With regard to Timothy Bedwell’s letter, “Denier won’t let war wounds heal,” I’d like to add my two pence worth.
Bedwell is quite right to mention, sarcastically, that “everything Japan has ever done in its history was really just about it trying to be super-nice to someone.”
I also think it’s a great idea to enact an anti-denial law here about war crimes, but sadly I can’t see it happening while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his antiquated coterie remain in power. This is due to a fundamental difference between Germany and Japan in how war crimes were prosecuted.
In Germany, at Nuremberg, Adolf Hitler and many of the Nazi high command were already dead or missing. Thus it remained to those in command — many of whom were guilty of war crimes anyway — to take responsibility.
In Japan, on the other hand (as covered in the 2012 Hollywood film “Emperor”), the Emperor and other members of the Imperial family were exempt of responsibility for war crimes. This was considered necessary by American Gen. Douglas MacArthur to maintain stability in postwar Japan.
Whether that was or wasn’t the right decision, it remains a fact that the person in “whose name” the Pacific War was waged didn’t have to take responsibility of any kind for it. This gives license to people like Katsuto Momii of NHK, Abe, former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara and others to make their harmful revisionist statements
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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