politics

Kono criticizes Abe for questioning war apology

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By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Interesting story. This is really just confirmation than news though. Already my friends are relocating to Thailand as they don't see Japan with any business future

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Already my friends are relocating to Thailand as they don't see Japan with any business future

What kind of business you're talking about? I'm just curious as I don't know the trends in Eastern Asia.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Does it mean Kono is willing to play a mediator's role and try to appease China/Korea?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yohei Kono is a very wise man. Many kudos.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

I think Mr Kono should come out of retirement and re-join the LDP to keep Abe and co. in check!

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Article states: "Abe has alarmed China and South Korea by suggesting that he would like to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution so that Japan’s military can operate with more freedom.

We seem to have no problem with Germany having a strong military. Why then is it not time for Japan to be allowed to have the same? The war ended 60 years ago. What indication has there been in that time that Japan is a threat to the U.S. or to their neighbors?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Because comparing with Germans, you japs are ignorant, stupid and fact deniers. You blindly follow your right wingers and are too far away from civilization.

=============== We seem to have no problem with Germany having a strong military. Why then is it not time for Japan to be allowed to have the same?

0 ( +13 / -13 )

ne-tigerJul. 03, 2013 - 08:01AM JST Because comparing with Germans, you japs are ignorant, stupid and fact deniers. You blindly follow your right wingers and are too far away from civilization.

Fact deniers? Didn't Chancellor Kohl and President Reagan visited the Nazi gravesite for prayer in the mid 80's? Why did Chancellor visit for what purpose?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

All revisionists, including PM Abe and the Osaka mayor will have the truth thrown back at them, time and time again, and while such people of high office hold revisionist views, the world and the region will never be able to move on from those horrors and tragic events which ended more than 60 years ago.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

zichiJ ul. 03, 2013 - 08:40AM JST the world and the region will never be able to move on from those horrors and tragic events which ended more than 60 years ago.

This is nothing but politics. Don't your think your country China politics is saying the same thing about Japan? But they sure like money. China and South Korea remains the biggest trade partner for Japan. Why isn't these two countries breaking off the trade The reality is that the trade ministers of China, Japan and South Korea have agreed to step up efforts towards forming a trilateral free trade agreement. These three countries know that free flow of trade and investment between their countries is the key to sustaining growth and they have been looking to increase trade among themselves because the demand from key markets like the US and Europe has fallen. Sounds like isolation on Japan to you?

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Though Yohei Kono's approach/opinion to this is much more preferable to that of Abe's, it's disheartening to see that his reasoning for the 1990's apologies has more to do with the fact that it was the proper diplomatic thing to do, not necessarily the right thing to do. This is the difference between Japan and Germany and the reason that basically Germany has not only redeemed itself in the eyes of the European community, but has unbelievably become its de facto leader...And Japan continues to be despised by its neighbors. What a golden opportunity Japan lost post World War 2 to reconcile with its neighbors and to right past wrongs.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I love when politicians can be honest about their countries' past. We need a lot more politicians like Mr. Kono in the world. The world would be a much better place.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

A Japanese politican with a brain! Who knew?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sfjp330

Don't your think your country China politics is saying the same thing about Japan?

That's so funny, were did you ever dig up the idea I'm Chinese? What's a new one! I have stated many times on this forum I'm a Brit, although not English, a pure breed Celt, married to a Japanese and living in the country for a long time. Maybe, I just misunderstood your words, it happens?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Shankun; one is involved in chain stores, another distribution and a third in IT like me. There's little reason to expect change in Japan when all it does is go backwards. You can do business anywhere, I'm just referring to margins of victory are greater elsewhere. Better employees too I might add.

Interestingly Kono should be respected for being so pragmatic and had clearly helped Japan move forward with its neighbours. Meanwhile Abe is intent on reversing course. That can't end well.

60 years on and Japan still floundering while Germany isn't. Germany's government wasn't tied to the rightists early on, so there is no lingering culture to change. While nothing is easy that certainly helped progress a lot. (or so goes my understanding).

Another Olympic rejection, and a few large company bankruptcies away from closing off Japan. I do like the takoyaki though

1 ( +3 / -2 )

sfjp330JUL For fear getting of getting sucked into the vortex with Japanese right wingers, I will give you my answer to your question. The reason that the rest of Europe has no problem with Germany having a strong military is because they genuinely trust Germany. Post world war 2 Germany did a lot of soul searching and took full responsibility for their horrific activities in World war 2. In fact, it is illegal to deny certain aspects of the war (namely the Holocaust). Japan, on the other hand, has done none of this soul searching/ rehabilitation. The average Japanese person under 50 knows little of world war 2 other than Hiroshima. Ask the average Japanese (under 40h when World War 2 started and they won't know. For them to know so little of an event that had such a huge impact on their country just a little more than half a century is very disturbing and telling. And the reason there has been "no indication of a threat to its neighbors in the last 60 years" is because Japan was forcibly given a non military (peace) constitution by the United States of America after World War 2, basically declawing them.

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ViennaSausage 2Jul. 03, 2013 - 08:51AM JST This is the difference between Japan and Germany and the reason that basically Germany has not only redeemed itself in the eyes of the European community, but has unbelievably become its de facto leader...

Germany has not only reddemed itself? Then there certainly is an argument to be made for a Jewish safe haven following the horrors of the Holocaust after WWII. But why was the responsiblity placed exclusively on the Palestinians, and only on their land, to the exclusion of the very Europeans responsible for the persecution in the first place? Or other European countries’ abominably restrictive immigration policies barring the entry of fleeing Jewish refugees into their own countries?

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

I think Mr Kono should come out of retirement and re-join the LDP to keep Abe and co. in check!

Sadly if he were to return to the LDP he would be forced to toe the party line and follow Abe's lead. It is better for him to stay independent of the LDP and Abe.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I wouldn't be surprised that 25 years from now Japan is still trying to play down their direct involvement in a great deal of human suffering during the first half of the 20th century.

Pride is holding back Japan's ability to move on from what should be considered a dark chapter in their history that has been put behind them. I give the German's a lot of credit with how they handled their wartime past. There is no way that Japan's neighbors are going to let the Japanese deny the obvious - no matter how long they deny it. Please Japan, swallow your pride, do the right thing and fess up once and for all.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

We seem to have no problem with Germany having a strong military.

@sfjp330 because the german mentality has changed after the war? It seems that japan still has the same mentality as a 100 years ago.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

We must condemn all revisionism.

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He said there has been strong criticism for their charges of coercion without official documents specifically stating government orders to so.

sometimes official documents are not quite important like in this case,,for everybody's interest and for the country to move on with its neighbours

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@sfjp330: The Germans provided full state endorsed apology to the jews, something you Japanese never did to the entire East Asians for the horrors you inflicted on them. That is the difference. All I can see are token apologies provided by few politicians long long time ago. You cannot right the past wrong, but you can show that future will be different. What heart do the Chinese or Asians or East Asians nations get from the Japanese generation that wants to revive its military? What guarantee that the Japanese will not repeat the history? All I can say is the Americans in Japan or Korea not only act as deterrent to the Chinese, they keep an watchful eyes on you Japanese as well so that you are not out of you leash again.

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Abe’s attempts to downplay Japan’s actions before and during World War II have hurt the country’s global image and could undermine its pacifist pledge

Abe’s government needs to fully accept that Japan is geopolitically part of Asia, and has no choice but to deepen ties with China and South Korea

Amen. I hope Abe takes a page out of Kono's playbook. Other than short-term gains in the polls, I just can't understand why Abe has recklessly opened this can of worms (along with Ishihara, Hasimoto and others).

More focus on getting Japan up to speed economically and making life better for people in Japan, please PM Abe — and efforts toward building positive relations with Japan's Asian neighbors would certainly help here.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Revisionism is like the Japanese proverb, "then the nail is sticking up, bang it down again!"

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I was in a pub once enjoying my drink when I accidently spilled beer over another guy. It got into a heated argument with a bit of a scruffle. I apologized. It settled down. Then his mate started going on about how the apology wasn't good enough, that I wasn't sincere. It got heated again and ended up in a fight. Moral to the story, let sleeping dogs lie..

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

My hats off to Mr. Kono. Bravo!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

randommanJUL. 03, 2013 - 10:23AM JST Me think better analogy: Ye come to me house and shot dead me father. Raped me mother and sisters then killed them. Tortured me brothers then killed them too. Then ye burned down half the house. Neighbors come and capture ye and hold ye responsible, BUT instead of putting ye in jail or just hang ye, they give ye good treatment -- send ye to school, teach you skills so ye can better yeself. Later, after much prompting by everyone, ye say ye are sort of, kind of sorry. Ye say it did not happen the way everyone thinks, and ask why do me still hold grudge after all these year. Ye even say everyone else does this.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Europe got its act together after World War II, to the point that war between the formerly violently quarreling states is now almost unimaginable. Asia has to do the same - and it's even more in Japan's interest now than it was in any one European country's interest then, because China is so disproportionately huge. Better to make allies now while the playing field's somewhat even than enemies later when China has come to dominate.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Those nationalistic comments sound vigorous in Japan but they are not acceptable outside the country. Absolutely not, Kono said.

Agreed

7 ( +7 / -0 )

That's the difference between a politician and a leader. A politician cares only for himself. A leader cares for the well being of the nation.

What can Japan benefit out of this revisionism? And over an apology that a 10yo should understand that it should be warranted, which none of Japanese school kids would know because your gov't systematically brainwashes them.

You know, just several months ago, posters on this board still advocated that Japan had apologized enough and Japan should just move on. Some still do. The same went on for years and years past. CLEARLY THAT'S NOT THE CASE IN REALITY, IS IT? It cannot be more clear that Japan constantly tries to silent the past and find every opportunity to white wash the past. Before, there were limited politician that would come out to flatly say it such as the buffons such as Ishihara. But now the numbers are growing because the direction of Japan is rapidly turning to the extremity. And countries that are allies of Japan is taking notice and is criticizing Japan over it. Including world leading new media outlets. So Japan really has no where to hide.

At this over what? Shame? Its far more shameful to lie or disguise about your past than to confront it. I will bet anything that all the victimized nations and people involved would gain a whole lot more respect from Japan if Japan would just once and for all, come out and unequivocally apologize and accept all responsibilities of those crimes against humanity no matter what your pride and culture dictate. And take action to eradicate the symbols that even remotely suggest of any glorification or support of that past.

And I will bet Japan will come out a lot stronger because of it. At least you can walk with your heads holding high.

I know I will have a lot more respect for Japan and the Japanese because of that too. Its not just your gov't that is responsible. More importantly, its the Japanese people that is more responsible because you people elected your leaders. Your leaders and gov't is a direct reflection of the conduct of Japan and its people.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This man, and others like him (if there are any others), can help return Japan's image as a compassionate, peaceful country truly remorseful for its wartime atrocities and openly willing to build close relations with it's Asian brothers.

Or am I just dreaming of the impossible..

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Unfortunately the voices of nationalism and revisionism are stronger than those of common sense. How easy it is to fool the Japanese people that there is no evidence for Japan's wartime atrocities. Of course the whole world muct be wrong and a handful of Japanese historians are right. Kono? He's clearly a traitor to the superior Japanese race and the 'Kami no Kuni'.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A man with some sense. This man truly represents what I believe is the Japanes spirit -- honest, passionate, and with a strong regard for what is right and what is wrong (not limited to Japanese, of course). People like Abe, who were NEVER involved in what happened long ago but insist that those who admit Japan did wrong are not correct or have bad memories, espouse everything that is bad about Japan: denial, inferiority complex, aggression, immorality, and a total lack of ethics and information.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

budgieJUL. 03, 2013 - 12:43PM JST Unfortunately the voices of nationalism and revisionism are stronger than those of common sense. How easy it is to fool the Japanese people that there is no evidence for Japan's wartime atrocities. Of course the whole world muct be wrong and a handful of Japanese historians are right. Kono? He's clearly a traitor to the superior Japanese race and the 'Kami no Kuni'.

Well put. How easy indeed it is to claim to the Japanese public there is no evidence for wartime atrocities - and how easy and comforting it is for them to believe this. But in some countries this is illegal (i.e. Germany). Why is it not in Japan?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The voice of nationalism and revisionism is stronger. It's no surprise that Japanese are being defensive and pensive about the accusations of its wartime past. No one every takes into account what Japan has done to set the record straight like with ODA paid out to the victims and the apologies made. Younger generation will not bow to such accusations.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@sfjp330

Germany has not only reddemed itself? Then there certainly is an argument to be made for a Jewish safe haven following the horrors of the Holocaust after WWII. But why was the responsiblity placed exclusively on the Palestinians, and only on their land, to the exclusion of the very Europeans responsible for the persecution in the first place?

Number of jews in different countries can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_population_by_country

Few Jews were left in Germany after the war, but it is still 8th in world for number Jews, although that is a tiny number of 119,000. I cannot imagine an anti-Jewish demonstration taking place in a Jewish residential and business neighborhood; the police would not permit it. In fact it is illegal anywhere in the country of Germany.

But in Japan the Zaitokkukai (在日特権を許さない市民の会) are allowed to demonstrate every week against Koreans in the Korean residential and business neighborhood of Shin-Okubo. This is a kind of harassment which is not worthy of Japan. Please ask your friends to stop it.

The history of Isreal as a 20th century Jewish "homeland" began before world war 2. After the war, the number increased dramatically, and they even fought the British government to make the state of Isreal.

As you correctly mentioned, the Palestinians lost their lands and homes, and have been treated very unfairly. However, you somehow imply this was the deliberate effort of the Germans to make this happen, but that is incorrect. It is the responsibility of the Isreali state to maintain good and fair relations with the Palestinians. The US (my country) also bears some responsibility.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It feels like Kono is one of the few politicians who has actually opened up a non-Monbukagakusho history textbook, read it, and understood it. I don't think anybody else ever has by their asinine comments.

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heretoolong: Exactly! In fact, Abe is one of the people who proudly boasts of how he helped white-wash current history texts! And despite the fact that he had to backtrack and admit he was wrong (he swore up and down that Imperial troops never 'engaged' in "comfort women" brothels, and that brothels never existed for that matter, but had to change his tune upon given evidence he could no longer hide or lie about.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The reason that the rest of Europe has no problem with Germany having a strong military is because they genuinely trust Germany. Post world war 2 Germany did a lot of soul searching and took full responsibility for their horrific activities in World war 2.

"German" history after the war is of course a wee bit more complicated than that. Until 1990, there were two Germanys, which means two German military powers. A lot of people in these Germany good/Japan bad discussions seem inclined to overlook this - charitably assuming they know their history in the first place, of course.

The DDR didn't waste time reflecting on the horrors inflicted by the Nazis on Europe in general and the Jews in particular - instead it positioned itself as a victim of Nazism (where it bothered to remember at all) in a struggle between socialism and fascism.

Further, it had a fortified border with West Germany, later constructed the Berlin wall, and over the years shot dead several hundred people as they attempted to escape to the west. Would it be stating the obvious to point out that there was very much a problem in other European countries with this kind of strong German military?

The German soul searching you speak of just did not happen in East Germany. They refused to pay reparations to Jewish victims. They did not apologize for the Holocaust. There were no diplomatic relations with Israel. And truthful education concerning the Holocaust and Germany's responsibility for the war was not part of East Germany's programme.

So you cannot talk of "Germany" righting wrongs after World War 2, but only West Germany. After 1990 and reunification, a lot of Germans had a lot of catching up to do.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What Japan does and doesn't do, we're beyond caring anymore. This is not even new news.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Before we're going to declare "our forefathers were less worse than they were said to be nowadays" or "they were not wrong" or "they were just right", whatever, we have to overrule and refuse the Potsdam, and all of the determinations given by the Military tribunal for the Far East in the first place, there's no denial of responsibility for the war going to happen unless we deny the Potsdam, since Japan once accepted it, didn't we?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Germans provided full state endorsed apology to the jews...

True. Unlike Germany, Japan has never really repented about its fascist past.

The main reason why Japan is so different from Germany is because the fascist WWII criminals regained control of Japan only shortly after the war ended through the LDP, a political party founded by the fascists, top WWII criminals and Yakuza godfathers with the money that they looted in Manchukuo i.e. Manchuria.

And these fascists gained the trust of the Americans by promising to help them to fight with the communists and suppress the leftists i.e the socialists in Japan. One of such criminals happened to be the grandfather of Shinzo Abe, Kishi Nobusuke who is even known to be funded by the CIA.

So if you were such a war criminal, would you admit your crimes after you retook the office just to be jailed once again? Unlikely right?

And that is exactly the reason why Japanese politicians who wished to apologize had to wait for 5 decades. i.e. after the whole generation of Japanese WWII criminals had passed away or lost their influence before they were allowed by the LDP government to do so. And even then, their apologies will continue to be challenged by the 2nd, 3rd or 4th generations of these war criminals.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Maybe Japan hasn't taken responsibility or 'repented' for her WWII actions because she lost the war due to a shocking, surprise attack that was also against the rules (even though such rules didn't exist then!). The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were crimes against humanity in every sense. Yes, yes, but the atomic bombings helped end the war, right? Do two wrongs make a right?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

There would be war criminals thing related to our atitude, I don't deny it, but some would, not so many. There had been always much numbers of people but war criminals, a country was unlikely controlled by only such few related people, I mean few only happens to be compared to its popularity. There seems to have more influential, or cardinal issues to take up when we need any profound thought, than a conspiracy kind of theory, things are not always going through as it is just how someone or some party planned to be. I think we have more causes around the issue regarding to our traditon, or culture, also the causes might be the same with what happening recently between China, I mean "How come we've forgotten such an important promise just for 40 years or so".

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Ravi Tandukar Jul. 03, 2013 - 10:00AM JST All I can see are token apologies provided by few politicians long long time ago. You cannot right the past wrong, but you can show that future will be different. What heart do the Chinese or Asians or East Asians nations get from the Japanese generation that wants to revive its military?

It becomes quite clear that China does not value long term friendship. It has switched or abandoned its friends when it is convenient or useful to do so. If you notice in any Chinese media, when Japan provided the $6 billion in ODA to China in the late 70's to build and moderize their infastructures, only the few communist goverment members knew at the time that Japan contributed greatly to rebuild at the time a primitive China, but these Chinese leaders took the credit. In the late 70's to even today, Chinese goverment have censored and never publicly told their citizens that Japan help rebuild their airports, cities and facilities. Only the negative propaganda news of Japan was told to their citizens.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It is good to hear that Kono is speaking up on these very important points.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All around the world people are demanding reconciliation for past historical events and the comfort wives matter is a major issue for people all around the world. My humble suggestion is maybe the solution is not with the governments, but with the surviving comfort women and the living WW2 Japanese soldiers. Hopefully, a venue can be established where both the women and the soldiers can meet and talk about what happened from their perspectives (if such a meeting has not happened already). Such a meeting would be historic and Mr. Kano viewpoint is right. When governments start whitewashing the past people all around the world begin to look at that particular nation differently.

This is one of the reasons why the British government recently apologized to Kenyans who were tortured in the 1950s. The British government agreed to pay 20 million dollars to the 5,000 plus victims. This will equal out to about $5,000 dollars for each victim. Many of the Kenyans who were tortured stated that their struggle was not about acquiring money, but instead their struggle for reconciliation was about the world knowing the truth about what happened to them during the 1950s.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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