Friday, May 31, 2013

Japan Continues to Deny and Excuse Its War Crimes

I came across this item in The Economist:
The German government agreed to pay €772m ($1 billion) for the home care of Holocaust survivors throughout the world in an agreement with the Claims Conference, a Jewish fund for Nazi victims. The money will provide some 56,000 Holocaust survivors with nursing care, medication and social services.
It reminded me of two other things I've read recently, which pointed out how differently Germany and Japan have dealt with their crimes of the 1930s-40s.

Here's the mayor of a major city, Nagoya, denying (as so many Japanese continue to do) the Nanjing Massacre:
Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura stated this week that he continues to deny the Nanjing Massacre took place. He made the comment while speaking at a mayoral election debate, referring to the historic event in 1937 when at least tens of thousands of Chinese were killed by the Japanese Imperial Army during their occupation. 
Mayor Kawamura’s latest statement over the massacre can be seen as a direct follow-up to the February 2012 blunder, when he told a Chinese delegation from Nanjing that he believed the incident had been made up, and that those who died were most likely killed in combat. 
And here's another big-city mayor, this one from Osaka, saying that Japan enslaving women for sex was perfectly okay:
Mr Hashimoto, the co-founder of the nationalist Japanese Restoration Party, which has a small presence in parliament, said enforced prostitution had been necessary to keep troops in line. 
"If you want them [troops fighting a war] to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary. Anyone can understand that."
It's hard to decide which is more disgusting -- the willful ignorance required to deny an event which has been so thoroughly documented; or the moral obtuseness involved in defending the clearly indefensible.

I think I'll go with moral obtuseness, though it's a close call.

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