Current behavior is the problem

In his Aug. 1 letter, “Current behavior is what counts,” Peter Parisi says that “Japan has made more than adequate amends for its behavior.” This is true to the extent — beginning with the late Emperor Hirohito and followed by successive prime ministers, notably Kiichi Miyazawa, and Tomiichi Murayama — that apologies have been made. But if Japanese politicians are judged on their “current behavior,” they have been found singularly wanting.

Shinzo Abe, during his first stint as prime minister in 2007, denied that the sex slaves of World War II were coerced and, more recently, that Japan actually “invaded” China. Shintaro Ishihara, the former governor of Tokyo, sticks to his denial that the Imperial Japanese Army carried out the Nanjing Massacre in 1937. And let us not forget the Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s recent remarks, also denying that wartime sex slaves were coerced.

Such statements made by leaders in Japan, without penalty, would seem to nullify and water down attempts made by previous leaders to reconcile Japan with its neighbors. Until Japan elects leaders who are responsible in their actions and statements about sensitive aspects of the past, it cannot be truly said that “Japan has made more than adequate amends for its behavior.”

christopher glen
perth, australia

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.