Modicum of remorse isn’t there

The recent visits of Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and other Cabinet ministers to Yasukuni Shrine defy common sense. At least one of the ministers said he was making the visit in both a private and public capacity, a blatant contradiction. It is hard to know why these visits are made when the government well knows they are provocative and likely to raise hackles in China and South Korea.

One hoped that the new Abe administration might lead Japan to turn over a new leaf, and try to rectify and apologize for its past errors and warlike activities. But no, it’s the same old jingoistic story of Japan’s chronic failure to embrace humility and its ingrained determination to rewrite history with dishonest disclaimers.

Japanese people seem to glory in dishonesty. The widespread act of dyeing their hair brown, red or other outlandish colors is one example; the habit that many aging men have of concealing their graying hair is another. Corporate financial scandals uncovered week after week are yet another. Japan will never gain the respect of the world community until it begins to address past issues with common sense and a modicum of sincere remorse.

gavin bantock
uranouchi, kochi

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.