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Lawmaker demands Aso apologize over his family's use of POW labor

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no need for him to apologize for what his ancestors did. he does need to apologize for covering it up, and disgorge any profits his company made from the differential in the wages between slaves and regular workers. If there were any executions in there, victims families are also entitled to reparations from Aso Group itself. pretty embarrasing if you ask me....

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This Fujita guy (and a lot of people here) should focus on more important issues at hand. All the opposition is trying to do is destabilizing the current cabinet. I find that despicable.

Really? Why? That's what the parties that aren't in power do all the time. It's why they're called the opposition. Anyway, the Aso adminstration is doing a good enough job destablising itself without any help from the DPJ, and the sooner they're gone the better.

But anyway, Aso is never going to apologise for his family's actions in WW2. Apart from any other consideration, there's no way the LDP would want to antagonise all those war veterans' associations and right-wingers whose support they feel they need.

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I think baka has it right. If Aso is going to deny that anything happened then there is reason for an apology. Or 17 more apologies, if that is what it takes to have people finally realize that what happened was wrong.

The root cause of the issue seems to be that the Japanese "back in the day" had a completely different view of the value of people who surrendered or to gaijin in general. It's a worry to many that this might still be true for a large part of the Japanese population.

Until the attitude has changed and the people denying the facts shut up more apologies will be necessary.

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Aso, Japan ... will do whatever they want. We figured that one out ages ago. Their heads are hard like stone so losing sleep over past or current actions causes no grief or guilt whatsoever. That is the way society is designed here. Just remember Aso, Japan ..."The further look back, the further you can look ahead."

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Don't agree with the concept in general, but apologizing for what your family members have done instead of those responsible taking the blame does seem to be a Japanese thing.

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This Fujita guy (and a lot of people here) should focus on more important issues at hand. All the opposition is trying to do is destabilizing the current cabinet. I find that despicable.

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The Japanese government has apologized enough. 17 times according to CNN. Yet the "Japan has never apologized" crowd continues with their fallacious chant ad infinitum. At this point, who cares. Japan has so many aspects that are f****D up today that need to be corrected noe and for the future that harping on ancient history is a waste of time.

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If Aso had not repeatedly denied that there was any evidence that slave labor was used by his families company, then this would not be an issue. Every time the Japanese govt attempts to rewrite history and deny the past then the issue is brought up again. The solution is simple, admit it, apologize, then it will cease to be an issue. The Japanese revisionists are the ones responsible for the past being dredged up again and again.

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Yukihisa Fujita, a member of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan is demanding that PM Aso Apologise for his families past. Is Yukihisa Fujita's saying his family was not involved in any way with WWII and is not guilty for any of his families past?? Then how would he be prepared to Apologies to the rest of the world for Japan's war time past if he was PM, Yes the Japanese GOVERNMENT not a single person that was incapable of understanding war at that time, should be apologising. http://www.autoblog.com/2007/10/25/documentary-implicates-bmws-controlling-shareholders-in-war-cri/" America also has a lot to apologise for,the A-bomb's they dropped that was a weapon of mass destruction, Vietnam .... oh and anybody seen 9/11 in plane sight, people responsible need to apologise to its own people. We in this present time will be APOLOGISING to the future generation for a very long, long time!! Why not pick on someone now that will be born in the future to apologise for us or does it sound ridiculous???? We are not learning from history if we keep living it!!! And when a main member of the opposition starts pointing fingers at one person he himself should check his family past first. Those that need to apologise are mostly all gone, and they should have done all the APOLOGISING instead of passing the buck and this is what history keeps doing passing the burden of incompetence. Is this not why we are in such a mess.

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Aso has distanced himself from revelations in other wartime documents that Korean forced laborers were also used at the Aso mine.

He's not the only one who tries to walk away from the sins of past history. The JP government applies the state of exemption for financial and legal responsibility from any alleged war crimes neglected in the past history after the end of World War II. No one in the world is stigmatizing ASO for being a grandson of the perpetrators for mistreating POWs. He does have an accountability to the victims because his family failed to do so after World War II. He is blamed simply because he's trying to walk away from any accountability for historical facts about his family and choose to ignore the concerns and voices of victims.

The State of Exemption might compromise government's (nation state's) financial and legal responsibility to some extent, but that does not mean they can walk away from their accountability to respond to the voices of victims who are still trapped in the trauma of shady past. The JP government still owes the victims the collective responsibility to iron out the historical misunderstandings; help them heal their psychological wounds of the past; and get them into the same page of present and future.

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Of course Aso should apologise. Some of his wealth now is due to slave labour. It is a disgrace, and he should apologise or resign NOW!!

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During or after WWll many thousands of japanese POW-s got enslaved all >over the world in harsh labor or concentration camps. Why should not >those governments apologize for their slavery act?!

Because the Japanese POWs were enslaved by the Soviet Union and China. >>Nobody expexts these countires to show any honor or responsibility >>whatsoever. They are held to a lower standard.

True. And yet both the USSR and China sat on the juders panel at the Tokyo War Crimes trials passing judgement.

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Just playing devil's advocate here, but do you think Germans would allow >Hitler's nephew to become Chancellor?

As far as I know Germany is a democracy and as such any person, unless othwise restricted from running for office for reasons of citizenship, mental health, etc, could end up as being chancellor. It is not up to Germany to "allow" or "not allow" anyone to run for office based on a remote blood relationship with someone long dead. As to whether such a person would have any public and party support is a totally different issue. Finally, Germany is pretty much OT to this article.

They seem to allow the grandkids >of war criminals to take office here no problem. What's more, the nephew >probably WOULD apologize, as do German Chancellors pretty much every >year when they visit Auscwitz and acknowledge what happened, despite >having no personal part in the matter. Aso has clearly benefitted from >what his parents/grandparents did, so I see no harm in asking for an >apology.

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any japanese military crimes are so horrifying and must be magnified 10 times and any allied war crimes,

There is undoubtedly a huge element of victor's justice in comparison of Allied and Japanese war atrocities, however some kind of statement from Aso wold sure help things. However, it goes against the LDP DNA so we'll never see such apologies until the LDP has finally imploded and Japan can actually get a government of the people.

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A wonderful piece of news, for a change, from Japan. Mr Fujita is my hero. Maybe there is hope at last that this year will see the end of Aso and also the end of the LDP who have abused power and misruled this country for so long. Aso, if he had any gumption at all, would resign in disgrace, after issuing an apology to all the victims of the war which Japan caused, and also another personal apology that the reason he is rich is because of the sacrifice of Allied prisoners whom his family used as slaves, illegally, during the war.

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As far as I remember, Tojo was a prime minister war criminal. If Aso was in a position where he was responsible for slave labor during world war 2, that would make him a prime minister war criminal as well, no? if he was in fact 8 as someone has suggested, then i feel he has nothing to apologize for.

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thequestion

you cant exactly let the sins of the father pass if you havent heard of them yet now can you.

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Ossan: "Taro Aso was 8 years old when WWII ended. An apology from him is about as valuable as an apology from Hitler's nephew."

Just playing devil's advocate here, but do you think Germans would allow Hitler's nephew to become Chancellor? They seem to allow the grandkids of war criminals to take office here no problem. What's more, the nephew probably WOULD apologize, as do German Chancellors pretty much every year when they visit Auscwitz and acknowledge what happened, despite having no personal part in the matter. Aso has clearly benefitted from what his parents/grandparents did, so I see no harm in asking for an apology.

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Part of the process of "moving on" is to simply acknowledge what was done in the past...especially if it forms part of your particular wealth via your family. It's not Aso's fault as such, but the family's "frame of mind" seems to have been passed down to him. Yep, saying "I'm sorry for my family's past and resolve not to let it happen again" is deeply healing but so would a lot of money in recompense or even better, improved trade relationships.

And, yikes, what about all those poor young women stolen from their families to be sex slaves, for the luvagod? That's worth apologizing for if nothing else is...

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Mr. Aso should spend some time in those mines.

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Just a couple of comments about this issue from an Australian perspective. Many Australians who died in Japanese captivity are buried at the Commonwealth War Cemetery at at Hodogaya in Yokohama. For any Australian/New Zealanders, you can always front up for the ANZAC service that is held each year.

Secondly, my grandfather (who reached the rank of Lt-General) spent the period immediately after the war helping in the execution of Japanese war criminals. Although as hard as nails, when I was a little chap I remember him telling me some stories about the atrocities committed againsts POWs, interred civilians and Chinese/Korean slave laborers. Telling such stories sometimes left him in tears.

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Has a death wish? I seem to remember the last DPJ politican to raise such home truths was stabbed by a right wing loony?

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Pure politics here, sounds like the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party to me.

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During or after WWll many thousands of japanese POW-s got enslaved all over the world in harsh labor or concentration camps. Why should not those governments apologize for their slavery act?!

Because the Japanese POWs were enslaved by the Soviet Union and China. Nobody expexts these countires to show any honor or responsibility whatsoever. They are held to a lower standard.

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During or after WWll many thousands of japanese POW-s got enslaved all over the world in harsh labor or concentration camps. Why should not those governments apologize for their slavery act?!

Because one the whole, Japanese POW's got treated MUCH better than allied POW's. Japanese believed soldiers that surrendered were less than human because it went against that Bushido thingy.

Having said that...this seems to be more of a political move by Fujitia.

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well that's the point. You don't deal with history as a shame otherwise you have to forget and bury it which never works. No, best to recognize it as a shift and change like the Germans have. Sins of the father in this case grandfather are hardly his to apologize for. Aso is a knob today politically, but this isn't relevant. Aso was 8 at the time, hardly his issue. It would be grand though if he could point this out and state personally how Japan has moved-on in life.

Reaffirming postive change is a strength, and in Japan's case, would remove a stain of blood a little bit at a time. Ignoring this opportunity makes things worse.

The phrase 'Less we forget' is often used in rememberance ceremonies, to remind us of the consequences, why we must never darken our lives by taking examples of our darkest sides.

Striving to be good means allowing knowledge of history, but not to be burdened by it, ..no, to be free of it!

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POW from WW2 is certainly an issue and Aso should make the closet clear on this . .thought should Fujita ask as well, what Aso himself and his glorious company had been doing in Africa in the erly 90. I bet his company had the blood for money business style.

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I'm not sure what it will do to apologize. I'm American and we have committed our share of atrocities as well but our government is not eager to admit much. The only country that has admitted their atrocities is Germany so more credit to them.

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Aso himself does not owe them an apology. It was not his act. But doing so on behalf of the government certainly would not kill him. I don't demand that though.

If I were to make a demand of Aso, it would be that he stop trying to always but WWII in a positive light while glossing over the crimes of his own freaking family.

Japan has acknowledged it used POWs, as well as civilians kidnapped from Asia, for forced labor in mines, shipyards and jungles during World War II.

And they need to acknowledge it every time they bring up the Second World War. And if they do not want to acknowledge it, then DON'T bring up the war!

This is about Japan cleaning its own house, not putting it off because the neighbors are too.

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I say let the sins of our fathers pass with them. My uncle was in the Bataan death march and he'd just as soon forget the whole thing, no need to dredge up the past if it serves no other purpose but to shame.

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Great stuff. If this does not bring this relative of war criminals down, >nothing will.

Taro Aso was 8 years old when WWII ended. An apology from him is about as valuable as an apology from Hitler's nephew.

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During or after WWll many thousands of japanese POW-s got enslaved all over the world in harsh labor or concentration camps. Why should not those governments apologize for their slavery act?! Because it is meaningless that the war business is too dirty that either sides turn into dirty handed. Some time these politicians are overly naive.

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Aoto,

You seem to have forgotten the most fundamental premise of historical study: Those who fail to understand the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

If Aso (and others) are unable to own up to past mistakes by their fathers and grandfathers, then how can you possibly expect anyone today to adhere to a higher standard.

I understand what you're saying about people having to make the effort to do the right thing now, but part of growing as a species is learning to recognize when we screwed up and not do the same things again.

By constantly refusing to address the issue, Aso and others in the LDP, perpetuate a sense that Japanese wartime behavior was in some way justifiable, for X, Y, or Z reasons. And that's just not the case.

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Wow... opening a serious can of worms here. Why stop with just the Aso family ??? Toyota, Mitsubishi, etc rose to prominence and power also on the back of POW slave labor. I don't see any of those companies stepping forward to join the discussion do you ?

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Aso should have the courage and honesty to fully address this issue.

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smithinjapan; your comment makes no sense you can deal with the present now, the past has happened the present is now it is easier and quicker to solve thing in the present that directly affect peoples lifes. it is always easier to blame the past and take the high gound but if that ground is not solid you have no legs to stand on. lets get our leaders to play by the rules and not make them up as they go along

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Great stuff. If this does not bring this relative of war criminals down, nothing will.

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Aoto: No, you deal with the past NOW, not when the people who helped create it are still living and trying to keep it covered up. At the same time you use that history to deal with the present and hopefully avoid repeating it.

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Don't forget the American pilots who were kept in Ueno zoo in your apology. I think Japan lacks, but needs, a real leader with the "konjo" to clearly set the record straight. Mr Aso is clearly lacking the "right stuff".

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whats new in the last 7 years we have had usa and uk personal involved in torture and abuse of prisoners.. let every country invoke the un charter for human rights and uphold the geneva convention. then we can deal with the past . lets get our on leaders who are directly responsible to apolagise first

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“If it were not Mr Aso’s family mine, the POW issue might have been buried in the dark forever.”

Fujita, only in Jpn, POW issues are very well known OUTSIDE Jpn, but nice of you to bring this up anyway, its one of Jpns ghosts that haunt it till this very day & one of the reasons Jpn cant participate in UN missions etc as a NORMAL nation, because Jpn still hasnt learned or REALLY admitted to its past, so it haunts Jpn

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Great story. About time this was published. But here is a question.....

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