It’s not clear whether the comment by Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, reported in the Aug. 17 Kyodo article “S. Korea blasts Noda’s war criminal remarks,” is aimed at the Japanese public or at other countries including the United States.
Either way, his comment won’t make a positive impression on people, especially those Japanese brooding over the past this month on the 66th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II. Noda reiterates his view that since Japan’s A-class war criminals are not “war criminals,” there is no merit in asking a prime minister not to visit Yasukuni Shrine (which memorializes the souls of Japan’s war dead).
It’s the worst logic I’ve ever heard — to treat the negation of a negation as if it were a fact of history.
I know, by experience with the Japanese, that the minister’s remark is not merely a passing one. It is deep-seated and may be backed by many like-minded people who do not respect the honest public proclamations that the Japanese have a nonviolent, humble desire to submit to Nature’s command, and not to the interests of ultra-rightwing conservatives who may not even be aware of what their thought is doing to the future of Japan.
A comment as thoughtless as Noda’s not only creates confusion among common people but also negates their efforts to rebuild Japan and their Hope in collective survival — without which the truth could fall prey, once again, to the collective madness of the superego and self-righteousness of the 1930s.
Japan needs an intellectual consistency with respect to the view of the Pacific War so that others may understand the Japanese, from generation to generation, without going through double-standard distinctions between the actual and the illusory or, say, between the false and formal unity of the people.
Wasn’t 50 years of “dictatorship” in the name of the Liberal Democratic Party long enough?
It’s time for the Japanese to awake from democratic illusions and work for a real democracy that cannot be cowed by the existing system of double standards.
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.
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