzy emotional thinking when they can't even report events of five years ago accurately? Don't most people, like everyone actually, have more important things to do? Like making a better future for themselves? It is over. Get over it. Let's move on navel gazers.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Fundamentally he said that in times of war, leaders have to make very difficult decisions we can not take them out of context and judge by our current standards. So, no apology.

Then US should stop blaming Japan over the war. And drop all the resolutions they voted against Japan recently over the war. Stop including comfort women in school textbooks recently, Stop military occupation on Japan calling Japan a war loser. Otherwise just a hypocrite.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@5speedracer. Your flippant attitude to just forget about one of the greatest global events fought by the Greatest Generation makes Americans want to puke. No, we don't want to settle any old scores, we just want one of the greatest, world altering events to not be forgotten or belittled as you would like. And it is not far in the past, there are people living today that participated in the war, bet you didn't know that! Go tell them you think WWII is irrelevant today, as it shaped what we see in the world order as we know it in the present. And most do have more important things to do, and fortunately they are more significant than what you have in mind!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@tokyo_eiyuu Who are "we"? "the greatest global events fought by the Greatest Generation" sounds much more flippant, arrogant, and biased attitude.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

tinawatanabe:

" Then US should stop blaming Japan over the war. And drop all the resolutions they voted against Japan recently over the war. Stop including comfort women in school textbooks recently, Stop military occupation on Japan calling Japan a war loser. Otherwise just a hypocrite. "

I really don´t know where you get that from. Your list of complaints sounds like a polemic misrepresentation of what is going on.

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hen US should stop blaming Japan over the war. And drop all the resolutions they voted against Japan recently over the war. Stop including comfort women in school textbooks recently, Stop military occupation on Japan calling Japan a war loser. Otherwise just a hypocrite.

Why not? Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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Yet has America learned the lesson of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? There is talk about America using the bomb again if Iran sinks one of their aircraft carriers. What I find surprising is the majority of Americans support the use of the nuclear bomb. Fact only one country has used atomic bombs the USA. Do Americans really understand the effects of a nuclear blast? Will they use one again? Kill another one million people in the name of peace.

As for the effects of nuclear weapons, the Nagasaki bomb is killing today. Generations after the attacks, what must be learned is the nuclear weapons should NEVER be used again!

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5SpeedRacer5MAY. 25, 2016 - 10:31AM JST Let's all take a moment to consider how irrelevant WWII is today.

WWII and even WWI are still relevant today as what happened to Europe and Asia helped create the world we live in today. Thinking otherwise is like saying that 18th and 19th Century European colonialism is irrelevant today. Really? Who drew the maps of what constitutes the countries in Africa and Latin America? Similarly, very few Americans know that the countries of the ME, excepting Persia/Iran, are largely made-up, inorganic nations.

YuriOtaniMAY. 26, 2016 - 12:56AM JST Yet has America learned the lesson of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? There is talk about America using the bomb again if Iran sinks one of their aircraft carriers. What I find surprising is the majority of Americans support the use of the nuclear bomb.

Really? And which poll did you conduct?

http://www.wsj.com/articles/would-the-u-s-drop-the-bomb-again-1463682867

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Yiuri Otani:

" Yet has America learned the lesson of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? "

That depends on what lessons you mean. In first and so far only use of the nuclear weapons they ended brutal war and arguably saved half a million lifes (based on estimates on what an invasion of Kuyshu would have looked like). So, based on a simple, cold calculation about the number of deaths, the lesson would be that the bombs were a success.

" Do Americans really understand the effects of a nuclear blast? "

Today, every understands the effects of a nuclear blast. Back then, it was a new weapon with many unknowns.

" Will they use one again? "

Nope. It is safe bet that the next time when nuclear weapons are used it will be from a party that is much less predictable and burdened with humanitarian concerns, or any. Think the Middle East, where Obamas Iran deal now means that after Pakistan and Iran, Saudi will elso embark on a nuclear program.

" Kill another one million people in the name of peace. "

Where do you get the million from? More people were killed in e.g. the firebombings of Tokyo than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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There is talk about America using the bomb again if Iran sinks one of their aircraft carriers

And here we have Japan still using nuclear power, and some politicians wanting to develop nuclear weapons. Look for your answers closer to home.

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The focus should be the future, should it not? Why do countries insist on developing nuclear weapons? Maybe, it is because that man has not evolved sufficiently enough to allow his communicative cooperative faculties to overcome the primitive lizard area of the brain that remains active.....

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"Japan identifies mostly as “a victim rather than a victimizer”

"In Japan, 79 percent said the bombs were unjustified"

I wonder what most Japanese think about this viewpoint:

The Japanese committed horrific atrocities against civilians throughout China and the countries of southeast asia. LIke the Nazis, they regarded all others as "subhuman". They destroyed and stole priceless art treasures from these countries. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki were necessary to demonstrate to the Japanese that they would be destroyed if they persisted. The Japanese had no sympathy for the countless numbers of civilians that they raped, tortured, murdered and subjected to horrific medical experiments during WWII. How can you compare being vaporized in an instant to the suffering of women, young and old, being raped to death by the Japanese army? The Japanese dissected live human beings to see the effects of chemical weapons on their tissues and organs. They sliced open the bellies of pregnant women on the streets of Manila during their occupation of the Philippines. These are just a few examples of what the Japanese did to civilians during WWII.

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