Regarding the March 4 article “Maehara apologizes to Aussie ex-POWs“: The apology by Japan’s foreign minister has been accepted by five Australian former prisoners of war in the manner in which it was extended, sincerely. It is a good step forward. It is, however, a shame to have missed the chance to put the sad history of the brutality perpetrated by Japan’s World War II government and army in an apology that was framed for Japan’s people to actually see.

Where were the television crews? If a Japanese minister opens a factory, TV crews are there, so where were they (last week)? To apologize behind closed doors just continues the suggestion that Japan is only half-sorry. Or maybe a quarter-sorry. Or not able to fully recognize the gravity and breadth of the brutality toward fellow human beings?

I hope not. Yet, the truth of the brutality that thousands of Allied servicemen suffered in the war is practically unknown among Japanese citizens.

This meeting of men from two countries was surely the time to say, out in the open, that Japan was wrong. In a sense of community and forgiveness, the Japanese prime minister needs to apologize for all the world to see.

The final step, of course, is to put the real history into Japanese textbooks as the most tangible way of saying sorry for the deeds of that generation.

pattie wright

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