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U.S. and Japanese apologies for war crimes could pave way for nuclear disarmament

Acknowledging responsibility for the atomic bombings and atrocities in Asia could serve as first steps toward a world free of nuclear arms

Special To The Japan Times

The following is a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama on behalf of eight organizations involved in anti-nuclear or peace movements in and around Hiroshima. None is associated with a political party.

Dear Mr. President,

I would be most grateful if you would kindly spare the time to read this letter.

When Her Excellency Ms. Caroline Kennedy, U.S. ambassador to Japan, visited Nagasaki city on Dec. 10, she toured the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park, and met A-bomb survivors. The ambassador called the visit a “deeply moving experience” and said that you, Mr. President, have “been working very hard” on the issue of nuclear disarmament.

Encouraged by her statements, the mayor of Hiroshima, Kazumi Matsui, and his counterpart in Nagasaki, Tomihisa Taue, visited the ambassador in Tokyo on Dec. 16, and invited you both to the peace memorial ceremonies of both cities on Aug. 6 and 9, 2014. Ten days after this visit, Mr. Matsui and Mr. Taue sent a joint letter to you through the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo making the same request.

We citizens of Hiroshima sincerely hope you will come. We also urge you to acknowledge that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 was a crime against humanity involving the indiscriminate mass killing of civilians. Accordingly, we urge you to offer an official apology to the victims of these war atrocities. We are convinced that an American apology is vital to achieve the abolishment of nuclear weapons. We also sincerely believe that doing so will increase pressure on the Japanese government to acknowledge its own war crimes of the 1940s.

Allow me to explain our reasoning.

On Aug. 9, 1945, President Harry Truman addressed the American people on the radio:

“The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians. But that attack is only a warning of things to come. If Japan does not surrender, . . . unfortunately, thousands of civilian lives will be lost. . . .

“Having found the bomb, we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare.” (Emphasis added.)

Truman justified the act of instantly and indiscriminately killing an estimated 70,000-80,000 citizens with the ironic excuse that he was trying to avoid killing civilians. This justification was further inflated with the 1947 claim that using the bomb had saved the lives of 1 million people, and helped end the war. Even today, this myth is deeply rooted in the assumptions of most Americans.

Truman’s explanation that the atomic bombing was a retaliatory attack against the Japanese military’s numerous war crimes — which we acknowledge took place — betrayed his complete lack of awareness that his order was itself one of the gravest war crimes in human history. Retaliating against a criminal act with another criminal act is never acceptable.

The U.S. government has persistently used this justification to defend the use of the atomic bombs. However, as conclusively demonstrated in scholarly literature, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not decisive in ending the war. This argument was a myth, tacitly endorsed by the Japanese government for self-serving reasons. Yet even if the myth were true, no historical or political justification can legitimize the mass indiscriminate killing of civilians.

For 15 long years, Japan embarked on a war of aggression in Asia and, long after it became clear that defeat was inevitable, refused to surrender. In our view, therefore, Japan’s government of the time and its leader, Emperor Hirohito, share together with the U.S. authorities the responsibility — both legal and moral — for the devastation caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Forced laborers sent from Japanese colonies such as Korea and Taiwan, and from occupied China and Southeast Asia, also became victims. The Japanese government unquestionably bears some moral responsibility toward these people, if not legal responsibility.

The Japanese government in 1945 emphasized the illegality of the two bombs and the devastation they caused, a tactic that allowed the Emperor and his advisers to avoid confronting their own record of war crimes. Immediately after the bombing of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, Tokyo sent a letter, signed by Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo, through the Swiss government, protesting the U.S. action. The letter asserted:

“It is the fundamental principle of international law in wartime that belligerents do not possess unlimited rights regarding the choice of the means of harming the enemy, and that we must not employ arms, projectiles or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering. They are each clearly defined by the Annex to the Hague Convention respecting the Law and Customs of War on Land, and by Article 22 and Article 23(e) of the Regulations respecting the Law and Customs of War on Land.”

The letter further condemned the United States:

“The indiscriminateness and cruelty of the bomb that the U.S. used this time far exceed those of poisonous gases and similar weapons, the use of which is prohibited because of these very qualities. The U.S. has ignored the fundamental principle of international law and humanity and has been widely conducting the indiscriminate bombing of the cities of our Empire, killing many children, women and old people, and burning and destroying shrines, schools, hospitals and private dwellings. Withal, they used a novel bomb, the power of which exceeds any existing weapons and projectiles in its indiscriminateness and cruelty. The use of such a weapon is a new crime against human culture.”

Undoubtedly, those who drafted the letter were familiar with international law. The letter sternly condemns not only the atomic bombings but also the air raids on other cities as indiscriminate mass killings in violation of international law (the Hague Convention). This was, however, the first and only protest letter the Japanese government ever issued on the atomic bombings.

On Aug. 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito stated in his Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War:

“The enemy has begun to employ a new and cruel bomb with incalculable power to damage and destroy many innocent lives. If we continue to fight, it would not only result in the ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but it would also lead to the total extinction of human civilization. This being the case, I am challenged to know how to save the millions of lives of you, my loyal subjects, and how to atone myself before the spirits of my heavenly imperial ancestors. This is why I have ordered acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Allied Powers.”

In other words, the rescript implied that due to the frighteningly brutal weapon that had been developed, continued war efforts could result not only in the annihilation of the Japanese nation, but also in the destruction of human civilization. The Emperor therefore agreed to unconditional surrender, and expressed concern for “our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia.”

Singling out the atomic bombings as the decisive factor in his decision to surrender allowed Hirohito to completely ignore the crimes committed by the Japanese military in its war of aggression across Asia and the Pacific, as well as the anti-Japanese resistance that was being waged across Asia. Not only that, he exploited the A-bomb damage to indirectly justify the “war to liberate Asia.”

Thus, the rescript articulated the myth that the atomic bombings alone forced Japan to surrender, which helped cultivate an exclusively victim mentality. The atomic bombings became a means to conceal not only the responsibility of the Emperor and other wartime leaders, but also that of the Japanese people for a war in the name of the Japanese Empire that cost tens of millions of lives throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Just as President Truman fabricated a myth to cover up his government’s responsibility for its grave war crimes, the Japanese government used the same A-bomb attacks to conceal its own war responsibility.

Prince Higashikuni, who on Aug. 16, 1945, was ordered by the Emperor to form a new Cabinet, stated that wartime Japan’s greatest mistake had been to neglect science and technology. Tamon Maeda, the new education minister, also said at his first press conference: “We lost to the enemy’s science. This was made clear by a single bomb dropped on Hiroshima.”

Thus, the new postwar Cabinet, too, disregarded war crimes on both sides. It attributed the defeat to narrow technological factors and began enthusiastically laying the groundwork for the development of science and technology, which, within a decade, would include atomic energy.

In 1955, five hibakusha from Hiroshima and Nagasaki filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government, seeking compensation for their losses. In the subsequent so-called Shimoda trial, the Japanese government made a complete about-face from its previous position, articulated in its protest letter against the atomic bombings 10 years earlier.

“The use of the atomic bomb hastened Japan’s surrender and consequently prevented belligerents on both sides from being injured or killed. . . . Examined objectively, no one can conclude whether or not the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki violated international law. Moreover, given that an international agreement to ban the use of nuclear weapons is yet to be formulated, we think that it is not possible to hastily define it illegal. . . . From the viewpoint of international law, war is fundamentally a situation in which a country is allowed to exercise all means deemed necessary to cause the enemy to surrender.”

When dealing with its own citizens, then, the Japanese government fully backed the United States’ justification for the atomic bombings. The ruling’s claim that in most cases it is permissible to use any method to win a war also conveniently served to justify Japan’s wartime acts.

The judgment in the Shimoda trial stated, however, that the atomic bombings were a clear violation of international law, citing several conventions. An International Peoples’ Tribunal in 2006 and 2007 also acknowledged the criminality of the atomic bombing of these two Japanese cities (www.k3.dion.ne.jp/~a-bomb/indexen.htm)

This history helps explain why today, again, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other politicians are intent on denying Japan’s war responsibility. Furthermore, on Dec. 26 last year, Abe violated Japan’s Constitution by visiting Yasukuni Shrine, where many deceased war criminals, including Gen. Hideki Tojo, are enshrined as gods. Needless to say, such actions are the prime source of the current serious diplomatic friction between Japan and many other nations, including China and South Korea. In our view, the origin lies in the Emperor’s Rescript on the Termination of the War.

In other words, because as a nation Japan does not openly recognize its wartime criminality or its own responsibility for those acts, it denies the illegality of similar crimes that the United States perpetrated against the Japanese people. Many in Japan are caught in a vicious cycle: Precisely because they do not thoroughly appreciate the criminality of the brutal acts the U.S. committed against them or pursue U.S. responsibility for those acts, they are incapable of considering the pain suffered by the victims (Allied POWs and Asian peoples) of their own crimes or the gravity of their responsibility for the crimes.

I apologize for this rather lengthy historical explanation, but here is our request in a nutshell:

We are most grateful for Ambassador Kennedy’s statements. However, we strongly believe that in order to abolish nuclear weapons, it is essential to recognize that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were crimes against humanity. One major reason that nuclear weapons have proliferated rather than been abolished in the nearly 70 years since that nuclear holocaust is that this fact has been ignored. We feel strongly that a contributing factor is the failure of the U.S. government to seriously scrutinize and act upon its responsibility for this criminal act.

The first vital step toward ensuring the abolition of nuclear weapons would be for you, Mr. President, as a Nobel Peace laureate, to courageously acknowledge that the acts your nation committed in August 1945 were crimes, and for you to offer an official apology to the victims. We are, of course, painfully aware of how politically difficult it would be for you to take such unprecedented action. However, we also recall your claim to “advocate for change” when you became president in 2009. We have no doubt that such courageous action would be a historic, epoch-making “change,” and would dramatically improve the prospects for nuclear disarmament across the globe.

Equally importantly, your action would force the Japanese government and politicians to consider their own responsibility. As you are aware, the Japanese government continues to create instability in Northeast Asia by denying its culpability for wartime atrocities. We believe that American acknowledgement of the criminal nature of the atomic bombing would lead to similar actions by Japan toward its Asian neighbor nations. Ultimately, this would contribute to peace in this region.

Thank you, Mr. President, for reading this letter.

Yours sincerely,

YUKI TANAKA

This letter was written on behalf of the Hiroshima Association for Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution; the Hiroshima Network for the Solution of Japan’s Military “Comfort Women” Issue; Peace Link for Hiroshima, Kure and Iwakuni; the North East Asia Information Center; the Hiroshima branch of the Civil Association for Supporting Korean A-Bomb Survivors; and the August 6 Hiroshima Peace Assembly. Foreign Agenda offers a forum for opinion on Thursdays. Please send all your comments and ideas to community@japantimes.co.jp.

  • phu

    This is absolutely ridiculous. I’ll get right to the main point: The premise is that an apology by the US government would somehow unavoidably compel the Japanese government to make a similar apology. Aside from the very obvious lack of any reason why this would be the case, are the authors aware that the US attempted and failed to do something so minor as preventing Abe from visiting Yasukuni? There is absolutely nothing to suggest this situation would result in anything different, particularly given the massively greater concession such a statement would be.

    Further, they appeal to Obama’s “Change” campaign, which anyone who’s watched his presidency should understand was a massive lie. The promised change did not come. We did, however, get change for the worse: More surveillance, more war, more excuses. And I don’t think you’ll find anyone but a left-wing polemic suggesting that Obama in any way deserved the Nobel peace prize he was given for something he TRIED to do, not anything he actually SUCCEEDED at.

    This is a ridiculously ill-conceived attempt to drag other nations into southeast Asia’s schoolyard “you apologize first!” politics, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t work. This could only possibly result in a lot of other demands for apologies, lawsuits due to government admission of guilt, and further muddying of the important issues the Japanese and other governments are desperately trying to avoid with these overblown PR anti-campaigns.

    If Japan had an interest in issuing an apology, it would do so, for its own beneift. Asking the US to prostrate itself on the assumption that this would somehow instantly compel Japanese contrition is asinine.

    • phu

      I also want to make the point, which I forgot to address in my first post, that the goal of “the abolition of nuclear weapons” is at best very, very naive. They’re horrible and terrifying, but Pandora’s box has been opened: We will never, ever be rid of them. The principles of their design and implementation are so widely known that there is simply no way to stop people from building more.

      It’s painful to accept this, but it’s a fact, and in its face the best we can hope for is a world free of nuclear -war-, not nuclear weapons. To this end we have “nuclear umbrellas” and MAD (mutually assured destruction). These are certainly not good things, but this is the world we live in, and failing to face these facts doesn’t make them go away.

  • Gene Rook

    LOL! War Crimes and crimes against humanity, let us actually
    determine what motivates “governments” to act, its people or
    international investors profits.

    WTO and globalization only benefit the international investors who
    profit from the exploration of nations, countries, populations, and
    individuals by means of extortion of assets.

    A war has been
    raging for millennia between the extortioners and the extorted and today
    the global investors do their best to dilute the global population to
    who is actually at fault for their current living conditions.

    The
    illusion of “terrorism” and the reality of terrorism is all too clear,
    those that are financed to become martyrs are the ignorant martyrs of
    those that actually benefit from the illusion.

    Does it terrorize
    you to: 1) see your government acting against your will, 2) to see your
    air, water, and ground polluted and becoming toxic, 3) to see your
    family homeless, penniless, without clothing or food, 4) to be taxed so
    as to support, build, or sponsor private interests and profit.

    Perhaps Terrorism does exist, but not in the way the media, government, or consciousness of the public acknowledges.

    Perhaps
    Terrorism is not limited to international corporately funded groups
    like the Taliban, or Al Qaeda; perhaps these terrorist have names and
    belong to groups like “the Carlyle group, Halliburton, the builderburg
    group, Shell, Standard Oil, the Dutch Bank, Chase Manhattan, or JP
    Morgan and Chase.

    Perhaps someday we will wage a war against the “real terrorist of our world” and win!

  • Ron NJ

    I really don’t know what to say – you want Obama to apologize for America bringing about a swift end to the war and sparing Japan the millions of deaths that would have resulted from an invasion of the home islands? And what of the ten-plus million projected casualties?

    It never fails to amaze me how the bombings are constantly held on to as some warped weapon to be used as ammunition for the victim complex of Japan. The Allies and the Axis were engaged in total war – the outcome of the Allies losing the war would have been the effective enslavement of the free peoples of the world, the only acceptable outcome was the complete destruction of the Axis powers; a white peace simply would not do, and as shown in Germany and Japan, nothing less than utter destruction would bring about their unconditional surrender.

    It is far too easy for people now to look back, the benefactors of the Allied victory, and say “this or that was wrong” – but at what point do you draw the line when the future of humanity is at stake? And what do you say to the many more millions of civilians who would have died had the alternative to the bombings, operations Coronet and Downfall, gone forward? “Hey, at least Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t bombed, sorry to all of you Japanese high schoolers trained to engage Allied landing forces with bamboo spears who would have been slaughtered; sorry to all of you innocent civilians who were subjected to so much propaganda by the Japanese government that, like the civilians in Okinawa, you were prepared to commit suicide; sorry to all of the millions of people who would have died as Allied forces invaded the archipelago and engaged the IJA units stationed in the home islands.” Would you even remember to shed a tear for people of Formosa who would have died in Coronet, for that matter?

    The narrowmindedness and constant refusal of critics to acknowledge that the best option for all involved was taken is simply bewildering to me.

  • Carmen Sterba

    As an American who has lived in Japan for 30 years and is a pacifist, I want to point out that it is not realistic for groups from Hiroshima to expect any president or prime minister of any nation to apologize. Instead, I want to encourage the Hiroshima groups of Japanese pacifists to meet face-to-face to make apologies to East Asians and Southeast Asians. Then, Hiroshima pacifists can meet with American pacifists (Quakers, etc.) and make your individual apologies to each other as an example. Not on a nation to nation level, but people to people. Pray for humility and forgiveness. It is realistic to hope to work together to reach better understanding of the past and plan for the future, but I think it has to start from individuals first, not government leaders first.

  • Robert cook

    Both Japan and Germany worked on Nukes but the US succeeded first. One can not imagine what the world would have been like if one of the other countries used the nuke first. Japan became an example of what a country can do after suffering such tragic humility, and thus a monument of peace and pacifism at least until recently. This letter implies however, that Japan would have been better off had the US gone in and further destroyed japan in a land invasion and further destroy their complex culture.

    • http://jonreinsch.wordpress.com/ Jon Reinsch

      The assumption that the only alternative to nuclear weapons was a land invasion is historically indefensible.

  • Johnny Seattle

    You reap what you sow. Karma.

  • pervertt

    So many words to explain a rather absurd piece of logic – you, the victor, apologise for your war crimes, and we, the loser, will then apologise for ours? On which planet does the letter writer live on? If you start a fight and end up with a bloody nose, you are hardly in any position to demand or expect an apology. I cannot imagine post-war Germans asking for an apology from Britain or America for the fire bombing of Dresden and Hamburg. The civilian population of these two German cities suffered horribly from the ‘de-housing’ campaign of Bomber Command and the USAF. But not a peep from the stoic Germans. They wisely realised that they were in no moral position to complain about their suffering when they had inflicted so much pain on others around them.

    What then should one make of the civilians who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Are they the innocent victims current day media portrays them to be, or was the atomic bombing of these two cities ‘wrong only by modern day standards’? (To paraphrase NHK chief Katsuto Momii.) I don’t pretend to have the right answer. All I know is that the citizens of these two cities took the hit on behalf of an entire nation, a nation that instigated war with its Asian neighbours, with America, with Britain and with Australia.

    It is silly to expect President Obama to apologise for a decision he did not make. If an apology is needed for closure, it is probably too late, because the request should have directed to the individuals who took Japan to war in the 1930s and 40s. Without their ill-considered military adventurism, Japan would have been spared the dubious honour of being the only country being subject to atomic bombs dropped in anger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Rothauser/692189125 David Rothauser

    Apologies for war crimes committed are naturally called for. But an
    apology is, as we say, “Talk is cheap.” What is needed beside a formal
    public apology is action. Ironically both Japan and the U.S. initiated a
    powerful action in 1946 that has stood the test of time – Article 9 of
    the Japanese constitution, which forbids Japan to ever again make war.
    Japan has lived in peace and prosperity for the past 67 years. Article 9
    is a far stronger action to motivate the abolition of nuclear weapons
    and world peace than superficial, meaningless apologies can ever be. Now
    there is a movement in America instigated by the Women’s International
    League for Peace and Freedom to bring a version of Article 9 as an
    amendment to the U.S. constitution. Cynics scoff and mock the idea of an
    America at peace. And looking at it myopically they have an argument.
    America has been by far the most warring nation since WWII. Yet, my
    fellow humans, look at it realistically. We live in the nuclear age.
    Every day the Left and Right Wing power brokers play nuclear roulette
    with our lives. Their commitment to war making and nuclear weapons is
    merely a cog in the wheel of addiction to power and greed. So deep is
    the power brokers’ addiction that their own families are rendered
    meaningless in the face of an impending nuclear apocalypse.

    Until
    recently peace movements in America and abroad have been, for the most
    part, reactionary. The military-industrial-complex is light years ahead
    in the study, development and practice of war making. But today, as
    more and more world citizens see the folly and destructive impulses of
    world hegemony, the leadership is beginning to change. In 1945 such an
    absurd idea as Article 9 could only have one home – Japan. Today Article 9 is offered as a banquet to world peace. See it, taste it, embrace it. Its real.

    • zer0_0zor0

      In a sense, America had already adopted such a posture when it changed the name of the “Department of War” to the “Department of Defense”.

      The underlying principle is that military force is only to be used for defense. The concept and scope of “defense” changed with the creation of the so-called “national security state” under Truman. That, in turn, was based on a false projection of communism as an implacable threat, giving rise to the Cold War, McCarthyism, etc.

      Another interesting aspect is how many times the USA has actually declared “war” since the name change mentioned above. Most large scale military deployments are made under the auspices of a police action. Note that the so-called “war on terror” represents a grave subversion of the concept that military force is only to be used for defense. It does so by appropriating the “national security state” model and projecting a threat in the terms of non-state actors against whom military action must be taken anywhere they are found. it might be the case that it instituted a defacto state of war over a much more comprehensive area than has ever been implemented in the history of the USA.

  • http://jonreinsch.wordpress.com/ Jon Reinsch

    The definitive study is “Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan” by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa.

    • Ron NJ

      Well, that’s it everyone, this guy just settled any discussion of the end of the war, pack it up and let’s all go home then! Give me a break. It’s not even close to “conclusively demonstrated” in the greater body of scholarly literature by a long shot, and certainly not because of a single historian’s book – or should we just accept Iris Chang’s account of Nanking if the bar is a single work by a single author? You’re proposing a very dangerous precedent for historiography here.

  • Roland Feit

    Being German and on a business trip in Japan last week, I had the opportunity to visit the a-bomb Museum in Hiroshima. In the museum is a wall showing the protest letters the Hiroshima Mayors wrote, whenever they get to know about another test of a nuclear bomb. Guess to whom 11 of the last 12 letters went?
    Mr. Obama.
    BTW: the one remaining went to North Korea.
    So: Cheers! To the winner of the noble price and the commity who donated it!
    Sorry for the sarcasm. From my perspective the question of guilt and responsibility and apologies misses the point. Today the end of WW II is about 70 years ago, the last eye witnesses of all the cruelties that happened on all sides and from all sides, unfortunately start to pass away.
    But the worst: the global community still hasn’t learned the lesson and apparently at least the Germans start to forget the lesson: war is never a solution! If it is nuclear, biologic, chemical or any other way. And I get a bitter taste in my mouth, if I see the developments in this respect around the world, but especially in my own country.
    This is where Japan and Germany share a catastrophic experience and why our two countries should stand up and contribute to a more peaceful world! With or without apologies from either side.

  • http://jonreinsch.wordpress.com/ Jon Reinsch

    I rather doubt that a statement by Hirohito for public consumption at the moment of defeat should be considered the final word on what actually brought about surrender. As to your question, given that the Occupation went so far as to discourage Hirohito from abdicating, and shielded him in the War Crimes Tribunal, I don’t see what harm if would have done to have provided some assurances as to the continuation of the imperial house. That, however, is only one of the alternatives that Truman rejected. It is astonishing how often popular discourse on this subject ignores the effect of the Soviet Union’s entry into the war.

  • KaiHarate

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki males were out partaking in the Imperial Japan war monster machine that was raining terror down and on nations that had a total population of nearly 2 billion people. Many victims of Hiroshima had to have had male family members at war and some atom bomb victims had to be working for Imperial Japan war machine that was killing millions upon millions of Asians along with scores of Aussies, Kiwis, Russians, Americans, Europeans, island people of South Pacific. Hiroshima residents got what their male family members dished out abroad. And just like people in America made the parts that made up the atom bombs and its delivery system, people in Hiroshima helped to manufacture the war machinery used by Imperial Japan. The people of Hiroshima contributed to the murder of tens of millions of innocent people. Fact. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be a ruthless bully then cry when the victim turns the table on the bully. In street language: “what goes, around comes around”. Asians call that “karma”. Jesus said, “You live by the sword, you’ll die by the sword”.

    It’s not necessary to hear China, Korea, etc., and their versions of things because Japan, just like Nazis, documented it all their atrocities so meticulously and archived it neatly and efficiently.

    America owes no apologies to Japan for anything. It never will and never should. Any American president that does, should be immediately impeached and removed from office. Committing to peace and no nukes is the ideal we all should strive to and hopefully America can take those steps. Apologizing for Hiroshima and Nagasaki isn’t something necessary at all to help achieve that goal. I love Japan and admire it in many many ways. But this topic I firmly would be in disagreement with most of my Japanese friends and many gaijin who seem to have been sold a Japanese version of World War 2. Japan was burned to the ground because they were horrific monsters to SouthEast Asia leading up to and during WW2…while also stabbing America in the back in a very cowardly and dishonorable way (yes…people like me…now and forever…will always immediately bring these points up swiftly and to the point should anyone ever try to rewrite history as Japan being a victim of anything but Japanese heartless arrogance and cruelty to others). Their own horror boomeranged around back at them. Hiroshima and Nagasaki men were part of a military that wreaked mayhem across half the globe against 2 billion people. Those cities were critical to Japan’s war success before they made their epicly foolish blunder to attack Pearl Harbor. They remained critical during direct fight with America and allies. They were not Paris or Amsterdam out of the war theater and suddenly attacked. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were working for the Death Star Japan before things boomeranged back on them in the form of an atom bomb. No atom bombs would have ever dropped had it not be for the arrogance and feeling of supremacy most Japanese held towards others. The origins of gaijin are not so “sugoi”.

    Those bombs came from the sky because Japan’s incredibly racist, arrogant, heartless beliefs towards anyone not of Japanese heritage gave them the justification to be without any human decency at all. Japan used its unique culture of hard work, and dedication to detail, to build a world power military. They were given no mercy because they showed none at all while using the full fury and force of their mighty military. They threw everything, and every cruelty they could think of, at the world…and the world hit back harder. Long before…decades before…those atom bombs fell out of the sky, Japan had murdered tens of millions civilians (completely innocent people). And they used air-dropped chemical warfare bombs upon major city populations well before anyone else ever did. They crossed a line never before crossed. Women, children, babies, grandparents, disabled, sick, helpless. Japan murdered tens of millions of them over many decades. Japan enslaved millions more into heartless, cruel, inhumane conscriptions to build out infrastructure to aid Imperial Japan. So many people died of starvation, hard labor, torture, cruelty while literally enslaved. 90% of all Japanese prisoners of war died. Most Japanese held prisoners lived and were given proper and honorable prison treatment. It’s a myth Japan was honorable. They had no honor at all just a code of samurai honor that applied to only them.

    These bombs were not acts of anger nor heartless acts as recent historians say (seeded in Japan and bait taken by quite a few around the world). At the time, the world (collectively) saw Japan and Germany as terrifying entities of evil that needed to be crushed once and for all. There was more than enough evidence to justify this feeling. It wasn’t an act of angry revenge as much as it was a desperation to try and end these entities to the point where they never again could harm anyone. There was justification for the decisions to bomb both cities. These two cities were war cities as were all of Japan’s cities. They helped kill tens of millions, enslave millions, and brought hundreds of millions into 3rd world poverty and starvation. The entire world rejoiced at the bombings. It wasn’t an American event. It was a world event like the moon landing. America may have done it, but the world was joined as one and celebrated as one. The world was relieved that these bombs put the foot on the throat of the dying monster for its final breath. Never again would Imperial Japan breath. It brought people around the world to their knees crying with joy and relief. 2 billion Asians could sleep at night knowing the beast next door was dead.

    Even in the horrible theater of war that every nation is susceptible to, Japan and Germany were unusually cruel, diabolical, senseless, heartless, and evil. Rarely mentioned is the fact that many men from Hiroshima were out in the world joining with Imperial Japanese brothers to cause mayhem, madness, and insanity upon hundreds of millions (in death but also just all the people cut up in/at/near it all). It matters not they were all forced to join. It matters not some did not want or choose war. It matters not some refused to partake in the cruelty. What matters is that Hiroshima and Nagasaki soldiers and civilians worked for a Death Star war machine that killed millions upon millions of completely innocent people who had nothing to do with military life or fighting. Their only crime was living in their home cities and towns watching Imperial Japan set upon them. Rarely, if ever, is that fact brought up when trying to recast Hiroshima as a victim of anything but Japan’s very own arrogance come back around to thump them horribly. The entire nation of Japan was a war machine. There had to be tens of thousands of Hiroshima men partaking in the horror that was Imperial Japan. There had to be hundreds of thousands of Hiroshima and Nagasaki civilians working for Imperial Japan’s heartless campaigns to invade, slaughter, burn, destroy, enslave in order to expand Japan and submit anyone in its way.

    The Nazis get all the Hollywood movies and western focus because many Jewish people wound up creating and running Hollywood entities. Japan should just be thankful that it wasn’t the Chinese who created Hollywood. The heartless cruelty of Japan was never properly told to the world and now we see recent attempts to see Japan as a victim of war. My goodness…the evil they unleashed for no reason at all other than supremacy ideals. Modern Japan deserves all the accolades it gets as well as the world respect it has earned. It changed after World War 2. Credit to Japan for taking what they had a reimagining it all into a great world country. I can’t think of any country I’d rather visit than Japan and if I had to choose one country to live other than my own it would be modern Japan. But Japan was as bad, if not worse, than Nazis (and that is saying a whole lot) leading up to and during World War 2. Any Japanese man who was in World War 2 did horrific things rarely seen in ruthless war theater (or they stood and watched so they’re not innocent of it). There’s no way to calculate how many millions upon millions that Japan cruelly murdered and hundreds of millions they left destitute and poverty stricken.

    (If you’re a young kid and in love with Japan? That’s terrific. I honestly mean it. I love it too. But take some time to learn in great detail what Imperial Japan did to others. I warn you…1) it may traumatize you for life if you stumble upon Japanese military videos they took proudly of their cruelties. 2) you may never be able to love Japan to the deep level you do now. So perhaps just enjoy this peaceful, wonderful, stressed out, modern, cool, harsh, stern, happy, focused Japan and just leave this debate to others and history…but don’t ever speak up about it until you’ve taken time to learn. It’s all there on internet and not too hard to find if you try.)

    I’m very sorry for the victims of these bombings. I’ve stood right at ground zero in Hiroshima and it is all a very powerful thing to think, “it happened right here”. But even as I stood there I had to comment to myself that most Hiroshima residents had male family members out there in the world in a blood-lust that rivaled the Nazis in cruelty and a lack of basic human decency. Most Hiroshima residents were working for Imperial War machine at that time. Hiroshima was not Paris. Paris was not contributing to military campaigns to invade and take over other nations. Paris was suddenly invaded by a madman for no reason at all other than rage. Hiroshima was not just minding its own business and suddenly attacked.

    And Imperial Japan went way beyond the usual horrors of war. Japan displayed a shocking lack of respect for human life that that boggles the mind when Japan’s very own documentation is pried up and shown. The fact that it received atom bombs should be a shock to know one who takes the time to learn what exactly Japan did to get this unfortunately distinction. You don’t need to hear the testimonials or evidence of Southeast Asians and others because Japan did it’s usual superb job of documenting it all. Japan’s earliest air force video shows their pilots throwing out chemical warfare bombs onto scurrying Chinese…long before atom bombs were thought feasible. Japan’s own military videos show endless atrocities. It’s just like the Nazis. Twins. Perhaps Nazis get a slight edge for insanity with their concentration camps and ovens. But it’s close…Japan thought of other insane things the Nazis did not.

    You almost could give Japan an excuse they went nuts and psychotic like some militaries do in war (America has done that) and just let it all get way out of control in the theater of war in a way nobody could have predicted or stopped in time. But no…that’s not what happened. With Japan and Germany it was premeditated, meticulously planned, and carried out with great efficiency…and documented by Japan and Germany in a way only impressive Japan and Germany can do with details.

    The nation of Japan needs to drop this whole notion they were a victim in any way, shape, or form. Hiroshima men were out killing in the most brutal of ways. Japan’s own documentation proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that Japan deserved anything that came back to them. Japan was very lucky to be allowed to be a country after World War 2. It was unusually merciful for a war power like America to lift up the 2 enemies it fought. And it was a twin monster the world had never seen (perhaps a few Roman emperors were as twisted and sick as Japan and Germany).

    I stop and think about it all sometimes and it makes it so hard to believe the Japan I know and love could be the children and grandchildren of all that. I don’t agree with China’s handling of all this emotion in the modern world, but I can understand the deep pain and anger that lingers. It wasn’t just a war that was won and lost. It was the level of epic cruelty that Japan poured onto anyone in their path. America, Europe, Russia, China…hearltess in war. Got it. I’ve got no problem with anyone criticism the Bush war machine, etc. Not saying they’re saints. But Bush and his gang look like saints and noblemen compared to Japan of old. NOBODY ever came close to Japan and Nazis in the detailed and planned out cruelty they showcased. Both nations were very very lucky to be allowed to continue as nations. They didn’t deserve it. Any revenge back at Japan and Germany pales in comparison to what they did in beginning it all. Do Japanese people not realize Japan stabbed America in the back to bait them into a war? Do they have any clue what Japan really did before and during World War 2? The world had a feeling that these two monsters (Japan and Germany) must never walk the earth again with any type of power so just burn it all to the ground and make it so they have zero power when all is said and done. It wasn’t done with hate, racism, heartless thinking. It was done to defeat pure evil that came very close to ruling the world. What if Japan and Germany had won? They came close. The horrors upon the world would still be with us. All the things that have happened since 1945, wouldn’t have.

    Even if the casualties and stories are 40% less than reported (and they’re not) that still makes it vomit inducing and repulsive what Japan did. Take out the fighting and the nasty war tactics for a minute. Just focus on the grotesque torture, experiments, executions, prison camps, death marches, slavery, sexual deviancy. Every Japanese solider should have been executed for either partaking or not giving their life to try to stop it.

    Hiroshima could have been so easily sparred just like Nagasaki had the arrogance of the emperor (literally…a god to all Japanese people) and his closets allies been put in check. They are responsible for EVERYTHING that came back to destroy Japan. Hiroshima happened because Hirohito allowed it and may have even encouraged it. His absolute refusal to surrender sent a very clear message to the world “you’re gonna have to wipe us off the earth in order to defeat us”. Back then, the world so the Japanese as irrational human beings not even showing basic common sense that any rational group of people would have. Their samara culture created war monsters. It’s just that simple. The absolute and total defeat of Imperial Japan was a necessary event. It has made the world a MUCH better place. Had Japan won the war, the samurai culture and it’s cruelty would have pervaded and spread. Japanese cruelty would have ruled half the globe. Japan and Germany would have carved up North and South America.

    If Hiroshima insists upon being a peace sanctuary and a place to advocate no weapons of mass destruction, let it erect a museum for all the victims that Japan cruelly victimized and let Japan publicly display in Hiroshima all their own documented cruelties and weapons of mass descriptions. Let the people of Hiroshima hold candlelight vigils and peace memorials for all the major cities Japan leveled to the ground. Let it have a museum called Nanjing. Let Hiroshima become a city where Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, and all the rest, can come and remember their ancestors and kin so cruelly taken out in World War 2 by Japan. Let Japan create a war memorial for Chinese and Koreans to visit and bow in front of.

    You can youtube pre-World War 2 videos of Japanese planes filming themselves bombing innocent people. Japanese were the first in the world to use weapons of mass destruction on major metropolitan cities. They sent havoc and mayhem from the sky to innocent people, in broad daylight, with weapons of mass destruction. It wasn’t just the usual explosives which they also used. It was chemical warfare that burned people alive, choked them off, made them vegetables. Gave them disease and die grotesquely. Japanese invented ALL of the cruelty that eventually came back to them. 10 years before Hiroshima all major Chinese cities had already known full well what cruelty the sky could bring.

    There’s only 2 nations that need to apologize for World War 2 (though their allies should stand by their side while doing it). Japan and Germany. They were about the most sick and twisted war powers the world had ever seen. Just disgusting. Any atrocity done since and before never surpassed and certainly not in sheer numbers. A hundred million people (maybe more) died as a direct result of Japan and Germany deciding they were super races above all and anyone in their path needn’t be shown a drop of mercy. They were Death Star and Darth Vader decades before the movie Star Wars. Many think it was just Germany that inspired Star Wars protagonist but it was also Japan

    I think Japanese should just shut up about World War 2. I can’t say it any more plainly and basic. No good can come of any Japanese trying to make Japan any type of victim in any way during World War 2. If blame is necessary, blame your own government and the families of those who led Japan during those days. It’s disgusting this article includes a quote from Hirohito that he insinuates at end of war that by surrendering he can save the world from heartless things such as atomic bombs. He’s the worst war criminal in human history and completely responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of foreigners and millions of Japanese. He killed more people than Hitler. The world, and history, will never see Japan as a victim in any way shape or form. As time goes on, it will be hard for historians to understand the mind of Japan during those years. Japan’s own detailed documentation of it all will make it easy for historians a thousand years from now to understand full well how Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. They won’t admire or respect the bombings, and will feel badly (as I honestly do) for the innocent victims of the bomb, but they’ll understand how it could come to be. They’ll see Hiroshima as just another senseless victim of Japan’s heartless cruelty. To put it in street language: what goes around, comes around.

    Don’t ever forget that Hiroshima and Nagasaki men were out in the world joining in on the mayhem of Imperial Japan. Don’t forget the victims at the hands of heartless Hiroshima men who partook in one of the world’s great war monsters the earth has ever seen. Maybe Hiroshima can research where the men of Hiroshima fought and track down the victims of the mayhem Japan was unleasing in those areas. Maybe using modern tech and internet, Hiroshima can create a memorial to commemorate the innocent victims living in the regions where Hiroshima military men served.

    Some day, death will give the victims Hiroshima a peace they’ll never find on earth. I do feel very sorry for them since the innocent are always savagely victimized by the arrogance of a few. Japan is the blame for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I love Japan and feel it’s a great nation. But it’s times like this when I understand the rage of my Chinese and Korean friends. Japan needs to just drop it. To use more street language: They need to shut the f*ck up when it comes to anything dealing with World War 2 and times that preceded it. They are very fortunate to be allowed to continue as a nation with all their land mass intact then giving hands up from America and Allies. They were the victim of an atomic bombing because they victimized in twisted and sick ways. End of story. Move on.

  • yusuke ito

    Japan should not dig up the atomic bomb issue now which won’t help at all. What’s past is past. It’s over. well everyone knows that Japan was a loser but is not a bad loser just like some other asian countries.

  • Patrick

    The USA is the only country to have used nuclear bombs on fellow humans, period. What else is there to say ?!