Jeff Kingston’s review was simply one of the best essays published recently in The Japan Times. It addresses some of the issues facing Japan over its World War II-era atrocities. For nearly 20 years the public has been told by various Japanese leaders (mainly of the Liberal Democratic Party) that the Tojo Hideki government set out to “liberate” Asia from Western colonialism, when in fact the true intent of the Japanese militarists was to ruthlessly root out European and American imperialism across Asia and the Pacific and replace it with a brutal new world order that incorporated belief in Japan’s divine role in world affairs and the need to place “the eight corners of the world under a Japanese roof.”
Liberation was never Tojo’s intent. By 1944 it was clear to all those living under Japanese military authority that the old European colonial system had been far less oppressive. The slave laborers who died by the millions in Indonesia could hardly look upon the new Japanese regime as their “liberator.” Nor would the Koreans sent (abducted) to Japan by the thousands think of their new “colonial master” as a partner in prosperity. What absurdity. The sooner such myths are put to rest, the sooner Japan will begin to win greater trust in the Asian and Pacific community of nations.
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