Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Japanese Officials Honor War Criminals

The Japanese will never learn. Tyro Aso, the number two man behind Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, just went to the shrine to the Japanese war criminals responsible for World War II. These people turned Korean and Chinese women into "comfort women" who were used as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers. These men were responsible for the brutality of Japanese prison camps and for the Bataan Death March. These men engineered the rape of Nanjing, one of the most horrific slaughters of human beings in history.
Some of it goes back to MacArthur, who never made the Japanese face their history the way the Germans were forced to do. I taught in Germany in the 90s and there were still people who worried that the attitudes of the Nazis could return. On the other hand, I had a student in California, who was educated in Japan, who said to me that all the war crimes were lies against the Japanese people.
Why should Korea or China come to terms with the Japanese on island ownership? Why should the Japanese be allowed to sell cars and other products in China? Japan was an evil nation in World War II. The fact that they refuse to accept their own history makes the Chinese hate them. China is much more powerful than Japan these days. The Japanese can go along lying about their history, but they no longer have the power China possesses.
Incidents like the most recent visit to the Yasukani Shrine provide good reasons for the Chinese to continue to hate the Japanese people.

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