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Japan needs to keep apologizing, making gestures of contrition and seek a fuller understanding of its shared past with Asia. The apologies tend to be vague and lack specific references to atrocities a

30 Comments

Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies at Temple University's Tokyo campus. (Bloomberg)

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The apologies tend to be vague and lack specific references to atrocities and excesses,

In other words, typical Japan political/diplomatic speak.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

A director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Japan is saying this?

Sounds like your typical "it's never enough, Japanese need to bow and grovel like Germans" nonsense.

Japanese politicians have done more than their share of apologizing and addressing the needs of the victims. It doesn't help when ignorant people like Jeff engage in the very same tactics they accuse all Japanese of, white washing history.

I suppose things like Prime Minister Koizumi visiting the Marco Polo bridge and the memorial hall of Chinese resistance to Japanese aggression in 2000, and apologizing and vowing never to repeat the past, isn't 'sincere' enough since he didn't get down on both knees and cry his eyes out. And the attempts to apologize and compensate former comfort women in South Korea via the comfort women's fund, which some women accepted (though the Japanese government was under no 'legal' obligation to do anything at all, due to the 1965 normalization treaty with South Korea).

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Brave guy - I could see him jobless soon enough as a result of this public comment. I hope that doesn't come to pass though, because he's spot on with his comments.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Bingo! The man is correct!

And we don't need countless politicians etc always going around denying what happened either!

But alas..................change is unlikely!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Strangerland JUL. 28, 2014 - 11:44AM JST Brave guy - I could see him jobless soon enough as a result of this public comment. I hope that doesn't come to pass though, because he's spot on with his comments.

Or he could get death threats or name calling like communist supporters from Right wingers. It already got on some people's nerves here.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

hmmm according to wikipedia, japan has already apologized more than 50x... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

and have provided huge amount of money for development assistance...

its just that japan has never been very good at promoting these facts...

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Nah. I disagree that Japan needs to keep on apologizing. One sufficient comprehensive apology with no backtracking would be appropriate. The problem is that Japan apologizes and states offically that they've apologized and then vacillitates between that position and the opinions of right winged politicians who say 'It never really happened'. It is the 'that really never happened' sentiment that negates the official position. Say, sorry emphatically, move on...No need to repeat apologies...and no need to backtrack.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The difference between the apologies of the Germans and the Japanese is simply that the Germans actually meant it and the apologies are reflected in National laws and informed opinion by not only politicians but the average citizen.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Brave guy - I could see him jobless soon enough as a result of this public comment.

He's been going on about this for some time. He writes editorials in Japan Times all the time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan needs to keep apologizing, making gestures of contrition and seek a fuller understanding of its shared past with Asia.

Rubbish. Absolute codswallop.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Does he know how much he's hurting Japanese people's feelings? Does he know in Japan there're still a lot of people are suffering from American A-bombs and all those air raids all over japan? Does he know how miserable to be the people of war-defeated coutry being constantly beaten like this even after defeat?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

This man is lucky Japan have free speech

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Does he know how much he's hurting Japanese people's feelings? Does he know in Japan there're still a lot of people are suffering from American A-bombs and all those air raids all over japan? Does he know how miserable to be the people of war-defeated coutry being constantly beaten like this even after defeat?

Then they should understand just how important it is to apologize to the people whom they have wronged. Yet while they are happy to cry victim, they aren't willing to apologize to their victims. So it's hard to feel sympathy for the things you've mentioned.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Then they should understand just how important it is to apologize to the people whom they have wronged. Yet while they are happy to cry victim, they aren't willing to apologize to their victims. So it's hard to feel sympathy for the things you've mentioned.

They have apologised, again and again. Just because some idiot decides to add a rider doesn't mean previous apologies should be disregarded or erased from memory... but that's what's happening.

My country did horrible things in the name of the British Empire... am I forced to feel contrition? Do I have to feel guilty about the Raj? No, because it had nothing to do with me. So why should modern Japanese be fored to feel guilt for what their ancestors may have done in the past? How about America? Have they apologised to the native Americans? You know, those native people treated like animals and forced to live on reservations? Those people exterminated by the US Army and had their lands and resources taken from them?

Why are some allowed to be freed from guilt and others are made to be the bad boy for eternity? This is 2014.... generations have passed, the world has moved on. Japan is not the enemy, so stop treated it like one!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Does he know how much he's hurting Japanese people's feelings? Does he know in Japan there're still a lot of people are suffering from American A-bombs and all those air raids all over japan? Does he know how miserable to be the people of war-defeated coutry being constantly beaten like this even after defeat?

OMG -- the "victim mentality" rationalization. Even though we started the war, and brought tragedy to millions of people in numerous countries over several decades, we shouldn't have to apologize, because we lost.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Jerseyboy, they DID apologise... several times. What's wrong, do you want them to get down on their knees as a nation and apologise? I really do wonder about the revenge mentality of some people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They have apologised, again and again.

There has never been an official apology by the Japanese government.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Many people are always saying Japan has apologised for its imperial war past, some even say many times, and enough, enough.

I been following these stories for several decades and even more closely since I've lived in Japan for more than two decades. Everytime someone talks about apology I have to go on line to find out which one they may be talking about.

My problem is this, there isn't a single apology about any event in the war which sticks in my mind and I can say that one was a good apology.

I'm only a second hand or maybe even a third hand victim of what happened in the war, but if I was an actual victim, someone living then and experiencing the brutality and horrors of the war, I wouldn't be happy with any of the apologies which I know about or read.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The difference between the apologies of the Germans and the Japanese is simply that the Germans actually meant

Ask any German about Nazis, Hitler, or killing Jews and they full admit how absolutely horrible and INEXCUSABLE it was.

In fact, there's been COUNTLESS movies made by Germans about how evil and horrible the Nazis were

Ask any Japanese about Nanjing, Unit 731 and you'll get "huh? Eh??

How many movies, made by Japanese, highlight the evils of Nanjing or Unit 731? Or Any semblance of culpability of WWII?

Saying insincere apologies and throwing printed money around is one thing, but showing SINCERE regret and shame is something else.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Zichi, I had a great uncle who was a POW in Burma... my Dad's uncle. I don't feel any anger towards the Japanese. My dad gets a bit miffed, but he's fought in other wars so has other demons running about his head. For me it was a long time ago... literally another age. We all know that even if every man, woman and child got down on their knees and apologised it wouldn't be enough.

Korea and China won't be happy until Japan has been destroyed by a massive earthquake and erased from the map by a mega tsunami. It's my feeling that as far as they're concerned Japan wasn't punished enough. It needs to be brought down, humiliated and destroyed... that's what I see as their prime motives. Some people feel the same about Germany... it was defeated, crushed, yet it's now the powerhouse of Europe, and a lot of people resent that. Same mentality as those who want to see Japan brought to heel.

Just my opinion... obviously.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sorry if I miss anybody, but gaijinfo, Zichi, Strangerland and Boweevil have the right of this.

And Boweevil especially took the words right out of my mouth. Individual Japanese politicians (which is not "Japan") don't need to make any more apologies, half-arsed or heartfelt. What is needed is one complete apology approved by the Diet, made even more solid by teaching clearly and without waffling the true and evil history of Japan's murderous rampage across East Asia.

As for the Germans, they are a bit too contrite sometimes. But its still the wiser position. I have had to remind Germans that they were not alive then and therefore bear no responsibility for the events of and surrounding WWII. But I still appreciate their knowledge of the events and discussion of them with no excuses or dodges. Japanese annoy the hell out of me with either their 1) ignorance or 2) attempts to justify. It just does not wash.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Thunderbird2,

Sorry but Japan has been absolutely dreadful in dealing with WWII, the constant howling from China Korea(s) & many more simply PROVES it. Vis a Vis Germany.............well its easy to see which country has done better with a really NASTY past, hint it AINT Japan............and that pains me because Japan is making the Japanese of TODAY! Pay for it STILL, & it looks to continue for eternity!

Japan has always had the power to stop all this but has consciously chosen to NOT DO SO.

Nobody expects perfection but Japan has botched all this so incredibly badly its painful to watch the continuous ineptitude of this country

Crushthem has summarized quite well.

Clearly this IS Japan's choice, to be sure China & the Korea(s) are off the charts stupid BUT BUT BUT Japan has allowed them to do this, while looking pretty stupid, BUT Japan continues to look much worse!

Its simply just the way it is, unless Japan decides to do whats right............the world still waits

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Thunderbird2

Zichi, I had a great uncle who was a POW in Burma... my Dad's uncle. I don't feel any anger towards the Japanese.

Well good but I'm not sure why you "fell anger toward the Japanese" and I certainly never have. Why would I, my wife is Japanese and I've lived here for more than 20 years. Just like living in any country, and I've lived in many, I don't agree with all aspects of the government or politics. I am ok with that and that's far more healthy than pretending to agree with everything.

My ancestors, "Wallace" even take me all the way back to Scotland so does that mean I would agree with everything there, heck no!

I had an uncle, brother of my mother who fought the imperial Japanese in Burma. He survived and never became a POW. But many of his buddies didn't. He came to our wedding. I had many school teachers who were Japanese POW and were tortured and suffered deeply.

Korea and China won't be happy until Japan has been destroyed by a massive earthquake and erased from the map by a mega tsunami.

Actually I don't believe that, even at government level. In the first six months of this year, Chinese tourism to this country increased by more than 80%.

Here in Kobe, I have Japanese, Chinese and Korean friends and we frequently go out together. An exhibition, dinner, concerts whatever. We all enjoy each others company.

If you think there's a single Japanese apology which "does the job" then please give a link because I can't find one, you know, an official apology from the government for all the bad stuff during the war.

I would also like politicians and leading public figures to stop trying to undermine the apologies sometimes even to the extend of denying the history. Difficult to move on while that is still happening.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

No, more apologies won't resolve anything. What Japan's political leaders could do, but probably never will, is the following: Frankly admit that, the feelings of individual Japanese notwithstanding, modern Japanese foreign policy has largely been guided by an elite-led, anti-Asian ideology that is deeply distasteful and unappealing to anybody who believes in the basic, unassailable equality of all human beings. You can't profess belief in human equality and then turn around and declare that the "un-Asian" Japanese did a better job of governing Korea and parts of China than the backward, indolent native peoples living there. You just can't do that.

This is a problem that is too deeply embedded in the psyche of Japan's Todai, Keio, and Waseda-educated elites for an apology to resolve. I've personally heard one such person exclaim (in Japanese) "But I thought Japan didn't lose the war to China!" in reaction to hearing that September 3 is commemorated in China as "Victory of War of Resistance Against Japan Day." Elite Japanese can stomach the Idea of having been defeated in war by white Americans, but apparently not by Asians (who did play a role, despite the insistent denials by some in Japan).

Again, I really think this is a bigger problem among elite Japanese compared to ordinary, working-class Japanese who are overall less inclined to buy into such ethnic supremacy BS. The problem, of course, is that elites dominate the Japanese government and bureaucracy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan needs to keep apologizing, making gestures of contrition and seek a fuller understanding of its shared past with Asia

The word "Asia" here is used too loosely considering the fact that we are talking only two countries in particular where their government use it as a political tool.

The fact of the matter is, the rest of the countries moved on so it's important that Japan works closely with those who are forward thinking and simply ignore the two.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It was 70 years ago. Get over it already!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@ProudJapanese

'This man is lucky Japan have free speech.'

Relatively speaking, and for the moment anyway. The press and what it is allowed to report on has become more restricted under Abe.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

MASSWIPE, good point about the hypothetical apology. I was mistaken to suggest the government apologize. The current government is not responsible and in no position to apologize. They just need to admit the history clearly with a statement, have the Diet approve it, then start teaching the truth to the children of this this country.

That way, when individual politicians start with their denials, we can all point out that the government holds a different position. We cannot do that now, and the government's actions, and the decisions of the courts as influenced by the government, show that the Japanese government thinks Japan at the time was no more wrong or evil than anybody else.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That true Bowevil. Recently I keep my eye on sly NHK and other news in Japan. That why I come this site

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ok, for all of you that feel that there needs to be one sincere national apology from the diet without any vagary or anything, what happens then? Do you think China and Korea will then accept this apology and everybody will be happy? Or does Japan then get hammered for reparations and accused of more atrocities? I agree with others posters who have stated that Japan has apologized and has made payments to both countries, they just have not been very good about promoting it. As for education, that continues to be a problem, and it must be taught in schools. But I hate it when people talk about the horrors that Japan perpetuated on the rest of Asia. Teach what happened honestly and openly, that will suffice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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