The German city of Freiburg has decided not to erect a statue of a girl symbolizing “comfort women” after encountering strong opposition from its sister city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture (“German city drops Korean statue” in the Sept. 23 edition).

I’m writing this in Germany in a city about 150 km from Freiburg. My father was a foot soldier in World War II. I do not understand why Japanese feelings should be hurt by memorializing past war crimes. The past is the past and the present is the present. No one doubts that Japanese culture has changed during the past 70 years, just like German culture has.

Japan today is a country recognized for its culture, its economic achievements and its contribution to the world community in terms of peaceful self-restriction.

So if Japanese officials would have kept quiet, this statue would have been about war crimes, which have happened all over the world up to this day. If they had added a plaque saying “This was wrong and we do not want it to happen again anywhere in the world,” it would have been adding to the honor of the Japanese people.

Martin Maeschke

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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