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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Anniversary of End of WWII

For John, BLUFA peaceful Japan is good for Asia, and the United States.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The end of World War II, VJ-Day is reckoned differently in different nations.  In some it is 14 August (or 15 August, accounting for the International Dateline) and in others it is 2 September, with the signing of the Surrender aboard the USS MISSOURI.  In the US it will be 2 September.  However, in Japan the annual apologies have been given.  Here is the report by Mr Jonathan Sobleaug, dateline 14 August, from The New York Times"Shinzo Abe Echoes Japan’s Past World War II Apologies but Adds None".  The sub-headline is "The Japanese prime minister delivered a statement on the 70th anniversary of the announcement of the country’s surrender in World War II, expressing “profound grief” at the loss of life."
TOKYO — Using the carefully chosen words that govern reckonings with Japan’s militarist past, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated his country’s official remorse for the catastrophe of World War II on Friday, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the war’s end.

In a nationally televised address, Mr. Abe described feelings of “profound grief” and offered “eternal, sincere condolences” for the dead.  He said Japan had inflicted “immeasurable damage and suffering” when it “took the wrong course and advanced along the road to war.”

But in a potentially contentious break with previous expressions of contrition by Japanese leaders, he did not offer a new apology of his own.

The decision, a product of months of deliberation, appeared calibrated to draw a line under what Mr. Abe and many Japanese see as an endless and enfeebling cycle of apologies for decades-old offenses.  But Mr. Abe sought to do so while still addressing lingering resentment in China and South Korea, nations that bore the brunt of Japan’s often brutal empire building in the first half of the 20th century.

Then there is the Emperor, who is still respected in Japan.  Here is a Wall Street Journal article on the Emperor's statement.  The reporters are Mssers Alexander Martin and Peter Landers.
TOKYO—Japanese Emperor Akihito expressed “deep remorse” over World War II at a memorial service, deviating from his customary script in what could be seen as a veiled reproach toward Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative policies.

For many years, the emperor had delivered a virtually identical address at the annual Aug. 15 service for the war dead.  But this year, marking the 70th anniversary of the war’s end, he made several additions, including the mention of remorse and a statement that Japan’s postwar prosperity rested on the people’s “earnest desire for the continuation of peace.”

The remarks Saturday came just 18 hours after Mr. Abe, in his own statement marking the anniversary, declined to deliver an explicit apology for the war in his own words, alluding instead to apologies issued by predecessors.  The prime minister also said he hoped future generations wouldn’t have to apologize.

The war-anniversary statements came in the middle of a vigorous debate in parliament over Mr. Abe’s push to expand the role of Japan’s armed forces by reinterpreting Japan’s postwar constitution.  A majority of voters oppose that move, according to polls.

An interesting question is how long will the rest of the world hold Japan down for its activities before 1945?  At the WSJ link is a chart of attitudes amongst various Asian and Western Pacific nations.  This question is a two edged sword, in that Japan has grown and prospered under its Constitution, renouncing war, and under the US Nuclear Umbrella.

Regards  —  Cliff

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