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Japan Walks Back Official Whitewashing of War Record


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is having second thoughts about recanting his country’s apology for crimes committed in World War Two. Abe recently suggested that Japan might not have been the aggressor during the war due to the fact that “invasion” is a subjective term. Fortunately, saner voices have prevailed in the Prime Minister’s office. The NYT reports:

“The Japanese government has accepted the facts of history in a spirit of humility, expressed once again our feelings of deep remorse and our heartfelt apology,” Mr. Kishida, the foreign minister, said on Tuesday. “Prime Minister Abe shares that view.”

According to the NYT, US warnings of fallout with Japan played no small part in Mr. Abe’s reconsideration. With North Korea in the midst of a series of hysterical fits and China deploying an aggressive regional foreign policy, Japan wants all the support and confidence it can get from the US right now.

The attempts to deny, excuse, paper-over, or justify the war crimes Japan committed seven decades ago is easy for outsiders to scoff at. Nevertheless, finding a way to come to terms with the evils done by the Imperial Japanese Army is a very real dilemma for some in Japan today—much as it still is for many Turks regarding the Armenian Genocide, or even for some Germans and the Holocaust (and, we hasten to add, some Americans and the legacy of slavery).

What we hope those in Japan will eventually come to understand is that coming to terms with the past would help build up Japan’s legitimacy and international reputation, not tear it down. Few countries in the world have made such rapid and thorough transformations from conquered villain to peaceful and prosperous global power as has Japan. The day its people find a way to accept history rather than bury it or sanctify it will mark the start of an even brighter future.

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  • Corlyss Drinkard

    “recanting his country’s apology”
    What’s the point in having people who didn’t do anything apologize to people who didn’t suffer anything? So few of that generation are alive, it makes the act seem more theatrical than serious, something to confirm for the uberLeft their worst instincts concerning appearances.

    • Jim Luebke

      Agreed. Unless there’s a sense that the same sort of thing may happen again, what’s the point of wallowing in past wrongs, when present-day people weren’t involved?

  • Tim Godfrey

    What get lost in the western commentary is the the feeling among many Japanese that China and Korea are simply using WW2 as a political tool to attack Japan and that no amount of contriteness on Japan’s part will convince China and Korea to let the past be the past.

    This leads to push back from Japanese who feel that Japan needs to stand up to this bullying by China and Korea over this issue.

    Unfortunately, that push back raises alarm bells in the US and the EU which leads to the back peddling we see today.

  • Brendan Doran

    The point of it is leverage, mainly over the Western Left. The Koreans and Chinese may hate the Japanese, but it’s Western Leftist [Protestant] guilt that makes the past a lever.

    Ye Protestants really need to discover absolution.

    The Catholic mechanisms for both religion and I daresay rule were developed over more than 1500 years, we may have gotten something right.

    What’s funny is you’ve ended up right back with rule by Clerisy, but they have no God to offer you – The Left. No God and No Absolution.

    • Jim Luebke

      Protestants know Grace.

      Leftists, on the other hand, know very little.

      • Brendan Doran

        ah. There is a tendency in the Haunts of Reaction to refer at times to Progressives as Protestants. Which they are..sans grace, God, and Absolution.

        • Jim Luebke

          Haunts of Reaction?…

  • Stoaty Weasel

    Slavery was outlawed over 150 years ago, for crying out loud. Any legacy still being felt today is probably not really a legacy.

  • Lorenz Gude

    @google-e96a74601633b31da004f0c9186c5c74:disqus I think that’s right. America didn’t suffer under Japanese colonialism which was vicious indeed so we don’t see those dynamics.

    • Fred Baumann

      Well, yeah … America “didn’t suffer” if you don’t count the 100,000 dead and wounded “convincing” Japan to end its imperial expansion. One of those was my uncle, so I do count it. Our family always will.

      • Tom

        On the other hand, close to 100% of American civilians never got to experience the wonders of Japanese occupation, including but not limited to sex slavery, the kempeitai, and brutal economic exploitation.

      • John Morris

        Yes we paid a price. Now go Google the body count China racked up from Japan and perhaps you will understand why they might be even less willing to forgive and forget than you are.

        But at some point we all have to let it go. Otherwise we end up with endless recriminations, grudges, demands for endless ‘reparations’ from people who did nothing wrong to people who were not wronged. And if left to fester it leads to a fresh round of war and it all starts over again.

        Japan isn’t evil anymore, no more than America is defined by the less than glorious actions in our own past.

    • Tim Godfrey

      I think it is important contrast the Asian experience with Europe.

      In Europe the leadership decided it was in their best interest to forgive Germany so the EU project could move forward.

      In China and Korea they gain more benefit by making up excuses to refuse to forgive Japan (by undermining a competitor and rival).

      It is not a co-incidence that Greek leaders started complaining about the German war record when the crisis started.

      IOW – the body count in WW2 has absolutely nothing to do with the Chinese and Korean attitudes today. It a political consideration driven by the needs of the leadership today.

      Those of us in the west should recognize the crass politics and stop excusing China and Korea because they were victims of a regime that is dead and buried.

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