On August 14, 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered his long-awaited speech on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in Asia. In his speech, Abe said “Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and hearfelt apology for its actions during the war. … Such position articulated by the previous cabinets will remain unshakable into the future. … We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize.” However, for reasons explained below, because of what he didn’t say and some other things that he did say, his speech is completely unacceptable to try to put this part of history behind us.
Because Abe and other Japanese leaders have on so many occasions made comments that are contrary to previous personal apologies by other Japanese leaders (comments such as the Nanking Massacre was just the natural result of war or it was fabricated by the Chinese, the comfort women were paid prostitutes, etc.), his comment about accepting previous apologies is meaningless. Furthermore, none of these former apologies was issued by Japan’s highest organ of state power, its parliament. Unlike Germany, the Japanese government has rewritten this part of history in their textbooks, and there is no law in Japan that makes it illegal to deny publicly the massive atrocities committed by the Japanese military during WWII. In addition, his action of paying tribute at the Yasukuni Shrine where 14 convicted and executed Japanese Class A war-crime criminals are enshrined again makes his speech meaningless.
Abe also blamed Western colonization and economic policies to cause Japan to take “the wrong course and advanced along the road to war.” In other words, Japan was forced by other countries to launch its war of aggression and unimaginable scale of atrocity. Does this reflect a man with “feelings of deep remorse and hearfelt apology for its actions during the war”?
This is why Abe’s 8/14/15 statement is far from sufficient to put this part of history behind us.
For the complete text of Abe’s speech: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/15/world/asia/full-text-shinzo-abe-statement-japan-ww2-anniversary.html.
An important new website “10000 Cries for Justice” (or “一萬個正義的呼聲” in Chinese) was officially launched to the world in a press conference in Beijing on July 22, 2015. The URL for the bilingual website is www.10000cfj.org. To see the news release, click Chinese or English, respectively for the Chinese or English version.
The objective of the website is to create a digital archive of the written history from the Chinese victims of WWII crying for justice, and make available to the world these thousands of letters that Mr. Tong Zeng (童增) received 20+ years ago. This digital archive documenting the first-hand experience of the victims provides powerful evidence to refute all the false claims made by the Japanese government. It provides a powerful tool to learn from history. By finally resolving the long-overdue injustices, it will help to establish genuine friendship between the Japanese people and the Chinese people, and true peace between Japan and China, as well as other countries.
The following are 2 Chinese news media articles that came out on 7/22/15 reporting on that press conference:
* Media article 1: http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2015-07/22/c_1116010135.htm?from=groupmessage&isappinstalled=0
* Media article 2: http://www.chinanews.com/m/sh/2015/07-22/7421520.shtml?from=groupmessage&isappinstalled=0#fromapp
More information about the website can be found from the website itself: www.10000cfj.org.
The Kyushu University in Fukuoka recently displayed an exhibit of vivisection (operation on live humans without anesthesia) on American POWs in their new medical history museum. These are documents in their possession for decades, but never publicly revealed. The vivisection victims were eight American airmen shot down in 1945 from an American B-29 bomber. They were captured as POWs, and then were vivisected by the Japanese doctors at this medical school. The doctors killed the American POWs by injecting diluted seawater into their veins, removing their lungs or livers and performing other horrific experiments on their bodies to test their limits. To read more, click: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/04/04/national/new-kyushu-museum-breaks-taboo-with-pow-vivisection-display#.VclAq_lcBuk
The author of the article, Mr. George Koo, wrote “If you read Emperor Hirohito’s1945 surrender speech, you will have a better understanding of why the self-image of post-war Japan can be so vastly different from the view of Japan by others.” Koo wrote the ambiguity of Emperor’s concession “has allowed Japan to begin revising history. It’s as if denying all the brutalities committed in the past can exonerate the present from any collective guilt. Just the opposite is true. The people of Asia will continue to remind Japan until there is only one version of the tragic history of World War II.” You can read Mr. Koo’s full article at: http://atimes.com/2015/08/august-1945-japans-hirohito-conceded-he-did-not-surrender/
Nearly 200 Western historians have called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to address Japan’s history of colonial rule and wartime aggression, in a clear rebuke of a leader who has clashed with neighbors over historical issues.
Among the 187 historians were John Dower, emeritus professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Herbert Bix, emeritus professor at Binghamton University; and Ezra Vogel, a Harvard historian. Mr. Dower and Mr. Bix wrote “Embracing Defeat” and “Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan,” respectively. Both books won the Pulitzer Prize and are considered required reading for those studying Japan’s modern history.
Nineteen U.S.-based historians have protested attempts by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his administration to suppress statements in U.S. and Japanese history textbooks about the “comfort women” who suffered under a brutal system of sexual exploitation during World War II. … In November, the Foreign Ministry told the Japanese Consulate in New York to ask publisher McGraw-Hill for changes in “Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past,” its world history school textbook co-authored by historians Herbert Ziegler and Jerry Bentley. … McGraw-Hill rejected the ministry’s request, saying that the scholars are aligned behind the historical facts of the issue.
You can read the full article at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/09/national/u-s-historians-slam-abe-effort-to-change-textbook-dealing-with-comfort-women/#.VclOMflcBuk