China and Japan


China denounced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday for “provocative” remarks accusing Beijing of taking destablizing actions in contested Asian waters. Abe had opened the so-called Shangri-La Dialogue on Friday by urging countries to respect the rule of law, and apparent warning about what is being perceived as aggressive Chinese behavior in disputed areas of the South China and East China seas. (read more on japantimes.co.jp)

Former sex slaves gather in Tokyo to demand atonement
Six former “comfort women” joined an international meeting of activists in Tokyo to demand that Japan formally atone for the sexual slavery carried out in its wartime military brothels, an emotive legacy still haunting the country. The six women-from South Korea, the Phillipines and Indonesia and the daughter of another from China-also called Saturday for the government to provide official compensation to the comfort women, as they are euphemistically called by Japan. (read more on japantimes.co.jp)

As a woman, I deeply emphasize with all victims of sexual slavery and feel embarrassed that our government in Japan is still reluctant to acknowledge the fact and that is probably the only way for the victims to be able to move on and finally forgive the unimaginable. Unlike Germany, Japan has never really faced the history and taken responsibility for what the imperial Japanese army led by the former emperor had done to the innocent people in the neighboring countries. Although the Second World War ended in 1945, relations between Japan and China/South Korea have worsened over time as Japanese government failed to properly address the issue and since Japanese PM Shinzo Abe continues to take the revisionist’s approach to the history, things are getting worse. I am not sure what can be done to restore the trust and relations with the neighboring countries, but Japan will probably never fully recognize the crimes committed during the war due to the following reasons.

1) Shame : Japanese government is too ashamed to formally acknowledge the crimes committed during the war. The crimes the imperial Japanese army had committed during the wars will bring too much shame upon our ancestors and the citizens of Japan.

2) Emperor Hirohito: Historians and experts often compare the former Japanese Emperor Hirohito with Hitler from Nazi Germany. Although the emperor no longer holds the same level of authorities and power in Japan today, acknowledging the horrific crimes committed by the Japanese imperial army led by Emperor Hirohito would bring too much shame on the emperor family.

I am not an expert on history, so please feel free to add to the list. But going forward, what can Japan do to improve the Japan-China/South Korea relations? What they are seeking is an official apology in a written statement along with more financial compensations. Japan did offer an apology (sort of) and did offer financial compensations by setting up private funds for comfort women survivors. But what they are looking for is more explicit black and white apology and Japan is never going to do that due to the above reasons. Like I said, I am not a historian.

What we should never forget is that everybody was victims during the wars. My Japanese grandparents barely survived the unimaginable and they did not really want to talk about that while they were still around. 🙁 Yes Japan should offer a more explicit apology in a written statement because Japanese government still represents the past Japan. This will be an endless battle for China and South Korea, as Japan will not take a chance to bring shame upon the citizens of Japan and the emperor family.

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