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Abe lays wreath at Australian war site in Darwin, 75 years after bombing

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Slo Mo has no idea who he is dealing with and is a sell-out. Ask most Japanese and they don't even know that they bombed and tried to (also) invade Australia due to the shocking lack of history in Japanese 'history' textbooks.

-11 ( +14 / -25 )

I give Abe a ton of flack in my comments but sometimes he surprises me. Well done Mr. Abe.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

@AgentX: Australia and Japan are allies and they can move on, of course. Politicians continue to live in the past only if the governments are enemies also in the present. You should really learn something about geopolitics.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

During WWII all the Major Western Powers were Colonial Powers, nobody was morally above the others.

14 ( +23 / -9 )

@gogogo: Honestly, Abe isn't so bad in foreign policy. He is trying to balance Japan relationships with all the parties. While he strenghtens obviously the alliance with Japanese traditional Western allies, he also adopted a softer policy with Russia and China, without altering the main Alliance with the US.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

”tried to invade Australia”

Their invasion of New Guinea may have been a prelude to an attack on the island continent, but apart from a few raids here and there, there was never any invasion nor to my knowledge were there documented plans for one. The U.S West Coast was also shelled, but it’s a long way from there to having troops on the ground.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

AgentX: Australia and Japan are allies and they can move on, of course. Politicians continue to live in the past only if the governments are enemies also in the present. You should really learn something about geopolitics.

Irrelevant to the claim that most Japanese people are unaware of the attack on Australia.

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

@Jimizo: his main claim was that the Australian pm shouldn't deal with Mr. Abe, considering the past. His claim about Japanese plan invasion of Australia isn't even historically correct. His claim that all Japanese textbooks don't speak about this attack is also questionable.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

AgentX, you're right, most of them wouldn't have a clue that Darwin was bombed.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

OK, better late than never, but this & PH visit were VERY LATE!

I would call it a start, wouldn't it be nice for similar visits to the Far East & SE  Asia

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Baz Luhrmann's epic historical movie "Australia" released in 2008, was the first time many people I have connections with here knew about the Darwin bombing. Of course they knew Aust & Japan were foes in ww2, but had no idea about the attacks.

My closest Japanese friend here - also a popular amateur film critic - questioned me over many of the details of the attacks as portrayed in the movie. Naturally it was a romantic adventure, but the core of the attacks was pretty consistent with reality.

I recall he said the automatic weapons of the Japanese were too sophisticated for the weapons of that era. I had to research and show him details showing the movie to be generally accurate.

I was actually surprised so many of my acquaintances didn't know of this incident or other attacks at all. I just thought it was general historical knowlege.

It was similar to when the Japanese submarine was found off from Sydney in 2006(?) and subsequently memoralized as a war grave. People I spoke to had no idea.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

@Jimizo: his main claim was that the Australian pm shouldn't deal with Mr. Abe

Where did I say that? That would be ridiculous. My comment was in regards to the Ichthys gas field deal.

You should really learn something about geopolitics.

I know that whitewashing history is not a good move for solid relations moving forward. Regardless, the rich will always put on smiles for the cameras when large amounts of money are involved...

I couldn't downvote your comment.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

together with that Country's PM*

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Where did I say that? That would be ridiculous. My comment was in regards to the Ichthys gas field deal.

You said:

Slo Mo has no idea who he is dealing with and is a sell-out.

And you explained what you meant saying this:

Ask most Japanese and they don't even know that they bombed and tried to (also) invade Australia due to the shocking lack of history in Japanese 'history' textbooks.

What should people think you meant?

10 ( +13 / -3 )

together with that Country's PM*

And your point is?

It's written above. No need to shove words into anyone's mouth.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Their invasion of New Guinea may have been a prelude to an attack on the island continent, but apart from a few raids here and there, there was never any invasion nor to my knowledge were there documented plans for one.

Do you think that once they took PNG, they were just going to stand on the shore and wave at Australians? You don't thank it might have been anything to do with Australia's plentiful natural resources and minuscule armed forces?

Do you think the midget-subs were just sightseeing in Sydney Harbour?

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

And your point is?

My point is that not everyone lives in the past. Both these politicians have a future oriented relationships, despite the past and what some textbooks could or not to say in the detail. Some kind of historical revisionism does exist everywhere, but this isn't the only thing to decide the diplomacy between Countries. Today Australia and Japan share the same values and strategical interests, it's useless speaking about Japan everytime like if we were living in the first half of the 20th century.

Plus, again, history is written by the winners, also in the losers Countries.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Some kind of historical revisionism does exist everywhere, but this isn't the only thing to decide the diplomacy between Countries.

Are you now justifying the whitewashing of history?

Today Australia and Japan share the same values... [snip]

Ummm... no. Just, no. If you have lived and worked in both Japan and Australia for any extended time, you would know this.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

The show of unity and shared developments and interests going forward by Japan & Aust is certainly a big show / nudge to China. Even we, who were once enemies can now be positive allies commercially as well as security wise.

The race is really on to see who can exercise more clout and gain more respect in the Asia-Pacific region over the ensuing decades.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

China & Korea should learn from Australia & get over what happened over 70 years. 1000’s of Aussie soldiers died at the hands of the Japanese, but we have moved on.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Good on ya Abe ! Hajimete tokubetsu !

thank you

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Slo Mo has no idea who he is dealing with and is a sell-out. Ask most Japanese and they don't even know that they bombed and tried to (also) invade Australia due to the shocking lack of history in Japanese 'history' textbooks

Ask most young Australian's and they are probably equally clueless.

1000’s of Aussie soldiers died at the hands of the Japanese, but we have moved on.

We certainly have and its pretty remarkable. Although I suppose less remarkable than the U.S/Japan relationship and Germany and Europe.

Australians these days quite like Japan and some of its most respected products of course. Can't move for Toyota cars here.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Thank you Mr Abe, a thoughtful gesture. I’m sure we have all learned from the mistakes of the past and just want to move on making the world a better place than the one we leave it in.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What was the reason for bombing ?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

1000’s of Aussie soldiers died at the hands of the Japanese

The number includes the injured.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

What was the reason for bombing ?

The Allied Powers were invading all over Asia, and coming to Japan.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

The reason for the bombing?

Japan had drawn a dotted line around Indonesia and the SE Asian islands which they were planning to make into their colonies. I have a map here drawn at the time. Australia was outside that line, and was thought by most strategists best left to the 'Europeans' living there, but the north coast was uncomfortably close, and Darwin with its airbase and port was seen as a potential direct threat to Japan's plans, so it needed to be hit hard, by both Japan's Imperial army and navy air forces.

(Interestingly the dotted line on the map looks very similar to the dotted line concept that China has drawn recently around the China Sea, in fact it is almost a direct copy.)

10 ( +12 / -2 )

nandakandamanda, very interesting point, and truly educational, I accept your explanation with one question: how recent is China's claim ?

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

In Japan opinions seem to have been divided on what to do with Australia, but common sense must have suggested to most that it was too big to be taken, not right away anyway, as Japan was already busily committed (overstretched in fact) already to a vast area of Asia.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

When some people say that Japanese imperialism was induced by Western imperialism, they aren't saying revisionist crap. It's not like someday Japan suddenly woke up and said "I want to become a Colonial Power in Western style!" Commodore Perry actions, the Unequal Treaties and so on, brought Japan to copy Western model, for not being victim of it. Of course, the fact they wanted to free Asia from Western imperialism was propaganda, they made everything for their sake, like any other Colonial Power.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Akie, to answer your question, the post-WWII history of the Chinese 9-dash (or 10-dash) line is here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine-Dash_Line

6 ( +6 / -0 )

To show how close Darwin was to Japan's line, see this map.

https://search.yahoo.co.jp/image/search?rkf=2&ei=UTF-8&gdr=1&p=map+japan%27s+dotted+line+around+se+asia+wwII#mode%3Ddetail%26index%3D4%26st%3D155

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Oops, this is a better version of the dashed/dotted line.

https://www.westpoint.edu/history/SiteAssets/SitePages/World%20War%20II%20Pacific/WWIIAsia16.gif

4 ( +4 / -0 )

nandakandamanda, thanks for the map, very impressive. After careful examination under magnifying glass, Japan's claim was made in 1942, which was 2000 years later than Chinese claim, in the overlapping south China sea part. In fact, many Japan's claim were actually abandoned after WW2 and officially returned back to China, in 1945. The disputed South China Sea isn't disputed from Japan's point of view: the international water was claimed before, recognized by laws, bad laws or not, and that was a precedent in customary international laws.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

People need to read up on history before commenting on topic.

I think this shows that japan can apologize for past aggression but other parties have to show that it's not one-sided

6 ( +9 / -3 )

@snickers - its not an apology when it is when it is omitted from school books and lessons...

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

When some people say that Japanese imperialism was induced by Western imperialism, they aren't saying revisionist crap.

I agree. The Japanese had a thing, IMO, for the way Bismarck consolidated Germany and then how Wilhelm II and Holstein began their colonialist policies while challenging Britain for navel supremacy. It certainly explains how the trains still run on time here.

When I first came to Japan I couldn’t figure out how the got the pronunciation of the word “virus” all mixed up.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Agent, I remember almost nothing from any school book that I read 20 years ago.

The internet in Japan is not censured so people are able to read up on Japan's dark history there.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I remember almost nothing from any school book that I read 20 years ago.

Likewise (but in my case maybe 50 years ago).

I think for many British people of my age, the history of World War 2 is what was presented in movies and TV shows and even children's comics. Germans and Japanese featured highly as the bad guys. I hear often of the ignorance of younger Japanese people of those times, but I'm fairly certain I'd face the same ignorance here about Britain's activities in the Middle East and elsewhere around the same period.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

WWII has been over for 73 years. Abe Shinzo received a standing ovation from a joint session of the US Congress in 2015 and the US and Japan are staunch allies. Likewise Australia and Japan are allies and strategic partners in maintaining the peace, security and the rule of law in the region. It's remarkable that so many posters miss the point of this article, or rather ignore it's significance.

Do most Japanese know about the attack on Darwin? No. And neither do most Australians. Sorry but Darwin is not on the historical scale of Pearl Harbor or Hiroshima. Nobody in my country knows about the Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor. In fact they have no idea where it is. Everyone I asked thought it was in Holland.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Do most Japanese know about the attack on Darwin? No. And neither do most Australians.

Wrong!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Everybody in Australia knows about the Japanese attack on Darwin do not worry about that Ossan. Massive damage was done and over 300 killed.

If you ask any Australian or New Zealander about Japan they will probably say that they kill whales and make good cars. Japanese have zero idea about just how much bad publicity their whale hunts bring them in Australia and New Zealand.

Japanese submarines also entered Auckland harbour in New Zealand during WW2. A lot of Japanese spies entered Australia by submarine and parachute. The sinking of the Australian red cross ship and the terrible treatment of the prisoners of war will not be forgotten for several centuries. Japanese kids need to be taught all of this to understand why they are so disliked.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Do most Japanese know about the attack on Darwin? No. And neither do most Australians. 

Ossan, it is pretty clear you don't know much about the Darwin bombings, but most Aussies certainly do. The two events most people associate with Darwin historically are the Japanese attacks, and Cyclone Tracy in 1975.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Copied from Wikipedia. People in Australia lived in terror from multiple Japanese attacks against civilians for 2 years.

Japanese aircraft made almost 100 raids, most of them small, against northern Australia during 1942 and 1943. Land-based IJN aircraft took part in many of the 63 raids on Darwin which took place after the initial attack. The town of Broome, Western Australia experienced a devastating attack by IJN fighter planes on 3 March 1942, in which at least 88 people were killed. Long-range seaplanes operating from bases in the Solomon Islands made a number of small attacks on towns in Queensland.

Japanese naval aircraft operating from land bases also harassed coastal shipping in Australia's northern waters during 1942 and 1943. On 15 December 1942, four sailors were killed when the merchant ship Period was attacked off Cape Wessel. The small general purpose vessel HMAS Patricia Cam was sunk by a Japanese floatplane near the Wessel Islands on 22 January 1943 with the loss of nine sailors and civilians. Another civilian sailor was killed when the merchant ship Islander was attacked by a floatplane during May 1943

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

If you ask any Australian or New Zealander about Japan they will probably say that they kill whales and make good cars. 

I think you forgot that thousands that travel there and the thousands of citizens employed in the teaching bidness

0 ( +2 / -2 )

When some people say that Japanese imperialism was induced by Western imperialism, they aren't saying revisionist crap. It's not like someday Japan suddenly woke up and said "I want to become a Colonial Power in Western style!" Commodore Perry actions, the Unequal Treaties and so on, brought Japan to copy Western model, for not being victim of it. Of course, the fact they wanted to free Asia from Western imperialism was propaganda, they made everything for their sake, like any other Colonial Power.

Point taken, but what's objectionable is that some of these people go too far with the "Japan had to become an imperial power to avoid becoming a victim" argument. They apply this argument to the invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the start of general war against China in 1937, and even the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. There is simply no way to plausibly argue that Japan would have been invaded and turned into a colony of Britain, France, or the US if Japan's armed forces had not invaded Manchuria in 1931. Japan was one of the most militarily powerful countries in the world by the 1930s. Its position in the world as a sovereign state was fully secured after decades of territorial expansion from the 1870s through World War I. And yet you still have people willing to argue that Japan had to invade and subjugate China in the 1930s and then bomb Pearl Harbor in 1941 to ensure that Japan wouldn't be turned into another British India or French Indochina. It's a ridiculous claim to make. Ditto for the "defensive imperialism" argument as applied to the bombing of Darwin.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Its nice to see finally see some voices of reason in here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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