Japan PM Voices Deep Regret Over WWII Suffering

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by ToughOmbre, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Saturday, August 15, 2009

    TOKYO — Japan's prime minister expressed deep regret over the suffering his country inflicted on Asian countries during World War II in a solemn ceremony Saturday that marked the 64th anniversary of Tokyo's surrender.

    Prime Minister Taro Aso joined some 4,800 bereaved families to pay respect to 3.1 million Japanese war dead — 2.3 million soldiers and 800,000 civilians — at the Nihon Budokan hall in Tokyo. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko also attended the ceremony, leading a one-minute silence at noon.

    "Our country inflicted tremendous damage and suffering on many countries, particularly people in Asia. As a representative of the Japanese people, I humbly express my remorse for the victims, along with deep regret," Aso said in a speech at the nationally televised ceremony.

    The prime minister vowed that Japan would never repeat the tragedy.

    Emperor Akihito — whose father Hirohito announced Japan's surrender in a radio broadcast on Aug. 15, 1945 — said he hoped Japan would never again wage a war.

    "I mourn for those who died in the war and pray for world peace and further development of Japan," the 75-year-old emperor said in a speech.

    Before the ceremony, Aso laid flowers at the secular Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery, where the remains of victims of World War II are laid to rest.

    The prime minister did not attend a controversial war shrine located near the national cemetery. Yasukuni Shrine honors 2.5 million Japanese soldiers who died in wars from the late 1800s until 1945, including convicted war criminals.

    Pacifists and the victims of Japanese aggression abhor Yasukuni as a glorification of past militarism and a symbol of Japan's conquest in Asia, including the invasion and occupation of China and Korea.

    From 2001 to 2006, then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni strained relations with China and South Korea, who denounced the act as a sign that Japan had failed to fully atone for invasions and atrocities.

    Koizumi again visited the Yasukuni Shrine on Saturday. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and some 40 lawmakers also went there. Of 17 ministers in Aso's Cabinet, only Consumer Affairs Minister Seiko Noda went to the shrine.

    At the shrine, 50 white doves were set free. Former war veterans peacefully marched.

    "The memory of the war is fading. So I am trying very hard to pass the story of our generation to the younger generation," said 82-year-old former naval officer Shiratake Kuribayashi.

    TO
     
  2. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Interesting piece
    Is 'expressing deep regret' the same as an apology? Just wondering what the Asian nations under wartime Japanese occupation will make of this
     
  3. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    It is pretty interesting but it makes me wonder. Is it relevant for somebody apolgize on behalf of a country for an event that occured before they and most of the citizens today were even alive?
     
  4. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Wuz wondering something along the same lines....genuine guilt (if so....why? Was he there? Did he make the policies? Did he personally bayonette someone?) or just a grab for some sympathetic Look-At-How-Humble-I-Am TV-time? Never met the guy myself, so I can't say for certain. But knowing how politicians in general tend to behave....I have my suspicions.
     
  5. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    You got to understand that if Japan doesn't express remorse every chance they get, the Chinese will criticize them for being warlike... its hard to understand from the "west" but their is a fair amount of tension between China, No Korea Japan... Japan has two openly hostile military powers in their backyard. You should read some of the stuff the "average guy from on-line China" has to say about Japan WW2. It seems to be a common misconception that the Japanese killed MORE people (in China) then the Nazi's, Stalin or Mao did to their respective victims...

    Ya, the regret thing might be politics...but its more a play for "international good neighbor" stuff, trade, diplomacy, ect....
     
  6. Ferdinand Foch

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    Well, at least they started for form an apology, though it might take another sixty years for that apology to finally happen. My only fear is that Japanese school children will get through school believing that that the atrocities the Japanese Army did in the 30's and 40's were nowhere near at bad as the rest of the world says they were. But that's just me.
     
  7. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I've heard estimates of about 10 million Chinese were killed during the course of the war. Most were acts that defies western logic, especially situations like Nanking.

    I don't really want to dive too deep into that, because the topic has the tendancy to become volitile.

    But I will say that in that part of the world, the Japanese and the Chinese have been at each other's throats for centuries. Especially when the long shadow of a powerful Chinese Empire loomed over Japan and Japan had to maintain a martial society that was tough and capable of defending themselves from more powerful enemies. Korea was caught in the middle of all this and have paid for it continously. The mindset (this has changed since the close of WWII) with the leaders was that the people were disposable and the people themselves were loyal to thier leaders, to the death...literally.

    In the midst of all this is thier code of honor, one of the reasons that enemy prisoners were abused, was because surrender was pne of the lowest forms of weakness there was. And this was also the reason why the Japanese rarely surrendered. For centuries, the Japanese and the Chinese waged wars to the death and the hapless civilians that got caught in the middle of it always paid dearly.

    WWII happened to be a very modern episode of an ancient way of life.
     
  8. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    GG, I completely agree with that statement.

    IMO, this attitude from leaders is not unique to Japan/China, et al. The English very much saw the lower ranks as 'cannon fodder'. I just think that the Japanese, not seeing surrender as an option, accepted this point of view for longer than other countries.
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    True, to the Japanese, surrender was an ultimate humiliation of not only themselves, but thier ancestors. When Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender on the radio, many committed suicide.
     
  10. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    Its an interesting subject to discuss... the USA herself has never really faced an unconditional surrender (I wonder how Americans would react?). The Vietnam war is still a very heated subject (35 years later) in the USA,...and in many ways the modern definitions of the "left" and "right" political party's was defined at this time. Before the 1960-1970's "left right"/ "conservative liberal" ment very different things....to be a "liberal" didn't mean you where a "peace-nick" and many conservatives where isolationist who thought our involvement in war was bad...
     
  11. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting post guys. Thanks for the article TO! I'll read these posts with interest.
     
  12. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    Ya know, theirs another way to look at this...at least the Japanese are admitting they did bad things...
     
  13. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Not for some ex-POW survivors. This is George Aspinall, who survived Changi and managed to bring back photographs of his ordeal. They and his recollections were published in a book called "Changi Photographer."

    I doubt that any apology or sentiments of regret will ever cut it for veterans like George.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't heard of Mr. Aspinall's sentiments before, but I don't find them unusual for a PTO vet. A large number of my family members served in the PTO (we have alot of German ancestry), and my Uncle Earl, who was in some terrible battles throughout the war, had a very deep hatred of the Japanese.
     
  15. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    Poor guy...sounds like it did a real number on his brain. It seems that the Japanese he encountered left a real deep scare on his emotions. He seems to have lost a 'normal' balance or perspective that most people have. I'd say a prayer for him but he'd probably spit it back at me. The Japanese military establishment really twisted the brains of a lot of people...even their own country men (like the guys who thought the war was still going in 1970's). Those guys where living the war for years after...
     
  16. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    When the USS Buffalo made port in Korea, the crew (including my brother) was told that it was rude to mention Japan or the Japanese in polite conversation because they are so hated there. They were told to call the Sea of Japan the East Sea to keep from making people mad.
     
  17. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    I can believe the history between Japan/China/Korea....kinda reminds me of the Middle East. Conflicts that have been ongoing for thousands of years are not going to be settled by a signature on a piece of paper aboard a battleship. The PTO was a horrible place to be, and atrocities were committed on ALL sides. However....committing an atrocity during the heat of battle is markedly different from having a policy that allowed atrocities to become the norm.
     
  18. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    Ya, except Japan not in Korea or China anymore...or Tibet (oops). :shock:
     
  19. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    They certainly did...

    [​IMG]
     
  20. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    The younger genorations cannot take the blame for previous ones if thats the case we should be anti italian/roman didnt they nail the son of god to a tree.
     
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