I must respectfully disagree with Yoshio Shimoji’s March 13 letter, “Few American casualties” (which was a reply to my March 6 letter (“Japan wouldn’t even save its own”). His facts are a bit off, but as only a brief reply is allowed here, I’ll provide the following outline:

(1) Japan was still fighting everywhere in early 1945, fiercely in Okinawa where civilians were carelessly put in harm’s way or forced to commit suicide. The fighting was still going on in China where civilians were still being murdered.

(2) Japanese air defense was weak, but it still put hundreds of planes in the air, especially in late 1944 and early 1945. And there were still 500 defense fighters in June/July, one of the reasons the United States switched to night bombing.

(3) The U.S. wanted the war ended not because they were losing civilians (sorry, there were more than 1,700 U.S. civilian casualties, not 10), but because the war was still horrible for too many, least of all the prisoners of war in Japan who were threatened with total extermination. Meanwhile, Asia was still suffering in 1945.

Again, Imperial Headquarters knew what was coming by mid-1944 but failed to act to protect some civilians until January 1945. Shimoji should be placing the blame for those “atrocities” squarely on the wartime leaders enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine.

james hughes
noda, chiba

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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