Regarding the Sept. 10 article “Lee says ‘true meaning’ of comments about emperor not conveyed to Japan“: South Korean President Lee Myung Bak’s clarified position is exactly true. Japanese people often, for the sake of national pride, do convey a propensity to defend or water down their history.
Having said that, Japan is seemingly called upon to defend its values, not because its atrocities were recent but because of denials in some quarters. A nation’s leader can apologize all he wants, but as long as the education system and people convey a different interpretation of events, any genuine respect is undermined.
It must start with Japanese people reproaching their nationalist counterparts, not with South Koreans doing so. This reproach would convey a respect for objectivity. The current situation highlights the collectivist in Japanese culture, but we might also reproach South Korea for the same collectivism. So, it’s a case of “the pot calling the kettle black.”
In the same context, there is no reason to think Koreans would have acted any differently at the time mentioned in the article. Were South Korean values any different from the North’s?
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.