The Obon festival celebrated on Aug. 15 in many parts of Japan marks the alleged release of ghosts from past mythical sufferings. The Aug. 15 anniversary of Japan's 1945 defeat also gives Japan's dwindling band of progressive TV program producers freedom to confront the ghosts of Japan's militaristic past. NHK excelled itself this year with three exposes.

One was on Tokyo's wartime willingness to sacrifice the entire Okinawan population, then seen as lacking in love for the Emperor, by dragging them into a guerrilla war against U.S. invaders.

Another focused on Tokyo's war-end surrender delays with a June 1945 offer by the United States of favorable surrender conditions (to head off a planned Soviet attack) being refused by the "fight to the bitter end" faction and by those with a naive belief that Moscow would act as intermediary to organize a favorable surrender (it was estimated that a further 600,000 died as a result of the three-month delay to final surrender).