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Abe offers 'eternal condolences' for Americans killed in WWII

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offered a solemn personal apology for Japan’s actions.

None of the phrases quoted in this article amount to an apology.

An apology goes something like this:

"We were wrong. We are sorry."

-17 ( +25 / -42 )

Well done, Abe. You made the right statements regarding the war and the right statements regarding now. You remembered you were speaking to Americans whose spirits are moving forward not dwelling in the past of injured pride.

11 ( +32 / -21 )

@Black Sabbath: Abe said he shared earlier PMs apologies. What I fear the most is how this matter about apologies for the past, are distracting attention from what American and Japanese politicians are doing in the present, completely ignoring their own people interests and will. And I'm speaking about growing militarism and TPP, both things ordinary people can do nothing about.

15 ( +24 / -9 )

"Abe stressed the tight bonds between two nations"

Really, he deserves his nickname "sunny weather in head"....

-5 ( +16 / -21 )

His speech was a declaration of love to the US. All those words about how great America is and stuff...and Japan chosing the right side, etc. Yeah, Congress applauded tons of times, as the article says. Sorry, but in my opinion you can't bring peace through millitarism. But this was and is the whole point shared by the US and Japan. He said America brings hope to the world. I'm not sure about the fact you can bring hope by war.

15 ( +27 / -12 )

Now, if Abe were to extend the same sentiments to Japan's Asian neighbors there might be some progress.

5 ( +22 / -17 )

You know what even if he did or does make a formal "apology" it won't mean a thing unless action is taken to back up those words.

He made a step in the right direction for the US.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

@Alex80 "His speech was a declaration of love to the US".

Indeed, demonsrating the behavior of a servant to his master.

-5 ( +18 / -23 )

Now, if Abe were to extend the same sentiments to Japan's Asian neighbors there might be some progress.

He expressed remorse for what Japan did to the Asian countries. but the real point is another one, my friend. The US/Japan alliance got stronger to contein China. Explain me, please, how the real problem is if he apologized enough, or the current tensions for hegemony on the Pacific region. A good relation with China isn't possible until the US and Japan see China as a thread. There's no apology for the past that can change this present fact, that is the real danger for a war.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

"Abe stressed the tight bonds between two nations"

bond of deficit, deficit ridden dear friends to move hand in hand.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Black SabbathAPR. 30, 2015 - 07:04AM JST None of the phrases quoted in this article amount to an apology. An apology goes something like this: "We were wrong. We are sorry."

Apologies tend to be given when there is a belief that those apologies will be accepted, at least in part, and that dialogue between the two sides will be advanced. So unless there are strong reasons to do so, most leaders avoid it. The problem is, in China and Korea there has been very little readiness to accept Japan’s efforts to promote reconciliation, and as a result, those efforts have tended to founder.

With the Koreans, there has been an unwillingness to help the Japanese find ways of reconciling when the Japanese have tried to do so. The Asian Women’s Fund, which the Korean government did not support and in fact subverted by establishing a separate, rival support system for the former comfort women. There is also a good reason to question whether the Chinese really want or care about reconciliation. When Zemin went to Tokyo in the late 90's, he blasted the Japanese about the past in ways that prevented the Japanese from offering the kind of written apology that they gave South Korea President Kim Dae-jung that same year.

Chinese leaders have preferred taking a hard line on Japan. This has been especially so when there are divisions in the Chinese leadership, and on a deeper level may have something to do with the Chinese leadership being deeply worried about their legitimacy. The Chinese leaders need to strike a nationalistic tone in part because there is greater internal skepticism about one-party rule.

8 ( +18 / -10 )

He expressed remorse for what Japan did to the Asian countries

It's semantics really, if you or I apologized to each other and I expressed remorse and regret for what ever the wrong was odds are it would be accepted as an apology.

However in the political arena those same semantics are how the world turns, simple words "I'm sorry" but at the level between two or more countries those words mean something totally different. I'm sorry says I accept responsibility on behalf of my country for the actions that occurred. And it also means that it behooves the speaker to back those words up with actions to prevent "whatever" from happening again.

THAT is why Abe can't say "I'm sorry" because he KNOWS he can not back it up, and to me in his heart he doesn't believe it either.

He will continue to get flack for this issue as long as he is in office or until he does man up and say those two small but rather earth-shattering words.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

It is his words being translated from Japanese to English to whatever. He has tried to do the right thing but Japan haters will never listen to him.

-3 ( +18 / -21 )

China as a thread.*

"threat", I meant. I'm really afraid for our future, people. Because we are completely inside a cold war against China and Russia again, with a huge arms race involving all the major powers. "Hope"? No, Mr. Abe. Mankind is hopeless.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

@Alex80"Because we are completely inside a cold war against China and Russia again"

China is too weak to support any strong political course for new Cold War. Russia is able.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Abe made a masterful move by speaking about the reconciliation between Japan and US; and, in the process, indirectly acknowledging the misdeeds of Imperial Japan.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

He made a step in the right direction for the US.

Of course, he needs the US to get rid of the war constitution, and hide behind US skirts over the islands that Japan is in dispute with China. The US now thinks that Japan will now be able to send troops to fight ISIS, Iran, and Afghanistan, while Japan thinks the US military will stick their noses over the territorial disputes with China. I'm afraid Americans are sadly mistaking if they think they got another Britain in their hands in the name of Japan. With the upgrade in military alliance, let's see how far Japan will go with their combat deployments that the US will be surely asking of Japan. This is going to be interesting, not to mention the question of TPP where the US is expecting Japan to eliminate their barriers on agriculture (yeah, fat chance).

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

China is too weak to support any strong political course for new Cold War. Russia is able.

China's military expenditure are growing fast, because it is trying to narrow its gap in military skills compared to the US. There are speculations about the fact that if a war between China and US/Japan had to happen, the near future is the best moment for the US/Japa, since later China could be strong as much as the US, or even stronger. We have only to hope all the powers involved can be rational enough to avoid such a terrible scenario.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In order to watch his speech to Congress, I had to turn to NHK. It wasn't on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, BBC or any of the other news channels.

As opposed to Netanyahu's speech to Congress....which was broadcast live on all of those news channels.

I saw a lot of news about what is happening in Baltimore on the U.S. news channels, though.

The point being is that the average U.S. citizen in the U.S. probably had no idea he was in the U.S. and probably is indifferent to what he did/did not say. Because it doesn't impact them in any way and they really don't think about these things.

Just saying.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

I am pleased by PM Abe's speech before the US Congress.

A better ally we would be hard pressed to find; speaking as an American citizen.

Unfortunately most Americans would not see this as it happened mid day, and had none of the controversial buildup that Netanyahu's speech had.

See the full speech:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-04-29/japan-s-abe-addresses-u-s-congress-full-speech-

5 ( +11 / -6 )

The point being is that the average U.S. citizen in the U.S. probably had no idea he was in the U.S. and probably is indifferent to what he did/did not say. Because it doesn't impact them in any way and they really don't think about these things.

It's not like this doesn't impact them. TPP, and the pivot to Asia strategy impact them for sure. But you should know, for example, like TPP is handled in secret. We should be very afraid for the fact that the mainstream media almost ignored this historical event. Because yeah, the fact Japan after 70 years became a proactive Washingotn ally, in the same way Italy is, to contein China, it's a very important event.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

@zones2surf "it doesn't impact them in any way"

Because, nobody is really interested of what that U.S. pawn from Japan has recently said.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Because, nobody is really interested of what that U.S. pawn from Japan has recently said.

I don't know if they are interested or not, but how this alliance is changed is a sign of a more assertive Washington politics towards China, with deep implications for the whole world. I don't see how the US strategy towards China doesn't impact also American people.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Empty words.

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

Empty words.

Onagagamo -- spot on. Abe carefully parsed his words, as he always does, so he could say the minimally acceptable thing to satisfy the audience at hand, without really taking a moral stand. And, most importantly, not upsetting his right wing cohorts back at home. A courageous leader would break new ground, not hide behind worn-out, well-rehearsed words that always leave doubt as to their true intention. IMO, he is a gutless, child playing at leadership and statesmanship.

-8 ( +14 / -22 )

People today don't know why Japan had to fight against America. America put a strong pressure to Japan to pull out of China which was very difficult for Japan to accept considering the sacrifices the Japanese people paid for that. America and the Netherlands stopped oil and imposed economic sanctions. In a sense, uncompromising America drove Japan to a hopeless fight against America. Some say it was a scenario writen by the allied nations that did not want Japan's expansion on the continent.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

In a sense, uncompromising America drove Japan to a hopeless fight against America.

What a ridiculous statement. Sanctions are imposed as a non-warring way to encourage a nation to stop action that is not right. Japan invaded China. Sanctions were imposed, because this wasn't an appropriate action. Japan doubled down on aggression, and attacked those who imposed the sanctions.

Japan drove itself to a hopeless fight against America. If they had not invaded China, or if they had pulled out of China to remove the sanctions, they wouldn't have been devastated by war. They only have themselves to blame for the sanctions, and themselves to blame for being defeated in war after attacking America.

3 ( +18 / -15 )

@jerseyboy: please, tell me a name of a corageous leader today, with a high moral standard. And I'm not defending Abe. It's only that you are speaking about politicians here, not about Mother Teresa.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

@Alex "how the US strategy towards China doesn't impact also American people".

The US have no "strategy" towards China. Some rather primitive political games only, having aim to apply a known principle divide et empera to countries of south-east Asia. That is why the USA always support certain South Korean issues, such as "comfort women" and forcing Japan to apologize for "war crimes". Furthermore, many Americans aren't impact directly or indirectly because they aren't interested in politics and too much ignorant. Simple as that.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@yamashi: I see your point. It's not wrong. I understood this "game" very well over time. ;) But it's also part of a strategy towards China. A way to contein its expansion.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

None of the phrases quoted in this article amount to an apology.

An apology goes something like this: "We were wrong. We are sorry."

Apologies HAVE been made before, its been done, payments were made in the 50s and accepted - enough already. Lets keep going on about Vietnam shall we for the next 30 years. Japan had paid its dues, some countries just want to make trouble over and over again. Its a joke

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Why are people still demanding an apolgy? According to CNN Japan has apologized over 17 times. South Korea got their apology in 1965, along with USD 800 million to go to individuals like the fprmer Comfort Women but the South Korean government kept it for themselves. Communist China got ther apology in 1972 along with assistance which helped them get wherethey are today. Does Mike Honda know that these former Comfort Women were questioned in South Korea back in 1992 and found to be "not credible"? Has he ever read the US Army report No.49? Do South Koreans understand that the US-Japan alliance is critical to the defense of South Korea from the North?

15 ( +29 / -14 )

I agree with Black Sabbath that the words Abe used printed above were more along the lines of "Man, we feel bad for your loss." But honestly, is this something every Japanese PM is going to have to do as soon as s/he steps foot on American soil?

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

Listening to Abe stumble his way through his speech in English was painful.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

I think some credit is due to Abe for endorsing, without reservation, the statements by previous prime ministers. At face value this is a pull back from his thinking of earlier years. But it's this emphasis with the word "hansei" that is irking. Officially translated as "remorse". After the address Biden tried to recall it and came up with praise for Abe's expression of "regret". I guess I'll have l try this next time I have to apologise to my Japanese spouse after a domestic argument - "hansei shimasu" - and see how far that gets me!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

People think I support Abe and his LDP which is not true. I give him support as the leader of our nation. Though everything he does seems to piss off some group. Well he should listen to President Truman who said "if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog!"

0 ( +6 / -6 )

What a ridiculous statement. Sanctions are imposed as a non-warring way to encourage a nation to stop action that is >not right. Japan invaded China. Sanctions were imposed, because this wasn't an appropriate action. Japan doubled >down on aggression, and attacked those who imposed the sanctions.

The war plan for Japan at that time was not to have a long fight with the US (Yamamoto knew they could not win from the outset). Their aim was to cripple the US fleet and then hope the US would negotiate for peace thus taking the US out of the fight. They did not count on the resolve of the US and its people to go all the way and refuse to negotiate. I think that's what he is referring to.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I was just watching Abe's address to Congress on C-Span. He was remarkably well received, and presented himself and Japan very well.

I am no fan of Abe given his historical revisionism and curbs on freedom of the press, but he certainly left a good impression in the U.S. congress.

Unfortunately, coverage of this in the U.S. will be drowned out by the riots in Baltimore and earthquake in Nepal.

Here is the link to Abe's address to Congress (from the 15m mark); http://www.c-span.org/video/?325576-2/japanese-prime-minister-shinzo-abe-addresses-joint-meeting-congress

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@Ossan

Why are people still demanding an apology?

Because if a Japanese spokesperson, be they PM or whatever, does apologize, the reaction is this,

Empty words.

How can argue with such nonsense? One wonders if the CCP is not employing native English speakers these days. I guess they're paid more than 50 cents. But looking at the comments themselves, one would have to also wonder if the people making the comments have the IQ to demand more.

I'm also sure that you also agree that, not to make light of the terrible things that were done, the government at the time, plus their military, are hardly unique in their atrocities. Of course this is not an excuse, but anybody capable of thinking for themselves, has to ask why Japan has been repeatedly singled out.

When it comes to apologies, we always hear how sincere Germany was. Careful checking of the facts shows this neither uniform or consistent, yet even if it was true, how about pressing Italy, Vichy France, Romania, the Soviet Union etc, for apologies and compensation for the terrible things they were responsible for?

Crickets as usual.

Don't even get me started on wars that happened before of after WW2. Some atrocities have taken much longer to apologize for, if at all, and compensation is not always forthcoming either.

I think Japan's biggest crime was being the wrong colour. Every country they invaded had already been taken over by Europeans, by direct force or gunboat diplomacy. Where are the apologies and compensation for the atrocities and distress committed by these same countries?

The comparison DOES matter and is VALID. You can't have a special set of rules just for one country. This is biased, and entirely hypocritical to point fingers with accusations of whitewashing history.

0 ( +16 / -16 )

Wow this is just going to piss off more people.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

But it was Japan’s actions in Asia during that war that threatened to overshadow his historic address.

Nonsense. Abe squarely and strongly talked about Japan and the war, and talked about what mattered.

He offered condolences to Americans killed in the war, and this is the most important, since this was a speech in Washington, not Beijing. He said that Japan will uphold the past apologies to Asia. Abe emphasized that Japan and the U.S. were bitter enemies, but are now strong allies and bonded in spirit, since BOTH sides have since reconciled. I think the message is pretty clear.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

@ReformedBasher: double standard do exist for strategical reasons, indeed. Italy didn't even get a trial for its own war crimes. It's not like we were all saints. It was a strategical choice made by the Allies.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Like Japan, I don't see any point in digging up the past 70 years after the war ended. As you say, what's happening now is far more important.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

The guy or the country can do no right for some people. It must really irk some folks that they can do nothing about it either. Good on Abe and good on Japan.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Yes, it seems that everything was just overlooked when Italy changed sides.

It's not the only reason, and not even the main one. I advise you to watch BBC documentary "Fascist Legacy".

I was quite surprised to see a bust of Mussolini during one of my business trips there.

Apparently anything connected to him was not banned after the war?

See:

In Italy "apology of fascism" is legally recognised as a crime. Yet it has been committed here a million times since the 50s, with little or no punishment. The so-called epurazione – the cleansing of the cadres of public administration, army and academia from fascist elements after the second world war – was never thoroughly accomplished.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/31/silvio-berlusconi-apology-fascism-criminal-consistent

Is he still admired by some?

Yeah. Sadly, yeah. But our former colonies are very friendly with us anyway. For example, Greece loves Italy, while the situation with Germany...well, it's way different. Because they care more about things in the present than the past.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here is what Mike Honda,California Democrat, has been doing regarding Abe's speech.

Representative Mike Honda, a , recently sent a bipartisan letter to the Japanese ambassador to Washington asking Abe to squarely face history during his speech.

Afte Abe's speech, Honda said "Abe didn't apologize, never mentioned comfort women, Abe should be shamed of not recognizing the responsibility for organized cruel act."

source: Jiji.com マイク・ホンダ下院議員(民主)は、首相が謝罪せず、慰安婦問題に言及しなかったことに触れ、「首相が組織的残虐行為の責任を認めなかったことは、恥ずべきことだ」と批判。

.

And this is the comment when Honda faces the fact that there were comfort women serving US soliders.

Honda says "IT IS DIFFERENT."

https://koreasparkling.wordpress.com/2007/05/05/diggin-own-grave-rep-mike-honda/

Japanese former prime minister, Murayama and Kono already aplogized over comfort women for Japanese soliders. It is high time for You, Honda, to recognize the problem about Comfort women for US soldiers, instead of working for Chinese and Korean voters. THese comfort women deserve more than the word "It is different"!! .

.

"It is different"- Comfort women

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/11/us-southkorea-usa-military-idUSKBN0FG0VV20140711

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jlfAqR8uBc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhqhLwptwp0

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Pity for the Japanese to have such leader who does not have the courage to admit and apologise to the many Asians brutally killed and raped by the japanese soldiers during WWI.

It is a shame to mankind to have such leader in any country.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Wonder how the Black Van guys in their fake Imperial military uniforms and plastic Samurai swords are going to take this? Black Vans at the PM residence do you think?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

At least some more steps towards a full apology. Let's continue and watch instead of just bashing, guys. At least he apologized to the Americans. That's a step forward.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Abe in Congress was Abe in Japan: The same deceitful rightwing monster who is at the same time a sycophantic follower of the American military-industrial state. He'll do as he is told by the U.S. But he may do more to lead Japan into war. A man who avoids moral responsibility for the war crimes of his progenitors and violates the Constitution cannot be trusted.

I much note that the pro-Abe forces are making a large showing here. They cannot alter the truth about Abe oe intimidate those of us who know it.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

kyushubill

Wonder how the Black Van guys in their fake Imperial military uniforms and plastic Samurai swords are going to take this? Black Vans at the PM residence do you think?

Should we care?

Unless somebody can show me a photo of Abe himself driving or riding in one those vans, I don't give a flying fack what they do or don't.

Furan

At least some more steps towards a full apology.

Nope, it's a full apology. Just in case somebody missed that part, it's a F-U-L-L apology.

Maybe it gets tedious to read them all after there's been so many.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Does Mike Honda know that these former Comfort Women were questioned in South Korea back in 1992 and found to be "not credible"?

Ossan, as usuual, I must ask -- What the hell are you talking about? Do you ever let facts get in the way of your hatred of SK and complete disregard for thge suffering the country experienced at the hands of your beloved Japanese? Here is waht really happened in 1992:

Kim’s testimony was the most significant event in establishing a new interpretation of the comfort women system. Hearing her story on Japanese television, historian Yoshimi Yoshiaki went straight to the archives of the Self-Defense Agency (Boeicho), where he found evidence that conclusively demonstrated the involvement of the Japanese Imperial Army in organizing the comfort women system for its soldiers (though the nature of the comfort women system and the state/military involvement, including the use of force and coercion, still required further study). In 1992, he published his findings in major Japanese newspapers. Faced with documentary evidence from its own archives, the Japanese government had no choice but to acknowledge military involvement, and Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi officially apologized to South Korea.

Please stop throwing your crap on the wall and see what will stick. It gets tiresome having to respond to your nonsense.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Half a$$ed at best, abe could have, SHOULD have done better!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Yes.. yes.. evil evil Japan.. the bad guys who never apologize and never admits and never do anything right and its people are all bastards, racist and snobs...

I am honestly getting tired of most commentators in here, nothing is good for you, if one apologize the automatic response is "Empy Words" or "that is not an apology". If some crime happens in Japan, everyone here is sooo alarmed like those kinds of things does not happen anywhere else.

How can one plead for forgiveness if the ones "demanding" an apology are not willing to accept any?

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Exactly Daniel. Fact of matter is China and sk want to keep this going. The commentators on here are so bent on wanting to see JP down all the time. A really negative atmosphere this site is.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Who cares. It's just BS anyway. Nothings gonna change

2 ( +5 / -3 )

How long until Abe forms a committee to review his own speech? I'm betting next Thursday by the latest.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Apologies should also be made to other Asian countries

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Abe haters will be haters, no matter he does something against their opinion or he does something good. They will always pull it into the dirt. In my opinion Abe did already a lot more positive than any former Japanese PM, at the same time he knows that Japan doesn't want to become an underdog for China. It's a difficult balance act and you can never have it right for anyone but he's doing a decent job.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

I am honestly getting tired of most commentators in here, nothing is good for you, if one apologize the automatic response is "Empy Words" or "that is not an apology".

Actually I think what MOST of the jt posters who criticize, like myself is we see Japan's HUGE potential being wasted & so often flushed down the crapper!

Just imagine a Japan that dealt with its history honestly in a straight forward matter even just a couple decades back, then NOW Japan would be sitting on top of the Far East & Asia looking VERY GOOD, but alas it was not meant to be & here we are.

Japan should have put this to bed ages ago, but the too many right wing fools make Japan look bad, such a waste.

I live here & I HATE when Japan takes the low road, I HATE when the govt treats its own people like CRAP!

Japan could be light years ahead of where she is now, don't any of you apologizers want Japan to do well??

3 ( +10 / -7 )

About the time.... and I'm grateful of his action for those who lost lives in the war, not only Americans, but all Asian neighbours and Australian and New Zealanders.

Now, it's time for US to go to Hiroshima & Nagasaki to show their condolence for killing 246,000 innocent people.

Then let's us move on.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Mike Honda, eh? A colleague of Senator Hunt?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Abe haters will be haters, no matter he does something against their opinion or he does something good

Abe supporters will be supporters, no matter what Abe does.

Now, it's time for US to go to Hiroshima & Nagasaki to show their condolence for killing 246,000 innocent people. Mr Abe could lead the way by visiting Nanking and showing his condolences for the innocent lives lost there. It goes both ways

1 ( +8 / -7 )

What the hell does eternal condolences mean? Such a spruced up euphemism for something.It's not an apology,barely an acknowledgement of misdeeds and nothing to let people move on from this topic.A nuclear waste of time and words.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

He should have said on behalf of a long gone and very different Japanese people, of which we are not the same at all, I would like to say sorry on their behalf.

Now, let's get over it and have some sake, and go down to the Yasakune shrine for some Hanami.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I don't think Abe made an impolite or improper speech. Or, he said rather nothing important, practical issue about the international situation. Dare I say, not Abe himself but the fact that "Japanese PM made a speech in US" might be some kinda propaganda...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@GW APR. 30, 2015 - 01:16PM JST

Just imagine a Japan that dealt with its history honestly in a straight forward matter even just a couple decades back, then NOW Japan would be sitting on top of the Far East & Asia looking VERY GOOD, but alas it was not meant to be & here we are.

Perhaps you should first explain what causes you to give such rosy projections. Because that's not my projection at all. Instead, based on Korea and China (along with their supporters in the US) reactions to the apologies and concessions that were given ... their demands can best be summarized as "More, more, more!" Issues that should have been settled in the 60s and 70s (and they did get something!) are dragged, and entirely new issues are added intermittently.

And before you say Germany, here's my counterpoint. Germany was lucky to be a frontline state in the Cold War with the West having desperate need for her to provide 12 divisions to buffer up the Inter-German border. Similar to US-Japan relationships, there is a great need to forgive Germany and national media is quietly steered towards that end. No such pressure exists in China and Korea. Thus the reward:liability curve of apologizing can be projected to be extremely different.

And before you say "Try it anyway", if the current sad experience teaches us anything, it is that apologies are irrevocable concessions. Any attempt to even clarify your apology or contest the latest expanded interpretation by the other side will be called "unrepentant and revisionist."

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

The US have no "strategy" towards China. Some rather primitive political games only, having aim to apply a known principle divide et empera to countries of south-east Asia. That is why the USA always support certain South Korean issues, such as "comfort women" and forcing Japan to apologize for "war crimes". Furthermore, many Americans aren't impact directly or indirectly because they aren't interested in politics and too much ignorant. Simple as that.

A very stupid proposition to say the least. Why do think America is pushing so hard for TTP, and at the exclusion of China?

Secondly, your claim that Americans aren't interested in politics is balderdash.

Just for the record, if you proceed with your argument with "all/ many Americans..." Or "all/ many Japanese..." Please just stop yourself from going on with the rest of your jibberish. Realize that you're generalizing and being ignorant. There's no possible way that you know and understand "all" or "many" of the people you irresponsibly broadstroke.

Also, how many of you on the "Japan must apologize" bandwagon know anything about what Japan did, or understand WW2 aside from what was shoved down your throats at school. Very few people are alive today who have a connection to what transpired then. I read the books and the literature on what happened, and I can say Japan wreaked havoc in Asia. But for me to argue until I'm blue in the face that Japan must apologize would only be behaving chic and thinking with a herd mentality. If you're a foreigner in Japan feeling indignant at the way foreigners are often handled in Japan and vent your frustration at Japan by riding its case about an apology, you need to hang it up quickly.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

no mention of the cannibal acts committed by Japanese Imperial officers at Chichi-jima against America airmen, yet his visit to Yasukuni honors those same men.

Acknowledgement of generics is NOT enough. Specific apologies and renumerations are required by Japan's neighbors for peaceful relations going forward, but Abe has too much national pride to commit.

Ill met by moonlight...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

no mention of the cannibal acts committed by Japanese Imperial officers at Chichi-jima against America airmen, yet his visit to Yasukuni honors those same men.

Why should he? America settled its beef with those types at the Tokyo tribunals and with the occupation and article 9. Should Abe have gotten down on all fours in the center of congress and committed harakiri?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I think this is a good way to get on the U.S. good side, but now if he and the Emperor would do the same thing throughout Asia, change would at least have a starting point. If your applying straight logic you might find it puzzling as to why he can do this before Congress but not to a neighboring country in Asia. Ive never been told once by a Japanese in japan they are sorry for any loss of American lives, its usually been the opposite with lectures and drama. Nutters and others defending and asking for bowing down to all things Japan. I think the U.S. no longer sees Japan as an economic or military threat due to its demographic problem which equals future economic problems as well; so this administration is going forward with dropping the restraint. There was allot of discussion about this before and many old hands had their reservations. I think there will always be the facist and nuts in Japan who want a return to the days of empire and will work themselves into a frenzy believing it will happen, but only from inside their insular bubble. This is so insignificant in world events that it hardly matters unless your living in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Don't expect an apology. The Native Americans haven't. Why China or South Korea? Just a game, played by people who have nothing to lose and no imagination.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

... but now if he and the Emperor would do the same thing throughout Asia, change would at least have a starting point.

Have you not been paying attention to the things the emperor has been saying that are in stark contrast to Abe?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Probably like most people here, I'm already entrenched in my opinion so I'm probably not likely to change my opinion, but I often find myself stuck somewhere in the middle trying to explain to the fringes, and I just came up with a new talking point regarding comfort women to help explain the issue to my friends on both sides.

To my friends who get upset over the phrase "comfort women" getting translated as sex slave. I understand their frustrations with what that implies, but I would like to tell them that there are Americans who consider Chinese railroad workers to be slave labor too, so there might be a disconnect with the definition of slave labor. Americans didn't actively come to china and abduct Chinese. But many Chinese got tricked by other Chinese claiming that the US was full of gold and opportunity, only to realize that was far from the truth once they arrived. Once stateside, they would basically be trapped by circumstance.

So that being said, I think those same Americans who believe comfort women were gang pressed into working as sex slaves are deserving of a national apology,they should also be clamoring for the United States to offer China a national apology, no?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

*Have you not been paying attention to the things the emperor has been saying that are in stark contrast to Abe?

yes he has made some blanket statements; but you still miss the mark, or perhaps I didnt make my mark clear for you to see. Has a state visit before other countries parliments etc been made, with the same statements? That was my point.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Ossan: "Why are people still demanding an apolgy?"

Because you YOURSELF have said that sex slaves were all prostitutes, and that South Korea TO THIS DAY is guilty of all the problems in Japan regarding prostitution and trafficking. Ergo, the problem is that any past apologies have not only NOT been official, they have been undermined by the actions of current politicians and right wing supporters, such as yourself, in the form of denials and outright slanderous remarks towards the actual victims that these supposed apologies were for.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Though Abe did not mention China by name, he spoke of the “state of Asian waters,” saying countries must not “use force or coercion to drive their claims.”

The actual text of the speech Abe delivered at U.S. Congress, according to the Japanese version, was as follows:

As for the "state of Asian waters," he emphasized the three principles that every country must observe:

Firstly, if a country claims about something, it must do so according to international law. Secondly, no military force nor intimidation must be used to support one's claim. Thirdly, the solution of a conflict must be subject to peaceful measures.

He may have China in mind but, when I read these lines, I doubted my own eyes because it seemed as if he had the U.S. in mind as well. It's the U.S. that blatantly violated these three principles in the past. Take a look at the Iraqi War, for example. Take a look at U.S. bases in Okinawa, above all the MCAS Futenma, and see how most of the land they sit was confiscated, sometime at bayonet point and by bulldozer, in clear violation of international law.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Abe san is moving Japan forward and certainly in the right direction, saying sorry for the war time attics and aggression is a step in the right direction, but he also needs to step up to the plate and address the issue of comfort woman, and the issues between China and Japan need to be addressed.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Abe san is moving Japan forward and certainly in the right direction

Forward into debt? You're really a positive person!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

He may have China in mind but, when I read these lines, I doubted my own eyes because it seemed as if he had the U.S. in mind as well. It's the U.S. that blatantly violated these three principles in the past. Take a look at the Iraqi War, for example. Take a look at U.S. bases in Okinawa, above all the MCAS Futenma, and see how most of the land they sit was confiscated, sometime at bayonet point and by bulldozer, in clear violation of international law.

Please explain how the U.S. is occupying Okinawa illegally. U.S. presence in Okinawa was settled legally after the war. As far as Futenma is concerned, Abe is in full support of it to counter the threat of China. The fact that the Governor of Okinawa opposes Abe makes me think that the the only ones illeagally occupying okinawa are the Japanese.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the only ones illeagally occupying okinawa are the Japanese.

I think Okinawans live in their own houses they registered with registry office. Many Americans call the Japanese "Free riders", Is that what you mean, Mr. Noidall? The Japanese are illegally occupying Japan?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No! My point was that as distasteful as U.S. presence in Okinawa may be, it's not illegal as the above commenter suggested. And that the only ones who technically occupy illeagally the Ryukuan islands, a.k.a. Okinawa, are the Japanese who colonized the Ryukuan people's. But Japan is not alone: America in the case of Hawaii and Puerto Rico; England in the case of almost everywhere. But it's off topic. I hope JT won't delete this comment as I'm only trying to respond to you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

the speech is only historic because it is the first, not because of its content.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I am not sure why so many posters continue to think that disliking Abe = hating Japan. I do not like Abe, but it is because of things like his past statements, ignoring the public's wish to stop using nuclear energy, and ignoring the public's wish to keep the constitution as is. He boasted about democracy in his speech, when in fact he doesn't seem to understand the meaning of the word.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Every country has some shady past esp during war and even peaceful times. If not, how do you explain US aggression towards blacks/slavery and Native American Indians or China against Tibet? And these two are on-going even today?!?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I can only strongly recommend that people listen to the full speech before making any kind of comments in here.

Anyone who feels today more threatened by a country that in 70 years has not fired a shot, has been a good steward to the world community, is kept in check (if needed) by the most formidable military power that ever existed, is now too busy collecting its dividends across the world to wage a war and whose leaders can be ousted in next year's election than by a cohort of cronies that pollute the brains of 1.4 billion people with USSR style propaganda, control every aspect of their free-will aside from allowing them to buy -stuff- and would rather probably self-destroy that relinquish any kind of power needs to either have its head examined (Korea ?), have a political agenda (China) or both for not having the courage to look into its own colonial troubled past...

Sorry for the long sentence.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I am not sure why so many posters continue to think that disliking Abe = hating Japan. I do not like Abe

justbcuzisay -- exactly. In fact, I would go one step further and say that hating Abe is actually showing love and respect for Japan and its wonderful people, because he does not, IMO, in any way, reflect their true feelings. He is almost afraid to tell them the truth -- the old "paternalism" that has long characterized Japan's government's attitude towards the citizens. He knows what is best. Abe, again, IMO, simply reflects the attitude of Japan Inc., and not the real country.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

What does "eternal condolence" mean? It is a polite way of saying EF you our business is done. It might also mean that he thinks he will never die, like the naive boy Nick at the end of Indian Camp. It is one of those inflated phrases that do nothing except show the speaker's insincerity.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not a fan of Abe, but he is doing the right thing here. Japan-USA alliance is important to counter China aggressive maritime claim. This alliance benefit not just Japan but also the SEA.

However, I still think it best if he apologize to China and south Korea seeing there's concern that Japanese is trying to whitewash history. Yes, there is apologize in the past but there's also many attempt to deny and whitewash it making the apologize null. If once Abe make apologize and China still whining, then that is their problem.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Now, if Abe were to extend the same sentiments to Japan's Asian neighbors there might be some progress.

Yeh, if the speech was actually for them. Abe goes to the USA to speak to the USA, and Asian neighbors complain. They would have complained no matter what he said, anyway.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

For Japanese prime minister standards it was not a bad speech, but why did it sound so hallow? Maybe because there was absolutely no personal affection in it?

The remarks about Abe visiting the war memorial were obviously written by his advisers long before he had been there and his statements about the Japanese responsibility didn't mention one atrocity or misdemeanor of the Japanese. He was referring to the war like to a natural disaster that was by chance set off in Japan.

The odd phrase "eternal condolences" sounds like a google attempt to translate a Japanese funeral parlor website. Obviously Abe's advisers thought they should express some kind of remorse about Japanese actions in front of an US audience, but tried to phrase it in a way that no bells would ring with Japanese right-wingers. Not really convincing.

If one considers that central to Abe's agenda is to boldly restrain citizens rights in the constitution and suppress the freedom of press his repeated comments about the ideals of freedom and democracy that the US and Japan share sounded like a fox talking about keeping geese.

The speech was full of sweet talk directed at the US and during the second half Abe made it crystal clear what he's most interested in: business and security relations with the US.

While the speech was well prepared and fairly well delivered I can't see any grandeur in it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

hachikouApr. 30, 2015 - 10:28AM JST Japanese former prime minister, Murayama and Kono already apologized over comfort women for Japanese soliders. It is high time for You, Honda, to recognize the problem about Comfort women for US soldiers, instead of working for Chinese and Korean voters. THese comfort women deserve more than the word "It is different"!! .

How can you compare? There is no comparison from today to situation of comfort wormen under Japanese rule in WWII. Approximately 75 percent (3 out of 4) of Korean and Chinese comfort women died in WWII, and most survivors were left infertile due to sexual trauma or sexually-transmitted disease. Can you say the same today? The women cried out, but it didn't matter to Japanese soldiers whether the women lived or died. They were the emperor's soldiers. Whether in military brothels or in the villages, these soldiers raped without reluctance and beatings and physical torture were said to be common. In the “Comfort Station” many were systematically beaten and raped day and night. Even the Japanese doctor raped many of them each time he visited the brothel to examine us for venereal disease. Some were forced into slavery even when they were not old enough to have started menstruating. After the war, the court testimonies state that these prepubescent girls were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers while those who refused to comply were executed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am honestly getting tired of most commentators in here, nothing is good for you, if one apologize the automatic response is "Empy Words" or "that is not an apology". If some crime happens in Japan, everyone here is sooo alarmed like those kinds of things does not happen anywhere else.

It's empty words because there has been denial or downplaying in Japan making the apologize null.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For Japanese prime minister standards it was not a bad speech, but why did it sound so hallow? Maybe because there was absolutely no personal affection in it?

Probably because he is not really very good at English, and was struggling just to read the whole speech. Still better than previous PMs that would probably not speak any English at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ therougou MAY. 01, 2015 - 01:46PM JST

While obviously Abe's struggling with english language plays a role here, there are many examples of statesmen being able to express a more genuin kinds of affection even with very rudimentary language abilities.

I believe what came across here was Abe's genuin feeling about Japans war time history and that's much more touched by Japan loosing the war then by the fact that Japan started it and fought it in a terrifying inhumane manner.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I believe what came across here was Abe's genuin feeling about Japans war time history and that's much more touched by Japan loosing the war then by the fact that Japan started it and fought it in a terrifying inhumane manner.

I get the feeling you were going to interpret it in that way regardless of how he said it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A sad thing is, behind these political words, what Abe is actually doing is that he is asking military-industrial complex to let Japanese military industries join to their business. In exchange, he is offering the lives of low-income population in his country as inexpensive soldiers. He even increased the tax on the poor, which leaves even fewer options in their job market. Of course, the current market is already crowded and they need to expand it a bit by some propaganda tasks by controlling mass media and fooling less educated people into his image of "beautiful country" or the dream of his grandpa. Basically, he is trading the lives of the poor in his country with the market share in the military industries, which would be better than letting them against the rich in the eye of his and his allies. Not an unusual thing in history at all. When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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