Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mad Rant: The Perpetual Apology of Japan

A few days ago, in some of my usual perusing of historic dates, I noticed that it was on April 22, 2005 that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized for the actions of his country during World War II. There should be nothing remarkable about that, except that, wait for any crisis or international dispute to come along, particularly any involving the (four) republican governments of Korea and China and one will invariably hear calls to this day for Japan to “apologize” for what happened during the Pacific War. Those unfamiliar with this little ritual might wonder how this could be as my opening sentence made mention of the Japanese prime minister apologizing in 2005, but wait, it gets better. Japanese prime ministers, various other government ministers and officials have apologized for the war literally dozens of times (if not more) from 1945 to today. The Showa Emperor even offered to apologize immediately after the war to the Allied supreme commander Douglas MacArthur but was refused. It doesn’t take a great deal of scholarly research to find all of this out. A simple internet search will show a number of (long) lists of all the apologies for the war made by the prime ministers of Japan. Yet, for some people, this is not enough and even in Japan it is becoming increasingly clear that it never will be enough.

The reasons “why” all the past apologies are deemed insufficient range from the verbally pedantic to the downright hysterical. Some say the wording has been wrong (yes, every time) even though, one would think, after so many apologies over so many years, each worded differently, the law of averages would compel one to have struck the right note at least once by now. Another is that the prime ministers have apologized personally but not “officially” as in, on behalf of Japan at large. This makes little sense because the prime ministers have stated that their apology was “official” at the time but also because the prime minister is the elected leader of the Japanese government. He occupies his position only because the country at large voted his party and/or the allies of it into power. Some have argued that any apology by the prime minister is insufficient but that it is HM the Emperor who should apologize, which is really ridiculous coming from countries that are all republics and who claim that a hereditary monarch can never be a legitimate representative of “the people” in the first place. Similarly, I have no doubt that if HM the Emperor did issue another formal apology (which has been offered, to Korea at least, if it would be accepted) the same crowd would probably say that His Majesty doesn’t represent the people or start arguing about the Emperor not “really” being the head of state and thus any apology from His Majesty is meaningless.

Another often cited reason is that, aside from the various leaders making the apologies, “the Japanese” themselves, “don’t really mean it”. This is where we start encountering hysteria. Yes, they actually claim to know what everyone in a given country is *thinking*! It sounds absurd, but no less so than the “evidence” cited for this. They point to the bombastic talk of the (miniscule) radical fringe or, more frequently, visits by state officials to the Yasukuni Shrine. This one really, really annoys me. One would think, from listening to the complaints from her republican neighbors, that Japan built the Yasukuni Shrine specifically to venerate war criminals. It is simply untrue as anyone should be able to see if they give it more than a mere second of serious thought. In the first place, I would object to any foreign country, government or even individual granting themselves power to decide where others can, in western terms, go to church. The spiritual beliefs and religious practices of Japanese prime ministers or any individual is the business of no one but themselves and that should be the end of it. In the case of Japan, however, it certainly is not and countries (like the bandit government in Peking) who pride themselves on their supposed non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries take a great interest in it.

In fact, just reflect on that for a moment; the same government which gets very, very touchy about anyone bringing up the massacres in Tibet or Tiananmen Square, because these were “internal matters” that are of no concern to foreigners does think that it is their business where the prime minister of Japan ‘goes to church’. Yasukuni Shrine, of course, is not a place that glorifies war criminals, it is a place to honor all of the deceased of Japan from all the wars the country has fought (or at least since the Meiji era). It is a place to remember all those who gave their lives for the Emperor. Yes, among those whose names have been listed there are a handful of men who were declared War Criminals by the Allied powers. That does not mean that every person who goes there is going there to honor those few people. That would be like saying that every time the President of the United States visits Arlington National Cemetery he is honoring U.S. generals buried there who slaughtered American Indians, Filipino rebels or who fought on the wrong side in the Civil War. I doubt anyone would believe that when President Obama goes to Arlington he is going to honor the memory of former Confederate General Joseph Wheeler who is buried there. It is an absurd line of thinking.

This does, however, point to another glaring inconsistency in the argument of the critics of Japan who like to seize on the visits by certain politicians to Yasukuni Shrine. Remember that many of these same critics say that no apology from any prime minister will be good enough, because they are not the head of state but that only an apology from HM the Emperor will do. Well, no reigning Emperor has ever visited Yasukuni Shrine since World War II. Why is it that a prime minister is too insignificant when making an apology but is suddenly extremely significant when he visits Yasukuni Shrine? However, as has been displayed numerous times, it does not take even so lofty a personage as the prime minister to set the critical lips to flapping. Certain prime ministers have practically begged all government officials not to visit the shrine but, Japan being a free country, anyone has a right to and all it takes is one minor functionary to enter Yasukuni Shrine for the apology brigade to fly into a foaming frenzy. It a perfect issue for them because, so long as freedom of worship exists in Japan, the government cannot stop people from visiting the shrine and so they have a natural spring for outrage that will never run dry and which can always be turned to at the necessary time.

There is, of course, a need that is served by these endless demands for perpetual apology from Japan. One is a never-ending demand for more money. Since the end of World War II, Japan has paid many, many billions of dollars (I would not be surprised if it were in the trillions by now) to the former Allies, to the families of Allied POW’s and civilians, to the countries of southeast Asia, Korea and China. There are still, of course, plenty of people who will say (honestly) that they never saw a penny but that is because of their own governments rather than the one in Tokyo. Vast sums in direct reparations and in “financial assistance” has been paid out by Japan over the years, but, of course, it never seems to be enough to comfort those countries demanding more apologies (invariably accompanied by a monetary donation as well). I also cannot help but notice that these countries, or those within them anyway, who claim to be so hurt and offended and outraged by Japanese attitudes are never quite so disgusted as to cut off trade with Japan or have their own economies hurt by refusing to do business with the island nation. Odd that. In the case of the Republic of China and the Republic of Korea the governments agreed to dismiss individual cases of reparations in return for lump sums of cash paid directly to them (China wanted it to fight the communists) which Japan agreed to only to have subsequent governments refuse to honor the agreements of their predecessors and demand more.

The ritual was performed again only recently (I saw it Monday, which set me off) when no less a figure than the Foreign Minister of the PRC criticized the Japanese government because a few officials had gone to the Yasukuni Shrine and because Prime Minister Abe donated some money to the shrine. She said that things would never be normal until Japan “faced up” to its history of aggression. This is so disgustingly infuriating, especially when being espoused in self-righteous tones by a member of the same political party whose dictatorship has cost the lives of tens of millions of people (more than all Japanese “war criminals” combined in fact, even if going by the astronomical numbers the Chinese themselves cite). The “great” thing about saying Japan has to “face up” to its past actions is that no one can measure such a vague demand. No one can ever say when that has been accomplished. In other words, no matter what Japan does, the PRC can still say it isn’t enough. And, of course, it never will be enough because it is far too useful to the bandit government in Peking to use as a tool of distraction, as a way of rallying national unity behind the dictatorship and to isolate Japan on the world stage by portraying them as the perpetual villains and China as the perpetual victim. Yes, according to the Red Chinese, the country that actually has it written into their constitution that they can never go to war, is the bully and the country with an army of millions, the largest air force on earth and a huge nuclear arsenal is the innocent, put upon victim. Rich. And so the lies go on. In the same broadcast I watched on CCTV they actually said that Yasukuni Shrine was a place that honored war criminals -and I’m sure plenty of morons out there in TV zombie-land believed them.

Japan, of course, should put a stop to all apologies immediately. Personally, I think they should scrap their constitution and write a totally new one (themselves), re-arm and even develop their own nuclear arsenal since China and North Korea do but, don’t be alarmed, that is not about to happen. Contrary to what so many hysterical people seem to think Japan is nowhere near being a belligerent or “far-right” country. Far-right political parties have an electoral record ranging from zero to miniscule and the country is so politically correct even flying the national flag or singing the national anthem is considered controversial because it might offend the neighbors. However, it should be obvious to everyone by now (or at least those who choose to use their brains) that no apology and no amount of money in reparations will ever be enough for the critics. For crying out loud, they’re even starting to complain about Japanese textbooks! When foreign countries are able to tell you where you can and cannot worship and what you can and cannot teach your children, what part of your land belongs to them and what bits belong to you and what you can and cannot do to defend yourselves -that is when you know you are not an independent country. I never hear Japan complaining about Chinese textbooks (or “book” as they have one official curriculum for the whole country) that portray the mass murdering dictator Mao as a great hero.

The disgusting double-standard toward Japan on the part of her republican neighbors has to stop. The only thing more infuriating is the disgustingly large number of people who go along with such a transparent work of manipulation! Japan needs to stop apologizing, stop trying to appease and become a strong, independent country again with a healthy national pride. And there are a number of other countries in Europe and North America in particular that could stand to do the same. An apology never solved anything and no amount of money can ever undo what has already been done. Putting aside the complex situation prior to the war, all generations since the war have done nothing to anyone. They have been as peaceful as lambs and it is wrong to continue to vilify people and force them to pay for the actions of others. Personally, I never understood what good comes from an apology anyway. Japan should stand up for itself, stop offering apologies that are never going to be accepted and move forward. If the communists cannot get over the past, that is their problem and no one else’s. I am sick of the bullying that successful countries put up with from backward and savage regimes, I’m sick of the internal nitpicking and self-loathing that has crippled so many once proud nations and I am a very … Mad Monarchist.


  1. Many anti-communist Asians (Chinese, Korean, etc) don't agree with you about this. Just compare Japan to Germany, and we can see clearly why the former is forgiven but not the latter. Yasukuni shrine in Korean and Chinese eyes is like a church/temple/monument to Hitler in Jewish eyes. Do you also think that it's fine to have a shrine to Hitler in Germany that will be visited by government officials every year?

    1. No doubt, as there are many non-communist republicans in Asia who betrayed their own monarchs, history and traditions who I would certainly not agree with and who certainly wouldn't agree with me. President Rhee was anti-communist but he was still a republican usurper. Chiang Kai-shek was anti-communist but he was still a traitor to his emperor. I don't like the fact that he or Mao or Sun Yat-sen have huge temples in their honor where people go to worship them but that is their business.

      But your comment is a perfect example of what the anti-Japanese crowd does every time. Anyone who speaks out about Japan being treated unfairly and being subject to a gross double standard is immediately accused of being a Nazi or being a supporter of every horrible thing Japan ever did. It's stupid and painfully obvious. There is no similarity at all between what happened to the Chinese or Koreans and what happened to the Jews. Yasukuni Shrine is not dedicated to war criminals, or war in general as the Shinto religion says all killing is wrong.

      The Shrine honors everyone of every background who died in the service of the Emperor of Japan. There are names of people from Korea and Taiwan listed there as well and, in fact, some Chinese officials from Taiwan have gone there to honor them. Your twisted logic would be like saying that a monument to all German soldiers was a tribute to Hitler because Hitler had served in the German army or that anyone who visits a chapel dedicated to British war dead was honoring the soldiers who put Boers in concentration camps. It's stupid, it's gone on too long and enough is enough.

  2. Well said MM, well said. The sooner Japan stands up for herself and her traditions the better.

  3. I too wish Japan wuld rebuild itself. Its the great Tragedy of the Republican Era that basically American Ideals ( which, contrary to neocons actually formed the basic framework of the Communism they desopise) has been forced both from outside and from a small band of elites sot hat Nations have no Identity any more.

    The oly thing Japan can do to placate its critics is disband as a ntion, change its name, and become a Republic with a gagle of Lwyers who become legislators.

    heck, that almost happened anyway, and we're only fortinae that McCarthur didnt allow the usual Americanisation of conquered lands.

    Im rather tired of this nee Religion we seem to be following abotu Democracyandhumanrights.

    its rather depressing.


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