Posted by: bklunk | March 8, 2007

And You Thought Denial Was A River in Egypt

In Germany, it is illegal to deny that the Holocaust took place. Do you agree with politics that Japan should behave more like Germany?

China wanting to reconcilled with Japan? « politics

As the controversy of the “war sex slaves” goes on, China wants the Japanese government to acknowledge that they have done something quite wrong. China wants to continue to settle past disputes with Japan. In doing so, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing wants Japan to accept their past mistakes, rather than denying it. The Chinese government wants to develop peaceful agreements with the Japanese government. They want to continue their normalization with one another. The two states had developed a peaceful contract with one another for roughly 35 years since the war. With all of this going on, Taiwan also wants Japan to apologize to all the enslaved women. The Japanese government needs to forget about all the pride that they have within themselves and confront their history.

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  1. This is a tough issue for both sides because both want to reconsile, but this is a serious issue they need to get over to truly make significant progress. More tension has arisen recently over this issue, especially after Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s denial about the so-called “comfort women,” and how they were forced to provide sexual services for the Japanese military during World War II, and that they were coerced to do so. This denial has once again heightened tensions in the region as I said above, not only with China but with Korea also, and the US Congress has also taken up the issue. This is tough because China, and Korea, want the truth to be acknowledged as they see it, but Japan not suprisingly wants to uphold respect for their soldiers. If Japan would simply just confront these mistakes things could do much more smoothly in this process, but I think it will be tough for the Japanese government and their people to admit their mistakes, because it is clearly an ugly situation. It will be very interesting to see how it plays out, but I hope for both countries sake they can admit their past faults in the name of progress, and not take a step back because of this issue.

  2. I also agree with the comment above mine.
    I think that this is a very sensitive subject for the Japanese to deal with. If they, which I think they should, acknowledge that they used these ‘comfort’ women and just apologized for their use it would look a lot better for them. And the apology to the women that were and may still be being used, would be greatly appreciated for those women and all women in Japan.
    But on the other hand, admitting to this, would be just that. They would be publicly be saying that they used these women for different purposes and the world would look down upon them. And the soldiers would look like horrible people.
    But this needs to be done, as well with Germany admitting their wrong doings. The US fully acknowledges that they killed thousands with the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII and did not deny that. It makes us look like murderers, but we admitted to it. Japan just needs to come out and admit their wrongdoings as well as Germany needs to acknowledge that the Holocaust happened.
    But again, it is a very delicate and sensitive subject for Japan.

  3. Admit wrongdoing?!? BRILLIANT! I think the world’s political climate would be much more friendly if more country’s were willing to admit their mistakes.

    If Japan were to acknowledge the mistake they made 35 years ago, I think it would bring a lot of closure to the victims who need it most. It would also be quite a powerful statement to other countries of the world; all of whom have made atrocious mistakes sometime in their past. Hopefully it would lead to other countries acknowledging their mistakes.

    I find it interesting that China, of all countries, is pointing their finger at Japan, demanding an apology. I understand that it was Chinese women who were made sex slaves, but it seems like a classic case of hypocrisy. China is known to be a leading country in human rights abuses. If Japan acknowledges their mistakes, will China follow their lead? It all seems a bit like a game of “Simon Says”. Countries need to step up and accept responsibility for their mistakes. Only then can they begin to heal and move forward.

  4. This is a really interesting question. Should a countries government apologize for its wrongdoing from over half a century ago. It seems at the very least there needs to be acknowledgement that the raping of thousands of women was sanctioned by the Japanese government. It’s understandable why the Japanese government would not be whole heartedly ready to step up and admit fault, especially since these are evidently still very open wounds. But, I also think these countries, and these women who were directly effected, cannot begin to heal until there is an acknowledgement what took place.

    I’m reminded of the Truth Commissions in South Africa, which were set up after the fall of the apartheid government. The purpose was for the stories of the victims and those who committed the crimes to be told before a council and documented. The perpetrators are not punished as long as they tell the truth about what occured. It was a resounding sucess, and helped the people of South Africa to heal and to begin to move on. Something like this may be beneficial both China and especially Japan, who seems to have a difficult time dealing with past atrocities committed under government watch.

    Japan may look bad for being a part of the raping of women, but they will look worse by pretending it never happened. Germany looked bad after World War II, but they took their punishment for their role. 60 years later, Germany has healed many of it their wounds, and are able to move on from their past.

  5. Eric Jorgensen
    Blog Response #6

    It is great news, in my opinion, that the Japanese and Chinese governments have been working to close the divide that has existed between them for at least a century. Many of us know the history behind the complicated relationship.

    Beginning in the 1920’s, a militaristic regime grabbed power in Japan and began seeking to expand the Japanese reach outward to other states, both for resources and raw power. That reach extended to China in 1933 when Japan invaded Manchuria, a northern Chinese province. As World War II began, Japan captured more and more Chinese territory. The Japanese were not, as this article indicates, pleasant occupiers. In addition to other atrocities, Japanese soldiers kidnapped hundreds of thousands of Korean and Chinese women for use as sex slaves.

    Modern-day Japan exhibits a complex attitude towards its war-time history. On the one hand, the society as a whole has largely rejected military force (due to its rewritten constitution) and prospered as a result. On the other, the Japanese have not readily acknowledged the fact that much of its military leadership during World War II were guilty of war crimes. Put simply, Japan needs to come to grips with the unpleasant parts of its past.

    I believe that states can have infinitely better relations with one another if they can admit to mistakes of the past. (The United States, for example, could benefit in Latin America if we apologized for past support of brutal dictators) Rather than being a sign of weakness, as the Japanese probably feel it would be, I believe that admitting mistakes and apologize shows strength.

  6. “Should a countries government apologize for its wrongdoing from over half a century ago?”

    As Japan is a country renown for not admitting to any wrongdoings, I can see this situation not being resolved in the fashion that China or other countries would prefer to see. The Japanese and their prideful government are not likely to admit to any of these accusations, although proven factual.

    However, I think that it would somewhat unrealistic for people and governments to reflect on every wrong doing committed towards a person or a group of people. Nevertheless, there should be some acknowledgment to China as well as other countries affected by Japan’s wrong doing in this situation.

    A human life is a delicate and precious thing, no matter who you, no matter where you are. Japan abused their power during this time, and participated in heinous crimes against the women of these Asian countries. It would be impossible to acknowledge every single person involved, but I think that it would only help Japan to admit to their wrongdoings in this situation.

    Ignoring the issue as I stated previously, is likely to be the outcome in this conflict between these countries. Should Japan agree to apologizing for these crimes, they probably will find someway to “save face” over the matter. Although the Japanese may not apologize, I believe that it may reflect positively on their government.

  7. Any victim of gross human rights abuses such as those mentioned here certainly deserves an apology. However, I think it would be important to question firstly, China’s motives (as well as Japan’s), and secondly how the recognition of these abuses would occur. My impression is that China’s foreign and domestic policies are more dependent in some ways upon critical pieces of information then foreign and domestic policy in many of the more democratized countries. In other words, it is possibly more necessary for China to spin such events as a potential Japanese apology in order to manufacture consent for Chinese policies. This may be one reason for Japan’s stubbornness. However, Japan is not totally without reliance on propagandized information either—to apologize may seem dishonorable to the current leadership. In any case, the apology is deserved, but it may be better to focus on building relations through current efforts rather than dwelling. I also mentioned the question of implementation. I am not sure what to think when I read of the illegality of denial of the holocaust. My first impression is that any enforced restriction of assertions such as this is illegitimate, yet with more thought, it seems that because of the magnitude this is necessary. To create a similar law for the Japanese incidents may prove excessively difficult and unnecessary at this point, if not only because the magnitude of the abuse is relatively less.

  8. There are two clear belief systems on this topic; the first is that there should be a freedom of thought and the second is that great atrocities when denied are an atrocity in them selves to the victims. It is difficult to decide either way; no one wants to say that denying something like the slavery of Chinese woman, or the holocaust for that mater, is an appropriate thing; in fact that denial could potentially cause even more problems in the victimized culture. However, in wanting to uphold the accountability of history few want to say that it is ok to limit the freedom of thought, especially from an American point of view where freedom is the end all be all value.
    How is this problem resolved then; history or freedom? An amalgamation of the two is in some way possible; the government of Japan, for example, could be required to recognize the atrocities they have done, but the Japanese people on the other hand could have the right to think what they want regardless of the “official” view of the state. This might seem like a weak response to the plea from China, but I feel it is the only way the issue could be adequately handled from both perspectives.

  9. I guess I just do not understand why it is Japan is experiencing such hardship when it comes to admitting their mistakes in the past. It is not that hard to just say that you are sorry and attempt to move on from there. It happened a long time ago I know, but there obviously is still tension and hurt from all that has occured there. I think that they shoud just bite it and say sorry. It would make things a whole lot easier if they did.

  10. While I agree with everyone that Japan should just admit to the mistakes they’ve made so that everyone can move on from this, I’m not surprised by their hesitation. I’m sure they feel the need to protect their citizens who committed these acts, and, even though right now China and Korea claim they only want Japan to admit what they did was wrong, I think it is legitimate for Japan to fear that there might be some kind of attempt at legal follow-up if they do publicly admit to using the “comfort women.” Also, while the U.S. and others have admitted to some of our wrongdoings in other countries, we have also overlooked some of them (our support of coups and dictators in Latin America that Eric pointed out, for one). Therefore, while I do think it would be in everyone’s best interest for Japan to admit to their mistakes so that those countries can reconcile, I don’t think we should be surprised by their hesitation.

  11. I agree that the right thing for Japan to do would be to admit what happened, but personally I do not see what would be accomplished. Unless Japan was willing to offer some sort of compensation, I do not thingk this will make any difference. I understand why Japan would be relectant, however, the entire world knows what happened in World War II so it only hurts them in the long run. It is a very sensitive issue for both sides, but unless some sort of compromise is made the issue will only get worse.

  12. I also agree in that this is a very sensitive subject to touch on, but I think its great that countries are finally taking responsibility for their actions, especially taking into consideration that they did wrong. I feel that the country accepting or even listening to the apology or even simply taking it into consideration is a big deal because it is expected that the one listening to the apology would either a) make it very difficult for the opposing country to be in the right or b) simply not accept it. Hopefully Japan can put their pride away and Chnia do the same, and maybe something can get done

  13. To apologize is a very humble action for anyone. It signifies you are taking the blame for the wrong you have committed. I find you raise an interesting question. Should a country apologize for something a different leadership did wrong especially after a long time?

    I understand the issues from both sides. From China’s side, an apology seems so simple that I don’t see why Japan will not give them that. They are such close neighbors and it seems to me their cultures are quite similar. Hopefully they can work something out. For the families of those women in Taiwan, Japan should apologize to mend their relationship. An apology could possibly help add closure.

    From Japan’s side of things, maybe they do not feel they should apologize because it was not them who committed the wrong act. They may feel China and Taiwan should just get over those things because they happened so long ago. Also, Japan could feel ashamed for what had happened. That’s probably part of it because that would explain why they deny it happened.

    If I were to pick a side, I feel Japan should recognize their past mistakes and confront them. I probably don’t understand enough about any of these countries history, but I hope things work out. Again they are all relatively close in space. Furthermore, an apology is not to much to ask for or give when necessary.

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