Regarding Brigitte Duchemin’s May 2 letter, “Let go of the sorrow and anger,” I’d like to add my two pence worth.
First, she mentions that she and her family “suffered a great deal because of the war with Germany.” But there is no shrine in Germany comparable to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine. There have been no statements by German politicians that the Nuremberg Trials were the product of “victor’s justice” — as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said about the Tokyo trials recently.
There have been no statements by German politicians denying Nazi atrocities, and I dare say that if such a statement were to be made, the culprit would be hounded out of office. Not so in Japan, where the leaders of Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo, and even the prime minister, have made statements, without penalty, disputing the culpability of Japan for its actions in World War II.
Second, rather than place the fault with those who “keep asking for apologies,” I would place the fault with those who refuse to give them sincerely. True, some Japanese prime ministers have “apologized” since 1995. But statements by leaders of the aforementioned cities appear to belie statements of apology that have been made at an official level before. Thus the sincerity of Japan’s remorse for its WWII actions is placed in doubt, especially in light of the recent visits to Yasukuni by many politicians.
Since some convicted war criminals are enshrined at Yasukuni, if Japan’s leaders truly wish to show they have apologized sufficiently for the past, they must first embrace the concept of sincerity. Perhaps, then, life can truly “go on.”
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.