About Masamichi Yabuki’s Sept. 15 letter “Disturbing lack of regret by U.S.,” I admit that I am disturbed by some Japanese persistence in spinning history, and I would probably be angry if the U.S. government ever apologized for using atomic bombs on Japan. It might be said that although it was America that dropped the atomic bombs, if their use can be called a “war crime” then the possibility exists of calling it a war crime by the Japanese government against its own people for bringing the nation to that point, when their use was the only way of ending the atrocities of Japanese insanity.

You see, “regret” is a Lazy Susan. It turns both ways. This is how I tend to look at it. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were crimes by the Japanese government against its own people. I don’t blame America so much as I thank it for bringing that conflict to an emphatic end. Does that sound odd? There’s more than one kind of logic, and I suggest this conclusion is logical. Whether it’s reasonable or even accurate are different matters.

The war in the Pacific was a war that Japan started. It was total war. It was a war that Japan waged in a notoriously heinous and criminal fashion. It was a war that Japan stubbornly refused to give up long after its cause was lost. And it’s a war that Japan has habitually used typically Japanese “gray” or vague language to mute its responsibility for.

I suppose I ought to point out that in Western thinking, unlike in Asian thinking, “regret” does not constitute apology. An apology is when you say loud and clear, with a straight face and with genuine sincerity, “Yes, I did this thing. Yes it was wrong. Yes, I am responsible. Yes, I promise not to do it again.” Instead, what we get from the Japanese is “regret” for causing “trouble.” Frankly, that doesn’t cut it. Apologizing like this is not a bizarre national masochism like some Japanese conservatives and nationalists lament. It is a redeeming, purifying and intelligent homage to reality.

Japanese are still potentially very dangerous. Contrary to the accepted opinion that U.S. forces are based here less to protect Japan from Russia, China and North Korea by encompassing it under its nuclear umbrella than to protect itself from the Japanese. Those other things are also true, but they are only secondary.

But I could be wrong.


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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