Recognition as special victims

Regarding the July 31 AP article “Last surviving crew member of Enola Gay dead at 93“: On Aug. 13, a Japanese scholar provided his take on the outcome of World War II in The New York Times. It was triggered by the attention given to the death of the last survivor of the Enola Gay atomic bomb crew.

The scholar suggested that the Japanese be given special recognition as victims of a tragedy that was even bigger than the Holocaust. And he mentioned Nanking as another example of overblown significance in comparison with Hiroshima. No mention was made of any other Asian cities.

In the many articles published in The Japan Times on the occasion of the end of World War II nearly seven decades ago, it is odd to see how the war is remembered (or perhaps not remembered). Almost no mention is made of the rest of Asia, the biggest victim of all.

It’s true that millions of Japanese died during that period. Yet, coming from the initiators and responsible party in the deaths of perhaps 10 times as many unremembered Asians, there is something mightily askew about this worldview.

What of the recognition of the unidentified tens of millions of Asian nationals wiped from existence as a direct or indirect result of Japanese actions?

Is it really so surprising that many people, especially in Asia, puzzle over Japan’s worldview, which seems to overlook them in its valuation of humanity’s significance?

Now, Japan is on the brink of returning to military-player status, thanks to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s interpretation of the Constitution. It seems Japan has still not made real peace with its neighbors even after this long.

So, the question remains: Is Japan ready for remilitarization when the issues of more than 70 years ago remain unresolved?

david john
chikushino, fukuoka

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.