politics

Abe to craft war history statement with eye on U.S.

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By Linda Sieg

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One option, experts say, is for Abe to endorse past government apologies but stop short of repeating, as many in China and South Korea want, key phrases such as references to “colonial rule and aggression” and a “heartfelt apology”.

Then he is not being sincere, and, IMO, as his "forward-looking comments" are just self-serving BS. Grow up man!

11 ( +17 / -6 )

I am completely against the idea that Japan needs to apologise in perpetuity for what happened in World War 2. Once an official apology is made it's done. Remember also the number of soldiers who faced trial, jail and execution for what happened in the war.

But Abe is a complete fool if he thinks Japan benefits in anyway from anything other that honest, sincere and transparent reflection on what the Japan of 70 years ago visited on Asia. This is a time to show contemporary Japan as a mature world leader in touch with the stark reality of it's own history and the broader International community's perception and recollection of it as well.

15 ( +21 / -6 )

This is a time to show contemporary Japan as a mature world leader in touch with the stark reality of it's own history and the broader International community's perception and recollection of it as well.

Tamarama -- brilliant comment. Wish I had been that articulate.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Tamarama is getting to the heart of the issue. Simply refer to the Murayama and Kono statements, period.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

This reveals that for people like Abe, Japan lost to the US, not to China, Korea or other asian nations, so sincere contrition need only be directed towards America.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I am completely against the idea that Japan needs to apologise in perpetuity for what happened in World War 2. Once an official apology is made it's done.

I agree. Now they just need to make an official apology.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

How about this for openers...'We did a lot of terrible things in the past for selfish reasons. Many thousands of innocent people died because of what we did, but we are not that same people now. Please accept our heartfelt apology for the harm we caused to so many...'

5 ( +10 / -5 )

@sensei: I like your comment, especially we are not the same people you wrote.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

...Asian nations that suffered from Japanese military aggression.

I didn't say it...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Headline: "Abe to craft war history statement with eye on U.S." Well chosen. Abe is being crafty and whatever he says is going to contain evasion and whitewash. The truth does not require "craft."

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Who cares what the US thinks?

Abe's first priority is to represent his people. That's why he is in the position he is.

Having had 70 years of peace with a pacifist constitution, Abe is moving in the opposite direction.

Is this what Japanese people want?

More war?

7 ( +14 / -7 )

There are too many "patriotic groups" in both China, S Korea, and Japan (yes, Japan too) that depend on anti-Japanese sentiment to make money (donations). The last thing they want is normal relations between Japan and Asia. But it seems that the "chilly" relations are only between people at the top, since Chinese and S Koreans make up the largest and ever growing portion of tourists to Japan. As for the US, they hardly remember the war, so this whole issue will get no play there no matter what Japan does. It will not even make the national news. It is what Americans call a "tempest in a teapot".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There's nothing wrog with the Murayma Statement. But the Kono Statement was based on informatuon that was wrong ad fabricated. And the issue is being advanced by a people who were active participants in the system, as victims, recruiters, deceiving agents, Comfort station managers, and as soldiers in the IJA, users of the system. Shameless is the word that comes to mind.

-23 ( +4 / -27 )

There are too many "patriotic groups" in both China, S Korea, and Japan (yes, Japan too) that depend on anti-Japanese sentiment to make money (donations).

@gokai

Good point — and very ironic that the patriotic 'uyoku' groups in Japan depend heavily on anti-Japanese sentiment to feather their nests and fuel their cause.

Unfortunately however, it is not just the "patriotic groups" in the three countries that depend on anti-Japanese sentiment. It would also seem that the leaders of these three countries depend on it for a great deal of their popular support.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why do China and S Korea constantly need their victim-hood reaffirmed. Is it somehow comforting? But more exactly, I should say why do Chinese and S Korean leaders constantly need their victim-hood reaffirmed, because their people don't care.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

The basic issue is whether a nation can be honest with itself. It is not as simple as a tantrum over the choice of a few words.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In an interview with NHK, former Prime Minister Murayama, who issued a formal apology when he was prime minister, said, "What needed to be said needed to be said; what needed an apology needed an apology." He is correct.

Here's basically what Abe should say: Our grandparents were major jerks, we are ashamed of what they did. And we will strive to build a peaceful world.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

One should not 'craft' an apology. One should make it.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Much as Israel's PM Netanyahu now has trouble backtracking on his two-state comment, it is highly dubious whether Abe can fool anyone with his sudden and convenient backtracking on WWII. Even should he express greater contrition than expected, watch him qualify his statement or claim some kind of translation error once safely back in Japan. Birds of a feather...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As i may have posted elsewhere - the fact that he has to "craft" a statement with the aid and advice of a panel of 16 experts over a few months - indicates to me that any ensuing words will not be genuine and just more apparat-ese.

Why can't Abe just straight out say what he thinks & feels of his own volition?

Because if he did it would be way, way off the mark.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The Japanese won't admit that their culture comes from Korea. The relationship has not been a happy one between Japan and Korea. Yet they are tied to each other. Perhaps that closeness adds to the irritation. But they should be helping each other, not looking down on each other.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I agree. Now they just need to make an official apology.

No question that one of the great problems with Japanese apologies is that they have been bumbling, awkward affairs that have led people to question their sincerity.

But whether you like it or not, the Murayama statement of 1995, as the Prime Minister of the country with the full backing of his Cabinet is an apology for what Japan did in WW2. You may want more contrition, a more explicit acknowledgement of foul deeds rendered, whatever. Good luck holding out for that.

John Dower, in his Pulitzer Prize winning book 'Embracing Defeat' actually covers the genesis of the Japanese people's reticence to accept responsibility for what happened in WW2 in great detail and points to the fact that once the Americans decided to waive the Emperor of any responsibility for what happened, the populace - now starving, often homeless and destitute after the war finished felt that if he was not responsible, then why would they be? Especially in light of the trials that took place all across Asia at the time.

Be that as it may, there remain no excuses for trying to bury or re-write the past. This, for me, is the most pertinent and critical issue Japan faces in contemporary politics and diplomacy.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

But Abe is a complete fool if he thinks Japan benefits

Well, he is. So are the people who support Abe.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Be that as it may, there remain no excuses for trying to bury or re-write the past. This, for me, is the most pertinent and critical issue Japan faces in contemporary politics and diplomacy.

Tamarama -- again, very well stated. Japanese politicians and diplomats have not yet adjusted to the changing landscape of the 21st century in Asia. Up until the last decade or so, Japan's economic might -- as the #1 economy in Asia, and #2 in the world -- made countries in Asia look up to them, and be willing to overlook Japan's poor track record in this area. But, with the ascension of China, as well as rapid growth in SK and many of the developing countries, and Japan's over 20-year economic stagnation, Japan cannot simply ignore this issue, and hope that countries would give them a pass, because they wanted access to Japan's market so badly. Japan has to be seen as a true moral leader to counter China's economic power, and growing military might. And Abe is failing his country badly by going down this path of "crafting", simply to appease his own family's guilt, and appeal to the right-wing element of the LDP.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@BertieWoosterAPR. 05, 2015 - 08:39AM JST

Who cares what the US thinks?

Because the US is too babyish to accept that people may have different interpretations of history. Even aligning the same basic facts and events can give you different interpretations, but China and Korea (backed by the United States) on this issue are remarkably intolerant. And the Americans can get remarkably emotional on this issue.

Personally, I think it is time for the US to try, at least once, to say or hint as little as possible when the time to make one of these statements come out. Make it as "apolitical" as possible. And don't go bonkers just because whatever comes out is not quite as apologetic as you wanted.

@warispeaceAPR. 05, 2015 - 07:46AM JST

This reveals that for people like Abe, Japan lost to the US, not to China, Korea or other asian nations, so sincere contrition need only be directed towards America.

To a great extent that is true, whether you like it or not. Korea wasn't even a country in WWII, and it is hard to draw a scenario where China could win without the US. At best if the US hadn't intervened, they can make Japan stop advancing.

@StrangerlandAPR. 05, 2015 - 07:48AM JST

I agree. Now they just need to make an official apology.

I think the whole "official apology" thing is a case of moving the goalposts. Foreign policy, of which this is part, is generally the responsibility of the Executive, not the Legislature - so people of the Executive making the statements is entirely appropriate. This is even more the case since the Japanese government is a parliamentary and not presidential system - the freedom of the Prime Minister and Government to make a move truly not the will of his party, which happens to be dominant in the legislature, is not high.

@browny1APR. 05, 2015 - 10:59AM JST

Why can't Abe just straight out say what he thinks & feels of his own volition?

Because of C, K and US. I'd be interested in knowing what he'd say, unbound by pressure from the US, China and Korea once and for all, but I'd never have that opportunity.

@JohnY921APR. 05, 2015 - 10:37AM JST

What if the Nanking Massacre happed in New York, more Americans would have had better understanding of Japanese history. What if Unit 731 did their biological and chemical warfare research on those in Washington ....

If things got to the point where a Nanking Massacre could happen in New York, I think the Americans would seek peace before the Japanese could sack their city.

-15 ( +0 / -14 )

Japan should get to work on the 14 apologies I always say it owes for WW2. No more money. No stupid hate speech laws. Just the apologies to set things right with the civilized world.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ultimately Japan's solution will be to try to craft language, particularly words which will be seen abroad with a slightly different meaning. This use by Abe (or at least by his MFA translator) of 'victimised by human trafficking' seems to be a new formulation, but has gained very little attention, if any, in the Japanese media.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abe. Go for it. Dont even touch the issue.

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

As usual Tina Watanabe is wrong. How surprizing.

The issue is Japan's war history and Japan's failure to to teach the truth of it in its schools and to properly make amends to its neighbors Japan brutalized. Japan is simply making a fool out of itself on the world stage and Abe thinks he can handle the foolishness by adding more nonsense Nihonjiron to it.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Kazuaki: "Because the US is too babyish to accept that people may have different interpretations of history."

Wow, the statement isn't even finished being made up and 'crafted' yet and already you guys are on the defensive, knowing full well it's going to be morally bankrupt. You don't CRAFT an apology if it is sincere, Kazuaki, nor do you 'decide' on history when history is fact. You can't water it down and try using the "well, it can be interpreted differently' crap with people here, friend, because no one is buying it.

In any case, Japan has always suffered severe insecurity issues when it comes to Western nations and particularly the US, while feeling an unjustified superiority to its neighbours. So, it's not big surprise that Abe desperately wants approval from its big brother while potentially stomping on its Asian neighbours, once again, and not caring one iota.

As I said, since it's pretty clear he's not going to take the chance to make a worthwhile statement and be a true leader, I hope he gets booed out of Congress after being asked extremely hard questions regarding his lies and attempts to 'craft' history. Show the man for the liar he is.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

The main problem with the "Murayama Apology" has been missed by everyone here so far. Murayama was a member of the Japanese SOCIALIST Party, not the ruling Liberal Democrat Party which Abe belongs to, and which has dominated Japanese politics in Japan since the end of the war. Therefore, many (Abe included) can write off the apology as coming from a minor (left wing) party which in a fluke of history spoke for Japan for a mere matter of months during the 90s, and as such doesn't represent "their" views. They do this a lot in Japanese media, but not in English, since most people here automatically assume that Japanese prime ministers' sentiments all carry the same weight. Clearly, they do not.

Kono was never a prime minister, but rather the head of a cabinet. And every apology so far has later been qualified, rejected, or amended to change the quality and content of that previous statement. This is what makes people so angry with Japan and the Japanese. You can't pretend that they're ashamed of what they did when they go and bow in homage to the millions of soldiers's souls at Yasukuni directly responsible for those very actions! When Abe's own grandfather sat in the Diet all throughout the war in question, and when Abe's wife's grandfather sat in the actual war cabinet, it's impossible not to conclude that there's not a direct familial motivation for Abe's inclination to revisionism, as there still is within millions of Japanese families where beloved parents and grandparents took an active part in the destructive imperialistic-minded military rampage from 1895-1945.

One thing is true, however. Abe could get down on his hands and knees and beg forgiveness for what happened in the war, and China and South Korea in response would suck their teeth and say, "Not enough. Not satisfied. Now you REALLY need to apologize like you mean it." So Abe is doing the right thing in focusing on the relationship which really matters most now: that with the US (who also expect some form of contrition from the Japanese about a war which the Japanese, without question, most definitely started.)

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Salvor H,

I was just about to go into this aspect of the Murayama Apology, it was an odd time, the SDPJ was a SMALL part of a coalition govt which the LDP was the majority, HOWEVER because it was the 50th anniversary of WWII the LDP chickened out & had the SDPJ, Murayama-san lead, THIS WAS ALL BY DESIGN! Designed so the LDP could wash its hands of the 50th anniversary speech!!

Murayama-san tried HARD to have this as an official apology however for those who weren't here then or don't know the LDP & the War bereaved society FAUGHT LIKE DOGS to ensure it would NEVER IN HELL become anywhere near an official govt statement, read this from the Japan News( they must have published this by mistake the daft right wingers that they are!!)

Murayama attempted to settle the so-called historical perception issue once and for all, a move that he hoped would be made possible by ensuring the Diet, the highest organ of state power, passed a resolution aimed at offering an apology for Japan’s prewar invasion of China and its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. His line of thinking was typical of the SDPJ’s pursuit of antiwar and pacifist goals. However, some conservative LDP members strongly opposed Murayama’s move. Their sentiment was echoed by the Japan War Bereaved Families Association, a national organization comprising families of the war dead. The association, a major LDP support group, flexed its muscles with the LDP, saying “the honor of the war dead must not be hurt.”

I admire Murayama-san for what he did, he did right, but an awful lot of Japanese did NOT want to see his point of view see the light of day, THAT needs to be remembered as its very important as to how the 70th anniversary is being played out!!!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Japan does not need to apologize. The Japan of today cannot apologize in any meaningful way since the Japan of today didn't do it. Mainly Japan only needs to admit their ugly history of WWII.

But also, Japan could force guilty individuals to apologize or be shipped to certain countries to atone for their crimes; their choice. And since Japan in general was unjustly enriched by the war and colonizations, Japan and Japanese companies must also compensate victims, particularly with regards to unpaid wages, including wages that should have been paid to slaves.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

FrancescoB: since Japan in general was unjustly enriched by the war

How would the war loser enriched by the war? It was destroyed completely. It is the war winner who are enriched by the war.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

Said that Germany,, Austria, Japan, etc had to start from scratch using new technology whereas England, etc had to continue with current/existing technology.

USA and Russia benefited from captured German and Japanese Scientists( many who conducted Illegal research in thoser countries).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ Tina I think FrancescoB is referring to the Marshall Plan, when in the U.S loaned Japan $2.44 billion at the end of the war.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Murayama, representing the Japanese people as their prime minister, apologized. Is this supposed to be an anual event in perpetuity? Is that a Chinese custom?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

FrancescoB,

Not so much apologize, although it would be nice to get it RIGHT, get it ratified in the Diet!

I think Japan has to first start to admit simply what happened, after 70yrs Japan still hasn't figured or admitted basic common knowledge wrt to WWII & prior.

Not holding my breath on this sadly, Japan seems pretty determined to continue on down the road its on unfortunately!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Has China asked the Imperialist countries like Britian, Germany, Holland, etc etc etc for an apology? They invaded China much earlier and even got Chinese adicted to opium, which made Britian very rich. They even declared a monopoly on opium, which they got from their colony India. So did China request an apology? Have any of the Imperialist countries everh voluntered an apology? No? I thought so. That is because the Chinese believe White history. Why the double standard for Japan? We were just doing what we learned from the Imperialist countries, and we were good students. Too good. The US entered only when it looked like Britian, its friend, would lose its empire. They were in the way of our empire.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

How would the war loser enriched by the war? It was destroyed completely. It is the war winner who are enriched by the war.

This expresses a profound ignorance of all that went on during the war period, which for Japan was much more than just what America calls WWII. Japan had been taking colonies for decades by the end of WWII and there still remains looted national treasures in this country. Slave labor was used to build and manufacture, not to mention be forced prostitutes. Raw materials were taken from those countries.

All that is enrichment. The fact that Japan took all that and wound up in the poor house later is irrelevant. Japan owes a debt to all countries it wronged in some way. Even though some governments have forgiven Japanese debts, debts are still owed to individuals in those countries because the government has no right or authority to erase such debts.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

so little to gain and so much to lose by this speech. if the man puts his foot in his mouth it will be not be hidden in the JP press and aimai nihongo like his other statements.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is a very uncomfortable truth, but the world is a much better place because Imperialist Japan and Nazi Germany lost the war. Today both countries are world economic and cutural leaders, but not because they imposed their control militarily, and that is a good thing.

The USA lost the Vietnam War, but today is at peace with that country. Although friends of mine died in Vietnam, today I wear clothes made there. The US never has, and probably never will, apologize for the millions of civilians who died as a result of America's decision to intervene in that war.

In some ways, wars are a human phenomenon, and while specific wars can be said to be the fault of one country or another, most countries, historically, have started wars that in hindsight they should not have. Just as we as individuals are all capable of both good and bad behavior, all nations are similarly capable of both good and bad behavior. Japan, today, is a good country, and a good neighbor to the world, and that is important.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Abe Shinzo and his kind believe that the only thing that Japan did wrong was to lose the war. They claim that Japanese were only trying to lead an anti-western imperialist Asia, but rather than ally with Asian leaders, they annexed, invaded, killed, raped, and looted, creating puppet governments in Manchuria, the Philippines, China, and the Dutch East Indies.

But Japan did lose the war. So the Japanese rightists chose the least bad victor, the United States, and ignore all the others. The Americans were happy to oblige because they feared the Soviet Union and the Chinese communists and needed their erstwhile enemy to buttress them.

Now Abe Shinzo will go to America and acknowledge the Americans and the Americans mainly as victors. He will hide the fact that he despises aspects of the MacArthur Constitution, ironically for the very clause that has been the basis for the magnificent championing of peace, nuclear-disarmament, human rights, prosperity, and human dignity ever since the end of World War II.

Japan has no parallel since World War II for these accomplishments. Abe Shinzo chooses to tarnish those achievements by "restoring the honor" of those Japanese fanatics who assassinated their own prime ministers, imposed Emperor worship to justify war, executed the war with brutality and cruelty, and sacrificed their own people in hopeless causes.

Craft away at your talk, Abe Shinzo. But try being a truly great leader rather than a manipulator of terms for their opportunist value rather than their sincerity and clarity.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

1gleen. I totally agree with you. We can't always point fingers about wars in the past. Anyone can name any country and it will have a dark past. People that alwags bash Japan will always find a reason for doing it. Its in their agenda. But we have to move on. I've made Chinese friends and since that I cannot allow myself to talk bad about chinese. They're all different people with ifferent dreams. Its our governments that always have weird agendas. Not only Abe is bad. Xi and Park are horrible presidents. Even obama and merkel. They always have strange agendas and never lookout for their people that choosed them

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Why do there have to be various versions of an apology?

You do something regrettable. You apologise for that act, do what you can to make up the damage and set things in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.

It's really not complicated.

Some kids are kicking a soccer ball around and a window gets broken.

They say sorry for breaking the window, clean up the broken glass, pool their resources and pay for a new window. Then they promise not to play soccer near the house again.

A week or so later and everyone's forgotten about it.

Well, the above had pretty well been done until Mr Bumbly Abe comes along. He starts bleating that a freak wind caused it and anyway the window wasn't really broken in the first place, the glass was old and cracked and there was no putty down one side of the window pane and nothing wrong was done in the first place.

Abe, no "crafting" is necessary.

Japan's prewar and WWII history is terrible. Denying it won't change it.

It happened, just admit it, stick to the original constitution and stop listening to the voices in your head.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

When addressing the comfort women issue, South Korea needs to look inward to its continuing policy of comfort women in the towns surrounding modern bases for both South Korean and American military forces. Women who are descendants of prostitutes, stigmatized by regualr society, are still relegated to brothels and "tea houses" in these base satellite communities, and are required to maintain health standards enforced by the South Korean government and the US military.

Abe should acknowledge the past and make laws to ensure that history is never repeated. China's hypocrisy in regards to colonialism should also be addressed. China's history of aggression to neighbours goes back thousands of years. It is time for all nations to look to the future instead of dragging up muck from the past, just to score political points.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

In short, they're trying to come up with a wording that equivocates enough to absolve Japan from any blame in order to please the right wing while not alienating the US enough to invite condemnation or any interruption in the money flow. Emphasis on the money flow.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Everyone seems to be forgetting that after the war, about 1,000 of the Japanese military were tried for war crimes, and were executed, or died in jail. With them went the responsibility.

The U.S. needs to acknowledge the deliberate targeting of the civilian Japanese population as a war crime too, if any sense of balance and resolution is to be achieved.

However, apologies can only come from those responsible. They are all dead. The current demands for an "apology" are nothing more than political grandstanding.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

So is the constant "revisiting" of past apologies and statements by the government here. And the "We need to get back to that old 1930s spirit, that's what's lacking here in modern Japan!" quotes they keep popping up with every so often.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

liars, Brilliant post!

Kotoba, you need to go back to the drawing board!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Abe’s conservative political allies want him to end what they see as an endless cycle of apologies that they believe distracts from Japan’s record since 1945 as a peaceful nation.

If these "allies" had any sense they would realise that this "endless cycle" is a result of every apology made by the Japanese government being nullified and diluted by the statements of individuals like Hashimoto, Abe, Aso, Ishihara. As these individuals have undermined their own government's position - and moreover supported continuing visits to Yasukuni shrine - then yes further apologies have become necessary. Unlike Germany, where politicians are not allowed to undermine their government's position on WW2 - and where the ghosts of WW2 have long since been laid to rest

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

GW, What you should do is start by studying history, and perhaps you will see that it is not all black or white. In another post I wrote that the Japanese government of the 30's and 40's should have apologised to the Japanese people. Of course, they weren't able to do that after being executed.

I take a very sympathetic view of the Japanese people and their culture, and have only admiration for the way they rebuilt the country after the war, in a way that no other country could have done. The period of the war was a tragedy for so many, yet they have not been whingeing and going on about not receiving an apology. The official U.S. side of history though has been about making military excuses for deliberately targeting civilians. It's more insidious than that, being, with regard to the A-bombs, about sending a message to Stalin, seeing the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as expendable.

One can condemn the Japanese government of the 30's and 40's, without a doubt, but you should see everything in context. History is not a collection of distinct points in time, but a continuum. How far back does one go? Why stop at 70 years? When Japan opened up, and caught up with the rest of the world, what they saw were the products of very aggressive western colonization. No-one at that stage could have seen what the future would bring post-war, in the shape of co-operative trade. Thinking and actions were still very 19th century. Hell, the U.S. had just finished slaughtering Native Americans (Wounded Knee 1890}, the British were busy stealing parts of South Africa for themselves (the Boer War), and then most of Europe was marching into battle again in 1914. The Japanese were very conscious of possible threats from Russia, and so on. That was the world in the early part of the 20th century.

Perhaps some honest acknowledgement by the U.S. after the war, instead of occupation and censorship, would have helped, but that is a bit late now. The Japanese people were the victims first of their own government, then of the U.S. Air Force. They have never received any apologies.

Perhaps that explains the reticence of some individuals there who feel that the one-sided narrative does nothing to assuage the very real tragedy that the Japanese people suffered.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The Murayama statement was and must be regarded as a suitable apology and since Abe upholds it, there shouldn't be any problem if C and SK do not try to embark in another round of blackmailing. There isn't any reason to produce another apology provided, of course, the governement of Japan does not try to deny or to soften the crimes of the imperial army in these times. But there obviously is a strong need for much pedagogical improvement in the way history is told to new generations in this country. As has been remarked by Tamarama a big part of the problem comes from Mac Arthur waving HiroHito of any responsability after the war The emperor was identified with Japan and therefore, if he was innocent, so was the country and it's people. The truth is that he was the main culprit, together with a few members of the imperial family. But the japanese people at large was, no doubts, the main victim even if there were many others in many Asian countries. Today, the emperor has no more than an honorific role, but it is still important in the minds of a lot of people. And although Akihito is obviously an intelligent man, open minded and quite opposed to the idiots who would like to see him back on the semi-god throne, he is the son of the guy responsible for what happened in the first half of the past cent ury. Quite a difficult problem...who has an idea ?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@smithinjapanAPR. 05, 2015 - 01:25PM JST

You don't CRAFT an apology if it is sincere, Kazuaki, nor do you 'decide' on history when history is fact.

And that I believe is the primary problem.

First, Smith. Assume you did something wrong to me. You are willing to apologize, but here's the rub. The last time you apologized, you weren't too penny-pinching with your wording because you figured it was more important to be sincere. At the very least you want to try to look sincere. Whatever your heart was thinking, what I did was go through your apology not as a peace gesture, but as a prosecutor analyzing a confession. And while real prosecutors try to obey the unspoken rules that you go easier on those who confess, I don't even do that and maximally interpret your wording and try to call it a confession to things you simply think you hadn't done (in fact, maybe I hadn't even quite accused you of that at the time). When you try to clarify your statement (and it indeed does allow the possibility of your "new" interpretation), I refuse to accept the possibility you simply had not meant to concede so much last time and call it "backtracking".

With my track record, are you going to be as generous with your wording this round? Remember, real money is at stake.

Second, History is Interpretation. I'll give you an example. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea. It is a fact that they did build schools where there were none. It is also true that the schools' first language is Japanese. Already with these two facts, you can already generate at least two narratives. You can say the Japanese are actively trying to crush Korean culture. Or you can say they are trying to educate Koreans.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

'We did a lot of terrible things in the past for selfish reasons. Many thousands of innocent people died because of what we did, but we are not that same people now. Please accept our heartfelt apology for the harm we caused to so many...'

That's all well and good..........but useless unless it's backed up by laws preventing people from denying it (Abe and Hashimoto etc) that is why Japan's apologies seem never ending.

It is a fact that they did build schools where there were none.

This is true. It's also a fact they conscripted women into sexual slavery, and men as labourers or soldiers

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This is true. It's also a fact they conscripted women into sexual slavery, and men as labourers or soldiers

Nope. No such conscription order exist.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nope. No such conscription order exist

After the IJA burned much of the evidence.....perhaps not. The overwhelming testimony from the surviving sex slaves with have to suffice

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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