In his March 20 letter, “Worst lay ahead for much of Asia,” Paul de Vries again carps about how the white man was so much worse than the Japanese [during World War II]. I’d like to turn the question around and ask exactly what gives de Vries the right to lecture Chinese and other Asians from on high and tell them to forget their suffering at the hands of Japanese fascism.

It seems that, in de Vries’ eyes, the white victims of German fascism matter, while the nonwhite victims of Japan’s militarism do not. I can think of no more blatant “white man’s burden” attitude than this. The fascism of the 1930s was a global phenomenon of which Japan’s militarists were very much a part. The Nazis also considered themselves to be resisting Western imperialism.

Western imperialism’s being bad does not change the fact that fascism was worse, both in the way it treated subjugated peoples and in the way it repressed its own. Japan — along with Italy and Spain — has a fascist past that it has yet to face up to with sincerity. The fact that grandchildren of accused war criminals are prominent politicians in all three countries might be related to this.

jim makin

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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