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Abe's advisers split over how to describe Japan's WWII actions

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Why not tell the truth?

34 ( +39 / -5 )

They have to be split about this and debate over it?

Forget it. The bus has already left the terminal. There's nothing more anyone can expect anything different.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

But a panel member, whose name was not recorded in the document, said it was wrong to retrospectively apply values and definitions, citing a 1974 United Nations ruling on the meaning of the word “aggression” in the international context.

And why in heaven's name was a member's name not recorded in the official minutes of the meeting? They make the point of giving the name of the Chairman's opinion. Playing games to me it seems!.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Abe is a standard bearer for Japanese conservatives who want a more sympathetic view of the war, and who emphasise civilian losses in the firebombing of Tokyo and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as evidence of the injustices Japan suffered

I keep on forgetting.

Who started it, again?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

"It was a tie."

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Abe is a very unique prime minister of Japan. He is popular for his firm nationalistic stance when China and South Korea are constantly annoying and degrading Japan bringing up historical issues. They ignore efforts and contribution of Japan after the war. We feel their attitudes as much as rude.

-25 ( +6 / -31 )

So the "expert panel" can't even agree on defining Japan's role in the war. This does not bode well for their ability to reach a consensus on war crime issues and there's a possibility this whole process will collapse in angry disagreement.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

“I sometimes wonder whether it is right to determine ‘that war was aggression,’

I don't know... what else would you call war? I know that there is the line of thought that Japan was just trying to help its little brothers, but that doesn't play well in any of the countries that were "helped."

16 ( +16 / -0 )

The latest tussle in the ideological battle between Japan’s nationalist right-wing and its liberal mainstream saw the committee of academics, journalists and business leaders split on the use of the word “aggression”, according to minutes released this week.

“I sometimes wonder whether it is right to determine ‘that war was aggression,’ relying on a definition promulgated later,” the member said.

Another contributor said the war in the Asian theater was qualitatively different from that in Europe, insofar as there was no systematic attempt to exterminate a people.

“It should be clearly stated that Japan never prosecuted a Holocaust-type of war… Japan’s war was an imperialist war,” the panelist said, adding there was no internationally accepted legal definition of “aggression”.

This kind of semantics/hair-splitting is very disingenous, but entirely predictable once Abe appointed this "expert panel". I mean, if you follow the logic of the last two quotes I highlighted, Japan was not an aggressor simply because it spread its atrocities around among many races/nationalities, and not specifically to wipe out a particular one. Sorry, but IMO, that kind of thinking is simply dangerous and has no place in the thinking going into a statement that will have such important international implications. Abe should just show some moral backbone, and put his big-boy pants on, and stick to the Murayama statement and not try to hide being this panel to weasle out. Again, IMO, any Japanese person, or person who loves Japan, should be embarrassed by this melodrama and hope that Abe does the right thing. Not to try to please SK or China, but simply to know it is a country of courage and humanity, not one of back-tracking.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

This stuffing about on the semantics of a single word is really embarrassing to see.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Why not tell the truth?

Because people disagree on:

a) what the truth is; or b) what truths are more important than others - it IS true that the war helped pushed colonialism out of Asia, it IS true that Japanese people were victims of war crimes, even if those points don't somehow make Japan's crimes any less important.

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

It was a rush for colonies to procure resources and enlarge its empire.

Some colonial powers were quite brutal while others weren't.

But however you look at it all the colonial powers were "aggressors". This shouldn't even be a sticking point.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

jerseyboy Mar. 26, 2015 - 07:52AM JST Abe should just show some moral backbone, and put his big-boy pants on, and stick to the Murayama statement and not try to hide being this panel to weasle out. Again, IMO, any Japanese person, or person who loves Japan, should be embarrassed by this melodrama and hope that Abe does the right thing.

Which brings up a good point. It's one thing for Abe to repent on behalf of the Japanese people for their sins during WWII, but are the Japanese people truly sorry? Even if Abe makes a courageous statement, even when his own people disagrees, the apology could greatly damage political career. But isn't that a hallmark of a great leadership, leading your people the right way regardless of the political consequences? Personally, only few, such as Merkel made repentant statement from powerful world leaders. Abe should work feverishly to avoid such an unparalleled calamity with neighboring countries. Japan's point of view is that Allies were just as guilty as Japan was, is popular among Japanese. Japan rewrite history in order to glorify, or at least excuse, Japanese atrocities is obscene and dangerous reasoning.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

It is easy to tell the truth, which everyone knows anyway. This so-called split has already disgraced the Abe regime.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Abe may use aggression. A lot tamer than atrocity.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I have appointed myself an expert to the debate. I have dutifully researched the definition of the word "aggression" through a page called "Wikipedia" I believe I may have solved this issue. Yer welcome Senor tummychuckles.

Aggression is overt, often harmful, social interaction with the intention of inflicting damage or other unpleasantness upon another individual. It is a virtually universal behavior among animals. It may occur either in retaliation or without provocation. In humans, frustration due to blocked goals can cause aggression. Submissiveness may be viewed as the opposite of aggressiveness.

In definitions commonly employed in the social sciences and behavioral sciences, aggression is a response by an individual that delivers something unpleasant to another person. Some definitions include that the individual must intend to harm another person. Predatory or defensive behavior between members of different species may not be considered aggression in the same sense.

Aggression can take a variety of forms which may be expressed physically or communicated verbally or non-verbally: including anti-predator aggression, defensive aggression (fear-induced), predatory aggression, dominance aggression, inter-male aggression, resident-intruder aggression, maternal aggression, species-specific aggression, sex-related aggression, territorial aggression, isolation-induced aggression, irritable aggression, and brain-stimulation-induced aggression (hypothalamus). There are two subtypes of human aggression: (1) controlled-instrumental subtype (purposeful or goal-oriented); and (2) reactive-impulsive subtype (often elicits uncontrollable actions that are inappropriate or undesirable). Aggression differs from what is commonly called assertiveness, although the terms are often used interchangeably among laypeople (as in phrases such as "an aggressive salesperson").

4 ( +5 / -1 )

In terms of semantics, the nationalists are attempting to have the GOJ portray the war as a war of liberation (解放戦争, kaiho senso), not a war of aggression (侵略戦争, shinryaku senso).

Both sides are willing to express remorse for the war, but their rationale for that remorse is completely at odds.

In referring to Japan's role as one of "colonial rule and aggression," former PM Murayama expressed remorse for the war in terms of the suffering Imperial Japan caused others, and as such his hope that Japan would never again engage in war.

On the flip side, PM Abe with the backing of the Japanese nationalists expresses remorse for the war in terms of "the injustices Japan suffered," and as such his hope that Japan would never again engage in war.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

If they don't want to use the word aggression then just say war of conquest and for resources.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What about the atrocities committed BEFORE WWII?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

right-wingers insist Tokyo’s war was largely defensive and intended to liberate Asia from Western colonialists." NOT EVEN CLOSE!! This was not even contemplate when they first geared to go to war.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It's been over half a century, and they're still arguing about something so basic as whether Japan was the "aggressor"? And people accuse China and Korea of not being able to move on? You know you're in trouble when you have to resort to "we were better than the Nazis."

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Bertie: Atrocities is a right word. By one using aggression, both of them are hiding fact of atrocities.
2 ( +4 / -2 )

Abe's advisers split over how to describe Japan's WWII actions

Then don't describe them. Chinese/Koreans/Americans don't know history is not that black and white.

-24 ( +1 / -25 )

... right-wingers insist Tokyo’s war was largely defensive and intended to liberate Asia from Western colonialists.

Didn't the militaristic Japanese government of the 20th century have to take the chicken feathers out of their mouths to claim that?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Asahigraph1937-9.jpg

(photo caption): English: The Cover of the September 1st 1937 ASAHIGRAPH magazine. The cover depicts the Japanese Imperial Army marching into Beijing (Chaoyangmen Gate). 日本語: アサヒグラフ昭和21年9月1日表紙。皇軍の北京入城(朝陽門前)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juye_Incident

The Juye Incident refers to the killing of two German Catholic missionaries, Richard Henle and Franz-Xavier Nies ... in Juye County Shandong Province, China ... November 1897 ... It is not certain who committed the killings, but it is most commonly assumed that the attack was launched by members of the Big Swords Society. ... Less than two weeks after the Juye Incident, the German Empire used the murders of the missionaries as a pretext to seize Jiaozhou Bay on Shandong's southern coast. ... Imitating Germany, other powers (Russia, Britain, France, and Japan) began "a scramble for concessions" to secure their own sphere of influence in China.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

History isn't black and white. But Japan needs to get over it, man up, sincerely apologize for wrongs committed, and stick to it!

Until they do they'll continue to have problems with their Asian neigbours. And in case they haven't noticed, their Asian neigbours are on the up and up while Japan's on a 20 year slide.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

The unnamed right wing nut jobs(name the SOBs!) just like the sex slave issue which rational people KNOW happened, they dwell on a stupid single word, "aggression" what friggin morons!

They attempt to divert the entire discussion, thankfully only right wing dim wits but this crappola!

This is simple Japan, there were sex slaves, WWII happened & Japan killed & slaughtered 10s of millions, laid waste to vast areas, left many injured, abused wherever they went, THESE FACTS HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED!!

After 70yrs Japan still hasn't even remotely dealt with the 1920-1945 period, people here know precious little about this stuff, its a total waste.

I often say its another embarrassing day to be living in Japan, yes its one of those again although its getting worse & we may no longer be able to be simply embarrassed, it way well turn into a SHAME to be here.

Japan, why & why are you so intent to run off the damned cliff!!

To the few on this committee that clearly have a grasp on the issues, I thank you, the other con go rot under a log!

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Before they man up and apologize, they need to teach their history correctly. Thus taught correctly, it can be learned correctly & never be repeated.

7 ( +9 / -1 )

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

Or do they need a Truth Commission as implemented by South Africa following their inhuman Apartheid policies. It is 2015 already.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

“As a result of Japan’s war in the 1930s through to 1945, many Asian countries became independent…

In a way, this is a true statement. The Asian countries that became independent are the result of Japan (and Germany) losing the war, and many of those European countries that had colonies in Asia could no longer afford to go back to business as before the war and as a result, they gave up on the colonial system and the countries gained independence. If they can show me one country that while under Japanese occupation gained their independence totally and were able to ask the Japanese occupiers to leave without a fight. I don't think you will find any.

These guys just need to get over the fact that Japan was the agressor, since the war in Asia for all purposes started in the 30's with Japan and the incidents in China and get over it. I guess that they can't really do that since the main issue is that many of the leaders of the political classes in Japan are decendents of the people who were in charge at the time and that would make them look bad as well as. That's what you get when you keep the same political powers and families in place.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Abe should say Sorry Japan did atrocities until 1945 but I will ensure yiu I am not going to repeat that. And talk something else.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"His language is being closely watched by China and South Korea for any signs of backsliding by Japan." Ok now I get it, cause The Albert Pike Plan-New World Order isn't worried about any of "those signs"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Abe should say Sorry

Japan has said sorry more than a hundred times, no need to say any more. China/SK/USA still want to use old history card to have advantage dealing with Japan.

-25 ( +2 / -27 )

The history that Japan is putting out is not like changing something that concerns their country only. This is history between nations we are discussing. Japan must not denigrate the constitution's spirit. Japan has a "forged" history. They shouldn't lie to their children about history. We have no idea what will happen in the future, but they must tell the truth about the past. The truth should be told - that's the correct way to do it. It should be obvious to anyone that Japan's invasions of China and Korea were just that. Why should they be allowed to tone it down?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@tinawatanabe

Japan has said sorry more than a hundred times, no need to say any more. China/SK/USA still want to use old history card to have advantage dealing with Japan.

And yet an "expert" Japanese panel is still debating whether Japan was the "aggressor" 70 years later. Is it really so hard for you to see how insincere that all seems from an outside perspective?

18 ( +19 / -1 )

right-wingers insist Tokyo’s war was largely defensive and intended to liberate Asia from Western colonialists.

When I read the obove statement there were only two words that sprang into my mind, 'paranoid' and 'delusional'. When you put these together it describes the mindset of Japan's right-wingers quite well!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Japan has said sorry more than a hundred times, no need to say any more. China/SK/USA still want to use old history card to have advantage dealing with Japan.

For every apology, you have someone like you who claims Japan did nothing wrong, and is the victim in all of this. These denials cancel out the apologies.

As Mr. Bum said, the very fact that a government appointed panel is discussing whether Japan was the aggressor shows that these apologies are not held to be the stance of the government here.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Japan has a "forged" history. They shouldn't lie to their children about history

There is no evidence of that. You cannnot learn anything and make the same mistakes if you do that, and it would be against national interest. Japan is only interested in the truth. If you don't deal with truth, there would surface inconsistencies.

-29 ( +1 / -30 )

TinaW,

Please re-read the article for starters, there are LOTS of mistakes & inconsistencies to put it mildly, after that there are 1000s & 1000s more over the years & are flowing non-stop as I type, Japan digs its own grave with this utter non-sense!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Japan has said sorry more than a hundred times, no need to say any more.

You shouldn't supposedly apologize for something when you're not sorry at all. If you were really sorry, would there even be a debate about this such elementary issue in your Parliament?

14 ( +16 / -2 )

For every apology, you have someone like you who claims Japan did nothing wrong, and is the victim in all of this. These denials cancel out the apologies.

Personal statements by individual Japanese cannot cancel out the official public stance of the Japanese government.

As Mr. Bum said, the very fact that a government appointed panel is discussing whether Japan was the aggressor shows that these apologies are not held to be the stance of the government here.

Come back to us if the panel issues a new statement that contradicts or modifies existing policy.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Well sometimes splitting hairs can be fun but this issue is already clear enough. Unless the asian countries and the state of Hawaii actually invited imperialist Japan to shoot and bomb their populations it was aggression. The emotions from the war cabinet may have been fear of a prolonged oil embargo and western colonisation but it is still aggression, pure and simple. How hard can it be?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Personal statements by individual Japanese cannot cancel out the official public stance of the Japanese government.

It most certainly DOES when you people like the current PM who deny history, when you have people who run nhk deny history & the govt is FULL of deniers!

Its patently obvious Japan is utterly insincere wrt to 1920-1945 period,

And abe is one of the WORST possible people to have "leading" JApan in this year the 70th anniversary of Japans savage & brutal aggression & here we have some stupid committee trying to clarify thing, how utterly EMBARASSING!!! Except that many here are informed enough to realize it, how sad is that, hint, its VERY SAD!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Abe-chan - tell the truth, the WHOLE truth and NOTHING BUT the truth - stop trying to change history...

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Japan was just defending itself against a force that had placed an unnecessary embargo on it. All embargo's instigate major wars. They were also appalled at the treatment of U.S ethnic Japanese nationals whom were placed in internment camps.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Personal statements by individual Japanese cannot cancel out the official public stance of the Japanese government.

That's the problem - there is no official stance of the goverment. If there was, there wouldn't be any debate right now, as there would be nothing to debate. The problem is that the apologies that have been issued have only ever been apologies by individuals within the government, not by the government as a whole. So individual denials do cancel out individual apologies.

If you disagree, then please point us to this documentation that shows the governments official stance on the matter.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Seymour Hersh wrote a great article about atrocities done by American army during Vietnam War, called The Scene of the Crime at the New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/30/the-scene-of-the-crime). While I admire the honesty of him and some American soldiers and officers, I cannot but think what it would do to the innocent killed in the war. Also, sadly, such efforts by these courageous individuals won't change the fundamental systems which have been preventing the majority from knowing these deeds done by their own governments, whatsoever your nationalities are.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's good to see there is debate within the panel.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Abe's advisers split over how to describe Japan's WWII actions

What are they split about? Simply own up to what they did: They committed a war of aggression throughout much of Asia, they sexually enslaved women, they conducted biological warfare experiments on live human subjects. It can be done

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Abe should just give a simple statement accepting full responsibility for the Pacific War. After all the military took over the Japanese civilian government in the 20,s and the civilians were at fault for allowing themselves to be assassinated. The survivors gave in to the criminal Japanese Imperial military. Just might be something to the fact the Showa Tenno was behind it all. Then again he might of been just weak.

So once Japan accepts all responsibility and gives a true honest heartfelt apology what next? Will China and Korea demand trillions of dollars in compensation and territory? Even if this happens will it really solve anything? I can see why Honest Abe's advisers are split.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Abe LDP government, by officially delegating a committee of academics, journalists and business leaders then installing a leading caucus of radical right-wing revisionism that emphatically rejects criticism of Japan’s war crimes, that views and denigrates atrocities to “unjust” perceptions of Japan’s wartime history was always by definition to become a recipe to further inflame regional tensions. Abe has fundamentally miscalculated the repercussions that will inevitably be regarded as a wholesale revision of Japan’s wartime history and overturn 70 years of pacifist defense policies.

In essence the unprecedented and history opportunity Abe has to address joint session of US Congress, could be totally undermined and reduced to an meaninglessness embarrassing diplomatic spectacle if right-wing extreme members of this committee indulge in insidious behavior to damage the integrity of pacifism and atonement in mainstream Japanese society.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Then don't describe them. Chinese/Koreans/Americans don't know history is not that black and white.

You're quite right, tinawatanabe. History is not black and white. Especially in Japan's case where it's bloody red.

But according to Abe and others it's snow white.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

We should apologize for joining European Imperialists in their rampage around the world and all the death and destruction that caused. But we couldn't help it because when Japan chose to modernize after being forced to open up by the US, that was the model presented to us. It was modernize and become an Imperialist, or become a colony, and no Japanese wanted that. The difference between S Korea and China with Taiwan is amazing. In Taiwan, old Japanese schools and other buildings are museums. One old school museum shows pictures of Japanese educating Taiwanese children. What went right in Taiwan?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

So once Japan accepts all responsibility and gives a true honest heartfelt apology what next?

Everyone will get to move on, finally. That's what

4 ( +7 / -3 )

If Abe says sorry for atrocities, China and S Korea will have to figure out what to do against Japan and it will take sometime. If Abe says aggression, they can figure right away. Atorocities, then maybe it will take about 4 months to t hink about next attack against Japan, /by the time they decided how ti insult Japan, Japan will have many trade with SE Asian countries. And maybe China wise up to splot woth S Korea,

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

0 Good Bad gokai_wo_manekuMAR. 26, 2015 - 01:15PM JST We should apologize for joining European Imperialists in their rampage around the world and all the death and destruction that caused. But we couldn't help it because when Japan chose to modernize after being forced to open up by the US, that was the model presented to us. It was modernize and become an Imperialist, or become a colony, and no Japanese wanted that. The difference between S Korea and China with Taiwan is amazing. In Taiwan, old Japanese schools and other buildings are museums. One old school museum shows pictures of Japanese educating Taiwanese children. What went right in Taiwan?

Yeah... But you guys kinda took the baton and ran hard and fast with it. Enough with the excuses already!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@YuriOtaniMAR. 26, 2015 - 12:44PM JST

I can see why Honest Abe's advisers are split.

Finally, someone willing to say something practical.

What Japan learnt from Kono or Maruyama is that any concession (regardless of whether it was taken for atruistic or pragmatic reasons) will not be taken as sincerity (as with Germany), but exploited by China and Korea. Of course, they will take it with a nod, and then use it as a weapon at their next opportunity. This makes any concession dangerous business.

Even if you confine things to "Say the truth", the truth is remarkably complex.

@Black Sabbath MAR. 26, 2015 - 07:27AM JST

Who started it, again?

Generally, the start of the "Great Asia War" is considered to be over a certain Marco Polo Bridge in 1937. And already here, we have the problem. According to Japanese records, the Chinese shot first. On this point, the Chinese tend to give be nolo contendere as far as I can see - they either skip over the firing (they don't say "No, no shooting happened." or "It was definitely the Japanese"). Just changing that one variable could change things significantly.

@Christopher GlenMAR. 26, 2015 - 12:33PM JST

What are they split about? Simply own up to what they did: They committed a war of aggression throughout much of Asia, they sexually enslaved women, they conducted biological warfare experiments on live human subjects. It can be done

Suppose, Christopher, you beat up someone until he is hopsitalized for 6 months.

You might just be willing to admit maybe you shouldn't have beaten him to a pulp and make some degree of reparation you feel fair. However, the State is now filing criminal charges and the "victim" is suing you for millions for his pains. And he's singing his travails for all the world to see, which may be his right, but you disagree with him because ... he threw the first punch.

Maybe even to you, the fact he threw the first punch does not mitigate fully what you did. But it's a factor. And even if it doesn't get you off completely, it will make a huge difference in the outcome of any civil or criminal trial.

His family, friends and even the public (why do they want to butt their necks in anyway?) wants you to "be brave" and "own up to it" (which looks a lot like unconditionally conceding to the "victim's" version).

What will you do?

-17 ( +2 / -19 )

Abe's LDP is elected to a term of office. Effectively here today gone tomorrow, no disrespect intended. The unequivocal statement by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama must be enacted so that every lawmaker that takes office accepts the declarations sentiment.

Statement by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama "On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the war's end" (15 August 1995)

http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/press/pm/murayama/9508.html

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Why not tell the truth?

Which one? Who is telling the truth?

I keep on forgetting. Who started it, again?

It depends who you ask. And it depends on WHEN it started. I'm not so sure Japan started IT.

What you hear is not always what is truly going on, even today. The lies started a long time ago and I tend to ignore those who claim to know with certainty the absolute truth about events.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

You have to love how they "can't decide on history", and yet there are still those, like tina above, who say there is no proof Japan has altered things to fit its desired image. The only way they can be 'split' is if they are not sure how to rewrite it. Period. And that says a lot about how these wingers take history and just make it a fictional story. There is absolutely no doubt that Japan waged a war of aggression. More than 10 million murdered, most innocents, at the hands of the IJA and they claim it was a war of 'defense' and for 'freedom'?

10 ( +16 / -6 )

“As a result of Japan’s war in the 1930s through to 1945, many Asian countries became independent… but I think it is wrong to say that Japan fought the war for the emancipation of Asian countries,” he said, according to the minutes. “Japan caused many casualties in Asia in its reckless warring.”

Ha ha, yes they did become independant due to Japans defeat It had nothing to do with Japan emancipating those countries from Western colonial powers; it was only after the US defeat was the yoke of oppression lifted and these Asian countries so brutally occupied by Japan vowed to never let it happen again. The exception might be India, where many Indians naively thought that Japan was their Asian brother, and fought for them only latter to find out what they were really up to. If Japan would of brokered a treaty and won this side of the pacific, Id hardly expect any emancipating to of happened; more like brutal crushing opressive rule until the objective was met: complete subjugation under the Emperors rule. Read about those who didnt bow or say his name correctly.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The difference between S Korea and China with Taiwan is amazing. In Taiwan, old Japanese schools and other buildings are museums. One old school museum shows pictures of Japanese educating Taiwanese children. What went right in Taiwan?

Well for one thing, the Taiwanese share a common disdain for China with Japan.

Generally, the start of the "Great Asia War" is considered to be over a certain Marco Polo Bridge in 1937. And already here, we have the problem. According to Japanese records, the Chinese shot first.

The bridge in China. Do you think the Chinese just invited the Japanese Army over and then started firing on them? At least you admit this is according to Japanese records. Don't you find it odd that the only historians that are still arguing about this stuff are Japanese?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

That's the problem - there is no official stance of the goverment. If there was, there wouldn't be any debate right now, as there would be nothing to debate

StrangerL,

An excellent point that a lot of the "Japan has apologized blah blah blah" crew don't seem to understand.

As you say Japan has NOT ratified any apology in the Diet, they have all been said by INDIVIDUALS, this has always been by design. And hasn't served Japan worth a damn, Japan continues to dig its hole deeper & deeper, this year I cant see how abe can make any progress given his hazy highly WRONG view of history.

I personally hope abe gets shoved outta the way & THE EMPEROR steps in & tells it LIKE IT IS!!

That is the only way I think Japan can come out of this 70th anniversary year ahead, very unlikely to happen though!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Sure the Chinese fired the 1st shots @ Marco Polo Bridge. Can you blame them? No. Japanese marines shouldn't have been there in the first place. Just like the assassination of Ito Hirobumi (1909) on the "then" Japan-occupied Korean Peninsula- Shouldn't have been there.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

and its liberal mainstream

So what, Japan's "liberal mainstream" votes for the LDP consistently, decade after decade, why? If the article is going to make a claim like that it needs to back it up with polling data.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But a panel member, whose name was not recorded in the document, said it was wrong to retrospectively apply values and definitions, citing a 1974 United Nations ruling on the meaning of the word "aggression" in the international context.

Very interesting legal point. How far would the 1974 ruling go?

Does it go back to the days when Chinese dynasties were just killing everyone in its neighboring countries, or the days when Americans were taking the land of natives?

Or, the ruling does not have any retroactive power?

A law should be fair.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

@MrBum MAR. 26, 2015 - 02:03PM JST

The bridge in China. Do you think the Chinese just invited the Japanese Army over and then started firing on them? At least you admit this is according to Japanese records. Don't you find it odd that the only historians that are still arguing about this stuff are Japanese?

Actually, they are there by the Boxer Protocol. Even the International Tribunal quietly acknowledges this and so the best they could say was in effect "It was too big" (though obviously no hard limits have been set on the allowable troops, and even at the maximum size asserted by the Tribunal, it is too small to have a strategic effect and so cannot reasonably have been considered some kind of war prep).

I said it was from Japanese records, but the Chinese are not exactly disputing it either, just keeping quiet. What do you think happened?

I know the conclusion you are trying to press for, but I'll suggest another one. Other historians simply have no motivation and even if they do, can you see a Western sponsor approving advances or other funding for a project to (for example) "prove Nanking never happened"? It is a non-starter.

Even if you are particularly dedicated and fund the effort yourself (already almost everyone has retired), it'd take a lot of effort to assemble a case that would convince a Western reader the Japanese did not do one commonly-accepted atrocity. And even if you do succeed in this, instead of getting praised for your bravery, dedication and integrity, you'd probably get more reviews blasting you for being sympathetic to Japanese revisionism, that "Who cares, there are still countless atrociites".

Why won't you pick another topic? Only in Japan would it be seriously possible to get the logistical support for such an endeavor, and not to be fried to a crisp just for proposing it.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

But a panel member, whose name was not recorded in the document, said it was wrong to retrospectively apply values and definitions, citing a 1974 United Nations ruling on the meaning of the word "aggression" in the international context.

What is called "1974 UN ruling" in the article is actually a UN General Assembly Resolution.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_3314

After reading the resolution, I think it does not go beyond 1945 when UN was established. So, it seems to me that we have to refere to older definition of aggression. But I think the argument is futile because war, if aggresive or not, is prohibited by Kellogg Briand Pact in1923. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Kellogg-Briand_Treaty

ARTICLE I

The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.

The whole argument on aggression comes from US insistence that war is OK if it is not an aggression even in face of the above mentioned treaty it has signed and ratified.

War itself is wrong and Japan should express its remorse for that.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Why is there a debate? Everyone knows how it went down. Just say it like it is

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Which one? Who is telling the truth?

The Japanese government has apologized several times. That was the truth. The apologies are the truth. Trying to now parse them is muddying the truth.

What you hear is not always what is truly going on, even today. The lies started a long time ago and I tend to ignore those who claim to know with certainty the absolute truth about events.

Blah, blah, blah. I have seen this same pattern before. Next you will be claiming the Nazis did not gass anyone in WWII.

Sorry, but you do not seem to have a leg to stand on with this kind of reasoning.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

MrBum MAR. 26, 2015 - 09:49AM JST It's been over half a century, and they're still arguing about something so basic as whether Japan was the "aggressor"? And people accuse China and Korea of not being able to move on? You know you're in trouble when you have to resort to "we were better than the Nazis."

And you're in even more trouble when that retort is not arguably true when it comes to the treatment of prisoner of wars and conquered territories. LDP seems to be their own worst enemy that they destroy their own reputation just to keep their national pride.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@ Kazuaki Shimazaki

Actually, they are there by the Boxer Protocol.

You mean the Boxer Protocol that was forced on China by imperialist powers, including Japan, after their failed attempt to fight off colonialism in the Boxer Rebellion? I wouldn't be surprised if China fired first. Can you blame them? Japan was there because they had essentially already invaded. The real "first shot" was fired long before the bridge incident.

Other historians simply have no motivation and even if they do, can you see a Western sponsor approving advances or other funding for a project to (for example) "prove Nanking never happened"?

No, I can't see a reputable sponsor from anywhere funding a project to "prove Nanking never happened". For one thing, starting with the conclusion is never a good way look into these things. I have heard of projects attempting to disprove the Holocaust backed by anti-semites like Ahmadinejad, though, so Japan's got some company.

it'd take a lot of effort to assemble a case that would convince a Western reader the Japanese did not do one commonly-accepted atrocity.

Yes, it would take a lot to counter the mountains of evidence that already exists. It would require so much new evidence that it'd be hard to believe such evidence had somehow eluded us all this time.

And if they did miraculously find something, what then? Will finding out that Japan only massacred 40,000 people instead of 300,000 lessen the amount of remorse you have? People like tinawatanabe like to remind us that apologies have been made, so why continue to pick at it?

Only in Japan would it be seriously possible to get the logistical support for such an endeavor, and not to be fried to a crisp just for proposing it.

Like I said, Ahmadinejad tried to do the same thing, so once again Japan is not as unique as some would like to think.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

After reading the resolution, I think it does not go beyond 1945 when UN was established. So, it seems to me that we have to refere to older definition of aggression

It doesn't matter what aggression meant then, it only matters what it means now. The statement is being now, therefore the current definition of the word is what matters.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Debating about the word "aggression" is pointless. Of course it was aggression by Japan. The question is how to characterize and frame that aggression.

I think there are several aspects that complicate how to characterize Japan's war:

First is that this was a war of BOTH Japanese imperialism and expansionism AND what many Japanese saw as the liberation of Asia from Western imperialism (and communism). And you can't just write the second part off. Most people in China and South-East Asia did not wanted Japan as a leader of Asia, but these countries also forget that many people did join as Japanese allies in this war: 500,000 Koreans, as many Taiwanese, 1,000,000 Chinese, the Burmese National Army, Indonesian nationalists, and so on.

Second is the alliance with Germany. In Western eyes, this makes Japan similar to a Nazi country. It was not. There was no Nazi party, there was no racial genocide. (But there were numerous warcrimes)

Third, Japan, like Germany, did also suffer from war crimes. Yes, Japan started it, but that does not exonerate it. 75,000 Japanes pow's died at the hands of the Soviets (and no, Japan did not attack the Soviet Union). Around 10,000 Japanese pow's died after the war in South-East Asia at the hands of the British. And then there are 250,000 civilians killed in Manchuria in the wake of the Soviet invasion. And then there are the 1000,000 civilians killed in the Tokyo firebombing, even before Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This all complicates things.

Here is an idea: Japanese politicians should stick to its past apologies, and leave the complexities for the historians to debate.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

WIshiwara: Here is an idea: Japanese politicians should stick to its past apologies, and leave the complexities for the historians to debate.

I think you got best idea.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There can only be one version of the truth - the correct one! There are at least three different versions in this article and they all seem to be far from the truth.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

StrangerlandMar. 26, 2015 - 06:03PM JST

It doesn't matter what aggression meant then, it only matters what it means now. The statement is being now, therefore the current definition of the word is what matters.

What you suggest is called rewriting history.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

The truth shall set you free.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think LDP advisers wanted to look like they are going to look like 2 version so that Atrocities will not be focused. So one side used aggression. Now, people are talking aggression instead of atrocities, Clever advisers. The action Japan did was not defined as aggression, Aggression is just Shinryaku or Kogeki normal war activities. Atrocity is Zangyaku. that include Iaunfu and gyakusatsu ( such as massacres in China).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

As Koizumi said recently, no reason to issue a statement just because it marks another decade.

It seems China is content on the one issued by Murayama so if any official statement to be made, just go with "what that eye brow said twenty years ago.".

Beijing estimates that around 20 million Chinese died during the Sino-Japanese conflict

Often quoted but never scrutinized. That calculates to double the already inflated " Nanking" everyday.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Regarding history it is not easy to tell the truth. If you do it strictly in the true sense, you will offend both the friends and the foes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Will finding out that Japan only massacred 40,000 people instead of 300,000 lessen the amount of remorse you have?

It changes the narrative completely from indiscriminate killing of civilians to capture of capital city and mop up operation gone bad.

There is a reason why "300,000" is constantly advertised by CCP and is displayed in their memorial.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

we were better than the Nazis

I think Unit 731 and Nanking would make Nazi gas chambers and death camps look like a theme park. Even the few surviving American POWs in the Pacific can refute that statement when they compare their experiences to the experiences of their fellow POWs in Europe. Also, Imperial Japan did target a specific group to kill, like the ethnic Chinese in South East Asia. I understand the Nazis committed human experiments, systematic genocide, and other countless atrocities too. But to say Imperial Japan were better than the Nazis is just untrue. They were both bad.

But it was after the war where Germany and Japan truly had stark differences in terms of dealing with their dark past.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

nigelboy Mar. 27, 2015 - 12:27AM JST It changes the narrative completely from indiscriminate killing of civilians to capture of capital city and mop up operation gone bad. There is a reason why "300,000" is constantly advertised by CCP and is displayed in their memorial.

The exact number of casualty doesn’t matter in understanding what happened in Nanjing. Lives are not numbers. It’s absurd to even think that murder of, say, 40,000 innocent people isn’t as bad as killing of 300,000 people. To understand the Nanjing Massacre, one would have to learn what was going on, not just in Nanjing but throughout China. That understanding is far more important than the number of casualty, which is essentially an academic topic.

Most of those IJA soldiers did not consider Chinese people as humans. Chinese women were to be killed anyway, so why not rape them before killing them? That kind of mentality was so wide-spread that an incident like the Nanjing Massacre was already happening all over the place just in smaller scales. Dehumanizing your enemies is not just restricted to Japanese soldiers though. Americans, Germans, Russians, all dehumanized their enemies.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The exact number of casualty doesn’t matter in understanding what happened in Nanjing

Yes it does. This was a situation where Chinese troops abandoned the capital and where their soldiers took off their uniforms and disguised themselves as civilians and conducting terrorists acts within the said population. And there is a reason why the population within Nanking gradually increased after the mop up period came to conclusion.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

@nigelboy

You implied that China knows the true number is much lower, but inflated it for the purpose of cultivating anti-Japan feelings (domestic propaganda). Consider the number of casualties for A-bombing in Hiroshima. The number Americans most often hear is 70-80K, while the number Japanese people most often hear is 140K. Is the Japanese number a political propaganda, intended to create anti-America sentiment? No sensible people would argue like that. The most likely explanation is simply that a victim tends to believe the highest possible number available. It’s just a human nature. Why would Chinese people be any different?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What you suggest is called rewriting history.

Dost thou explaineth ye Crusades in ye olde English? No thou dost not they are explained in the current language of the day, not the language of the time.

As such, the meaning of the term aggression as it stands now is used, as the apology is being made now.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think LDP advisers wanted to look like they are going to look like 2 version so that Atrocities will not be focused. So one side used aggression. Now, people are talking aggression instead of atrocities, Clever advisers. The action Japan did was not defined as aggression, Aggression is just Shinryaku or Kogeki normal war activities. Atrocity is Zangyaku. that include Iaunfu and gyakusatsu ( such as massacres in China).

@toshiko

I think you hit the nail on the head. What you write very well could be the case in that the Abe camp may be using diversionary tactics here — a red herring. If that is the case, many have taken the bait, including most of us on this thread.

By channeling the debate toward whether or not the GOJ should use the word 'aggression' (shinryaku or kogeki), the Abe camp is lowering the bar on the discussion and avoiding the need to address the true point in question which is use of the word 'atrocity' (zangyaku) in admitting that the Imperial Government of Japan implicitly and/or explicitly condoned unspeakable acts.

Now, if the GOJ does end up using the word 'aggression' they can make it look like they have graciously made a compromise.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Aggression: The action of attacking without provocation, especially in beginning a quarrel or war.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe statement should revisit Japan’s invasion of the Mariana Islands. Japan fortified the island knowing that an invasion was looming by the U.S. forces. Empire of Japan under the Commanders and leaders of Yoshitsugu Saito, Chuichi Nagumo, Takeo Takagi and Matsuji Ijuin with a strength military force of 31,000 were defeated and devastated the Island of Saipan with the casualties and losses 24,000 killed, 5,000 committed suicide and 921 prisoners with 1,079 unaccounted for [missing in action].

To top of there were 22,000 civilians’ lives loss and what did the Government of Japan concern is over public statement? I think the Prime Minister owe the people of the Saipan, Tinian and Rota much more than a public statement. Japan and United State of America is no different, all they do is commemorate casualties of wars, but no public apology to the families of the deceases. We deserve better and I for one expect an apology in honor of my deceased families who have nothing to do with the war.

So I say, Prime Minister Abe, do the right thing and honor the people of the Northern Mariana Islands as you do other Countries.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You implied that China knows the true number is much lower, but inflated it for the purpose of cultivating anti-Japan feelings (domestic propaganda). Consider the number of casualties for A-bombing in Hiroshima. The number Americans most often hear is 70-80K, while the number Japanese people most often hear is 140K. Is the Japanese number a political propaganda, intended to create anti-America sentiment? No sensible people would argue like that. The most likely explanation is simply that a victim tends to believe the highest possible number available. It’s just a human nature. Why would Chinese people be any different?

No. The numbers are based on two different parameters in which there are deaths immediately after and those who died later (Dec 1945) as a result of the wounds inflicted. In addition, the Japanese government does not seek any statements from U.S. counterparts regarding the bombings so the comparisons are moot.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

nigelboy Mar. 28, 2015 - 12:27AM JST No. The numbers are based on two different parameters in which there are deaths immediately after and those who died later (Dec 1945) as a result of the wounds inflicted.

The 1946 figure of 90,000 dead seems about right. Deaths after Dec 1945 evidently were not very numerous. The survey found that approximately 75% had died by Dec. 1945, and that an additional 5-6% had died between then and 1950. Interestingly, the latter death rate is slightly above 1 percent a year, almost exactly the normal mortality rate for the Japanese population. Counting deaths as of the end of 1945 must have captured essentially all of them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan during WWII were Asian Nazi's. Japan today is not and bears no obligation to that era or its memes. No politician should feel the need to support that history regardless of who wants them to. This shouldn't even be a question to not support such an attitude. That it's even a debate highlights how sad the situation is and how trapped Japan remains by its oyajis. Let it go and Japan can finally grow

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Shiso abe... were terribly sorry for what happened we apologise etc etc... China ... we don't believe you. 30 years time Japanese prime minister .. were very sorry etc etc.... China ....we don't believe you. China grow up get over it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"While many Japanese accept the global narrative that their country was an aggressor in the conflict, right-wingers insist Tokyo’s war was largely defensive and intended to liberate Asia from Western colonialists." - article

The right wing narrative should include the celebration of "Hooray Japan Day" through out East Asia. Apparently there is no such celebration. It seems the right's recollection isn't universally accepted.

The idea that Japan under a Deity Emperor was marching to replace European colonialism with Japanese colonialism might be closer to the truth.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Emperor Akihito can settle this. He has a quiet, yet positive image and is known as a nice, well-meaning man all around. He can come out with a sincere, no-holds-barred apology to China, Korea, and everybody else who suffered at Japan's hands. Make the wording so unrestrainedly self-reproachful and decisive that Abe and his cohorts will not be able to oppose him without being seen as anti-emperor, and not even the most passionate anti-Japanese activists in China and Korea can complain about inadequacy or self-justification. That should go a long way to forestall any right-wing backpedalling as well as winning over a lot of hearts in China/Korea.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Yep, the Emperor would be the correct person to make an address. Abe and Hashimoto would be permanently muzzled then

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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