Contrary to the apologetic spirit

With regard to Franz Pichler’s Feb. 6 letter, “Get on with a positive future,” I’d like to add my two-pence worth. Pichler hopes that “people in Europe gain some information before starting to judge the Japan of almost 70 years ago.” He also mentions that when China and Japan normalized relations, Japan “clearly” apologized.

On this point, he is correct. Compensation was indeed given to both China and South Korea. General apologies were given in 1993 and 1995 for Japan’s conduct regarding the coercion of sex slaves and other atrocities.

What he does not mention are the denials of war atrocities by leading Japanese politicians such as Shintaro Ishihara, Takashi Kawamura and Shinzo Abe. Similar sentiments have been expressed by NHK Chairman Katsuto Momii and two NHK board members, Naoki Hyakuta and Michiko Hasegawa.

What this shows is that despite all of the official apologies that have been made, a significant portion of Japan’s leadership still speak and behave contrary to the fact. Abe’s recent visit to Yasukuni Shrine, where the souls of 14 Class A war criminals are enshrined, is a case in point.

As for Pichler’s analogy with the “genocide” of the American Indians and the Australian aborigines, there is unlikely a politician in either the United States or Australia who could deny that these respective indigenous peoples were massacred at one time and then stay on the job. In Japan, though, it has been proven that a politician can deny war atrocities and keep his/her job.

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.