I am writing to object to the minimal changes that Hisahiko Okasaki says he has had done to exhibits in the Yushukan war museum at Yasukuni Shrine. According to his Feb. 24 article, “Telling the truth at Yasukuni,” he says he will take responsibility for errors, but he doesn’t mention thoroughness.

I will offer a single example. One museum exhibit shows a copy of an order from the commanding officer of the USS Enterprise dated a few days before the attack on Pearl Harbor (1941), stating that the ship is operating on a war footing. The exhibit goes on to suggest that some ships, including the Enterprise, sailed from Pearl Harbor because American commanders knew that an attack was imminent. The clear implication is that other ships were deliberately left behind.

As a retired U.S. Navy captain, I want to assure you that if any senior commander knew that Pearl Harbor was about to be attacked, the harbor would have been empty of all seaworthy vessels and a maximum effort would have been exerted by the fleet and air force to thwart the attack.

I find the exhibit’s suggestion that U.S. Navy captains and admirals would sacrifice their ships and men for someone’s political agenda to be deeply insulting. I hope Okasaki will truly take responsibility by correcting this omission and apologize.

john self

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