In her May 2 letter about the Yasukuni Shrine controversy, Brigitte Duchemin refers to the souls of the “Class-A war criminals” enshrined there.
Why are these men considered war criminals when the Americans who planned and executed the firebombing of civilians in Tokyo and the dropping of not one, but two, weapons of mass destruction on civilian centers are celebrated as heroes?
During the Nuremberg Trials, a successful defense employed by admirals of the German navy was to point out that the Allies used the same tactics they were being tried for. Since nothing the Allies had done could be considered a war crime, this defense was successful. A war crime therefore came to be defined as any tactic that the losing side employed that the Allies did not.
Does this mean that the so-called Yasukuni Class-A war criminals are innocent? Of course not. But their deeds could be said to pale in comparison to the barbarism committed against Japan by the American military.
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.