Why shame Truman’s grandson?

Fujisawa, Kanagawa

Masami Ito’s Aug. 11 article, “Moment of truth for kin of A-bomb decision” was most interesting for the questions not asked:

Why, for instance, did Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki repeatedly ignore Allied surrender demands?

Why did the Japanese government only surrender after a second atomic bomb was dropped?

Why is the historical context of these tragedies usually omitted?

Instead, we read how Clifton Truman Daniel (the oldest grandson of U.S. President Harry Truman) was asked to justify his grandfather’s decision to drop the bombs.

Incidentally, another recent wartime anniversary somehow slipped by the Japanese media — the 75th anniversary of Japan’s incendiary bombings of Shanghai, a target more civilian in nature than were Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which included sites for bio-chem weapons programs and air bases from which Japan firebombed Asian cities.

One month after the atomic bombings, Japanese Foreign Minister Shigemitsu Mamoru stated, “I think we should make every effort to exploit the atomic bomb question in our propaganda.”

Over the past two decades in Japan, I’ve seen a pervasive culture of denial grow up regarding the nation’s wars. Recently I’ve seen Japanese men laughing about the few surviving “sex slaves,” calling them prostitutes who just want money from Japan.

Japanese Foreign Ministry officials recently visited New Jersey to try to persuade local officials to remove a monument that Korean American residents had erected in memory of the sex slaves.

If the goal of Japanese peace advocacy groups is indeed world peace, why not ask the Chinese and Koreans how they feel about Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Perhaps they are unaware how much the Japanese themselves suffered in their war. Such a dialogue would do far more for international understanding than publicly shaming the grandson of Harry Truman.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

donald feeney