Military Review

Why Japan still has not repented ("Time", USA)

Why Japan still has not repented ("Time", USA)

Attentive observers know that the territorial disputes that Japan has with its neighbors are not really about fisheries, not about oil and gas reserves, or even about old ones. historical claims. Their essence lies in the fact that the Japanese are still - still! - do not admit that they were in any way wrong during the Second World War or during their long colonial rule in Asia.

At least, the neighbors of Japan think so. This explains why disputes with China and South Korea about islands of dubious value have become explosive confrontations. Armed ships from rival sides patrol the waters around the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu), which are controlled by Japan, but are claimed by China. Japan and South Korea are seriously quarreling over Dokdo Island (Takeshima), which is controlled by South Korea, but which Japan claims.

Researcher Thomas U. Berger (Thomas U. Berger) tried to explain why many people think that Japan did not repent of its past. Over half a century of Japanese military and colonial expansion, which ended in 1945, about 20 millions of people died and millions more were enslaved and harmed by oppression.

In his new book War, Guilt and Politics after World War II (“War, Guilt and Politics After World War II”), Berger argues that due to a number of cultural, political and geographical factors, as well as changing perceptions of justice are more difficult for the Japanese to apologize for past crimes than other societies. This is especially noticeable when compared with Germany, whose atrocities are superior to those of Japan, but which in general has long been reconciled with former victims.

Berger is a specialist in international relations and an associate professor at Boston University. He frequently visits Japan and now teaches at Keio University in Tokyo. This week I talked to Berger about his work by email. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

- Why did you decide to write this book?
- Before that, I had already studied the influence of historical issues on the defense and foreign policy of Germany and Japan. Therefore, when in the 1990-ies the controversy flared up about how Japan relates to its past, a number of my friends felt that it would be natural if I deal with this topic. I wrote a number of articles and thought that I could quickly make a book, but the process of working on it took almost 14 years.

- Why so long?
- Working on this topic, I was convinced that political scientists and politicians do not understand the driving forces of historical politics very well. I had to read a lot of materials from various areas in order to figure it out.

Do not forget about the subjective aspect. I talked a lot with my parents about their experiences. My mother lived in Germany during the war. She survived the bombing, lost many school friends and eventually lost home. My father was from Vienna. Although he was a Christian, because of his Jewish origin, he had to flee the country when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. Their experience helped me realize the realities of the time and how people tried to cope with the consequences of the war. I hope that this did not hurt my objectivity - and in my opinion, really, did not hurt. However, at a certain level, this project became for me deeply personal.

Perl Harbor

- What did you find out? Does Japan really remain as unrepentant as its neighbors say?
- Yes, but it's not that simple.

Japan, in fact, did not repent like Germany or other countries that recognized the dark sides of their past. She apologized for waging a war of aggression and oppressing her neighbors, but these excuses were awkward and clumsy, and in addition often ran counter to the revisionist statements of prominent Japanese politicians. She offered the victims relatively small compensation. And still there are no national museums or monuments recognizing Japanese aggression and Japanese atrocities.

However, Japan repented more than is commonly believed. The prime ministers repeatedly apologized for the atrocities of their country. Japan sponsored joint historical research projects with China and South Korea. Most of the Japanese school textbooks quite frankly talk about such things as the Nanking Massacre and the colonial oppression of the Koreans. Opinion polls show that most Japanese believe that Japan has something to apologize for in Asia.

“But why can't the Japanese just say,“ We ​​were wrong. ” Forgive us?
- Apologies are costly for the leaders of any country and require the investment of hefty political capital. They are usually brought in cases where there is confidence that they will be accepted and this will help advance the dialogue between the two parties. Therefore, most leaders avoid doing this for no good reason.

American readers remember how difficult it was for us to recognize the legacy of slavery and institutional racism. Problems such as the atomic bombing of Japan or the slaughter of insurgents in the Philippines are still not easy to raise even for those American politicians who generally perceive this as problems.

The problem is that China and Korea do not show great willingness to meet the conciliatory efforts of Japan, and as a result, these efforts usually come to naught.

- Is Japan to blame?
- No, a lot of the blame also lies on the Koreans and the Chinese. Koreans were not ready to help the Japanese seek reconciliation when the Japanese tried to do it. The most striking example is the Asian Women's Foundation, which the Korean government did not support and whose activities actually sabotaged by creating a separate competing support system for former comfort women. The situation was aggravated by the tendency of Korean politicians to make cheap political points at the expense of Japan — as President Lee Myung-bak did when he recently visited Tokdo / Taksimu.

There are good reasons to doubt that the Chinese are seriously seeking reconciliation. When Jiang Zemin visited Tokyo in 1998, he so rudely pointed out to the Japanese their past that they did not offer him written apologies similar to those received by South Korean President Kim Dae Jung (Kim Dae-jung ).

Chinese leaders prefer to keep a hard line in relations with Japan. This is especially evident when disagreements arise in the circles of the Chinese leadership. At a deeper level, this may be due to the doubts of the Chinese authorities in their legitimacy. Although Korean leaders are often unpopular, Koreans maintain their political system and are proud of its democratic institutions, but Chinese leaders are forced to speak in a nationalistic manner, also because skepticism is growing in the country towards one-party rule.

- Most other countries in Asia have decided to move on, isn’t it? Why do China and Korea behave differently? Maybe the fact is that there the occupation lasted longer or claimed more lives?
- In Indonesia, Vietnam and so on, many people also died. However, the countries of Southeast Asia as a whole showed a willingness to forgive the Japanese. In Taiwan, the Japanese were even longer than in Korea, but there is little or no anti-Japanese sentiment.

In my opinion, the key difference is related to the way modern nationalism was formed in these countries. In China and Korea, in many respects it was determined by the confrontation with Japan. In contrast, national identity in most countries of Southeast Asia was based on opposition to the old colonial powers — Holland in Indonesia, Britain in Malaysia, and the United States in the Philippines. The example of Taiwan is also indicative: the Taiwan movement for democracy focused on confronting mainland China - first with the nationalists and then with the CCP.

Senkaku Islands

- Ok, but what will happen next? In China, the leadership has changed, Shinzo Abe is likely to become the new prime minister of Japan this month, and elections are also taking place in South Korea. Does this change for the better?
“I am not very optimistic, at least in the short-term perspective - the next five years or so.”

There is a real chance that relations between Japan and South Korea may improve. These countries have strong common interests. They have many common values. Both of them are worthy democratic societies. In contrast to the past, the Japanese now respect the Koreans and even admire them, while confidence has returned to the Koreans, and they can afford to show more generosity to the former oppressors.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons to believe that the Abe administration will try to conduct a firm but conciliatory course towards China, but at the same time recoup the Koreans. Abe’s supporters seem to be thinking of disavowing Kono’s statement about “comfort women”. They can also take a number of other steps on historical issues that will look extremely provocative for South Korea. This will infuriate the Koreans and may cause retaliation on their part.

In the case of the Chinese, the difference between the interests of the parties, as well as between their pictures of the world is too great to allow for the desire for reconciliation. Even a comparative limited strategy to prevent excesses may not work. The new C administration is likely to focus on the Senkaku / Diaoyu problem. Perhaps China will even escalate tensions. Since China’s claims are based on a very specific and sharply critical historical concept for Japan, it is unlikely that the parties will be able to stifle nationalist passions that support the crisis in the East China Sea.

It is hoped that sober-minded people in all interested countries — perhaps with the informal help of the United States — will be able to convince governments not to incite passions to dangerous levels. However, the prospect of new unrest, diplomatic crises, and perhaps even armed clashes around disputed territories looks very real.

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  1. nokki
    nokki 17 December 2012 11: 24
    It is high time for Japan to be taught a "history lesson". These samurai only perceive strength. To knock a little with the "nuclear fist", and they will press their tail. For all their fanaticism, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they did not forget. And they remember that they are sailing on a fragile little boat shaken by earthquakes, called "Japanese Islands".
  2. alexng
    alexng 17 December 2012 11: 24
    Why not let the parties figure it out for themselves, but always striped mattresses need to poke their long and smelly nose into any process.
  3. Bykov.
    Bykov. 17 December 2012 11: 29
    Japan passed by Nuremberg, which is a pity.
    That shows off.
    Not punished criminal, feeling his impunity, begins to become impudent. But instead of an apology, we hear complaints. Perhaps they should remind them more often of who they were and what they did.
    1. Arkan
      Arkan 17 December 2012 14: 27
      Quote: Bulls.
      Japan passed by Nuremberg, which is a pity

      The Chinese have already hinted to Russia that it is necessary to "solve something" with Japan as with the only country of the Hitlerite axis that does not recognize the results of the Second World War.
      1. Bykov.
        Bykov. 17 December 2012 15: 45
        Quote: Arkan
        The Chinese have already hinted to Russia that it is necessary to "solve something" with Japan as with the only country of the Hitlerite axis that does not recognize the results of the Second World War.

        A link, can I? It would be interesting to read.
      2. Kaa
        Kaa 17 December 2012 18: 53
        Quote: Arkan
        with Japan it is necessary to "solve something" as with the only country of the Hitlerite axis that does not recognize the results of the Second World War.

        This is how they "repent":
        “There are many voices in Japan and abroad who say that the revision of the Constitution to rename the“ self-defense forces ”to the“ defense army ”will lead to the restoration of the military and sound like an overture to the revival of pre-war militarism in Japan. Yes, this cannot be. Historically, the Japanese the army never had the name “defense army.” Before the war, the army was called “the army of the Great Japanese Empire,” in newspapers and on the radio this name was shortened to “the imperial army.” In other words, it was the “army of the emperor.” The national defense army, which early or it should appear later, will not become a repetition of the past. And it is unlikely to be "self-defense forces" with a difficult to understand meaning that needs explanation both in Japan and in other countries, without monstrous interpretations on the part of the government. I devoted 26 years of my life service in the self-defense forces, and my heart is filled with joy from the fact that the self-defense forces themselves, having passed through the heat and cold, were able to become loved by their compatriots amy. But ... Almost 70 years have passed since the war. Our country has long abandoned the militarized system, it should become an "ordinary country" that could take the necessary measures against aggressor countries such as North Korea. To do this, you need to throw off the old skin of the "self-defense forces", which needs justification, and change the country's military structure to a "national defense army", which is an international norm. " The author is Honored Professor of the National Defense Academy Masamori Sase.
        Why do they "repent"? At least for that?
        In July 1937, the so-called incident on the Marco Polo Bridge led to the second battle for Shanghai, which the Japanese military could hardly solve in their favor only in November. After this victory, Japanese troops headed up the river toward Nanjing. On December 8, Nanjing was surrounded, and after intensive bombing on December 13, its occupation began. Before that, the Chinese city defenders hastily began to leave Nanjing. During the Tokyo trials of 1946-1948, which examined war crimes, the International Military Tribunal (for the Far East) came to the conclusion that in the next six weeks after the Japanese entered Nanjing, about 200 thousand civilians and prisoners of war were killed. About 20 thousand women were victims of rape. Chinese sources say other figures - more than 300 thousand victims.
        The international research project Third World War II reconstructed the Nanjing massacre using eyewitness accounts of those events. “Marauding Japanese soldiers cut off women's breasts, nailed children to the wall, or roasted them over an open fire. They forced fathers to rape their own daughters and castrated Chinese men. They took off the skin from still alive prisoners and hung the Chinese by the tongue. ” The project recalls a Japanese veteran: “It usually happened that after a gang rape, a young woman was put a bottle in her vagina and killed it, breaking the bottle.” Later, Japanese officers referred on the order of Emperor Hirohito, according to which prisoners of war became the prey of local commanders. “Do not take prisoners” - that was the motto.
        Of course, something must and must be decided ...
        1. Sergh
          Sergh 17 December 2012 21: 40
          Quote: Kaa
          This is how they "repent":

          1. Kaa
            Kaa 17 December 2012 21: 43
            Quote: Sergh

            And about this it would be nice HippoUS State Department ask am
            1. Sergh
              Sergh 17 December 2012 21: 54
              Quote: Kaa
              And about this, a Hippo would be nice

              Yeah, they were forbidden to raise the topic of Detachment 731 at a military tribunal, although the historian proves below that he took part in this tribunal and heard everything about everyone, they gave him a degree.
              1. Kaa
                Kaa 17 December 2012 22: 17
                Quote: Sergh
                the topic of Detachment 731 was generally forbidden to raise

                Well, part of the nonhumans from this detachment in Krasnogorsk until 1956 was found in camp 27. They tried ... with all their strength and tendons:
                "The Germans and the Japanese were chosen as the main competitors. In the" labor competition "of prisoners of war from Krasnogorsk camp No. 27, held in the IV quarter of 1947" in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution under the slogan "Let's respond to the slander of world reaction by increasing labor productivity "The Japanese sector won the championship, fulfilling the norms by an average of 168%. The Germans lagged behind them by 1,4%." By analogy with the Stakhanov movement, in the camps of the UPVI of the NKVD of the USSR among the German prisoners of war, the so-called Genekov movement of labor shock workers was deployed (named after the coal miner from Germany Adolf Genecke (Neppeske), who set a record coal production - author's note) and the Hiratsuka movement - among Japanese prisoners of war ... In the summer of 1949, there were up to 27 activists of the Genecke movement in camp No. 600. "Geneki" fulfilled production targets by 200-300%. One of the variants of the translation into Russian of Japanese “Hello” sounds like this: “We got up early and will be the first!” Germans and Romanians, Austrians and Poles, Dutch and Koreans left the Krasnogorsk camp with different feelings. Many have written reviews and thanks. I would like to cite one of such letters from Japanese prisoners, preserving all stylistic and grammatical features. The letter is called "Hello, goodbye": "Today we are orderlies and doctors of the Japanese army with a hedgehog to our homeland with the permission of your beginning. We worked as doctors in your USSR in a very pleasant and interesting way. On goodbye, we sincerely thank you for being this month. Your Soviet army showed us love for the treatment of the sick and treated us very amicably. We wish you well. Bye. 30.11.1948/1/9. "Http: //xn--h1adhXNUMXa.xn--pXNUMXai/history/town/index.php? Action = show & razde
                l = 4 & pageid = 11
  4. Yeraz
    Yeraz 17 December 2012 12: 06
    3 small pebble this is Senkaku Islands ??)) I represented them at least ten times more)))
    1. kagorta
      kagorta 17 December 2012 12: 54
      But the EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE is a strip of open sea adjacent to the territory with a width of 200 nautical miles, in which only the coastal state has the right to establish a special legal regime provided for by the UN Convention.
    2. Kaa
      Kaa 17 December 2012 21: 45
      Quote: Yeraz
      Is this Senkaku Island ??

      Really ... how much noise because of such ... some laughing
      1. Sergh
        Sergh 17 December 2012 22: 06
        Quote: Kaa
        how much noise because of this ...

        Indeed, even with all the Chinese, Koreans, etc., they cross over the islands, not only attack the Russians with the Kuril Islands. Let grief be grabbed.
    3. Bykov.
      Bykov. 18 December 2012 04: 53
      Quote: Yeraz
      3 small pebble this is Senkaku Islands ??)) I represented them at least ten times more)))

      Around "these pebbles," not long ago they discovered deposits rich in oil and gas.
      After these discoveries, the whole "kipesh" began, and also marine biological resources.
  5. Gorchakov
    Gorchakov 17 December 2012 12: 14
    It is precisely with the provocative provocation of Japan that Japan pursues this policy ... Where is the USA, there will certainly be a conflict .... Where did you see sane American politicians? Article US-Jewish provocateur .... And according to this -....
    1. mda
      mda 17 December 2012 16: 50
      Quote: Gorchakov
      .Where have you seen sane American politicians?

      The first was ... Roosevelt. At the same time, the last
  6. Bubo
    Bubo 17 December 2012 12: 21
    In addition, by virtue of character, I do not remember that the Japanese generally apologized for anything. They have such a mentality. Although it is necessary to give them due memory, they have a good memory, you cannot write off for forgetfulness, not apologizing in time.
    I remember about a decade ago maybe a delegation of Japanese came to us in the Kemerovo region. One of them here died in a civilian ancestor, was an interventionist. Well, they did find his remains, and with him several other Japanese invaders, and took them home, and at the place of the local burial place put a small monument on their money.
    1. Sanches
      Sanches 17 December 2012 15: 06
      in my city there is also a cemetery of Japanese interventionists on a hill near the reservoir, and a monument to them is a dam that they were forced to build. Only this is from the Second World War. That's because restless
      1. Kaa
        Kaa 17 December 2012 21: 47
        Quote: Sanches
        Only this is from the Second World War. That's because restless

        And ... what are your plans ... for the future ...? bully
  7. Apollo
    Apollo 17 December 2012 12: 46
    The countries (only they can do it) of the UN Security Council should resolve these issues of reconciliation and close this problem once and for all.
  8. Ustas
    Ustas 17 December 2012 13: 26
    The meaning of the article: the Chinese are to blame and only the United States can reconcile them.
    - Is Japan to blame?
    - No, a fair amount of guilt lies also with the Koreans and the Chinese.

    It is hoped that sober-minded people in all interested countries - perhaps with the informal assistance of the United States - will be able to convince governments

    “Fear Danians, and Gifts that Bring”
    1. 1976AG
      1976AG 17 December 2012 17: 33
      What bad Chinese and Koreans! They do not want to strive for good relations with those who exterminated them. And in theory, they should wish good relations with Japan? The participants of the Second World War, those who really fought, and not at headquarters but sat in the rear, still hate the Germans. And I think this is normal. But the fact that the Japanese hobnob with the Americans, who dropped atomic bombs on them, is abnormal.
  9. Begemot
    Begemot 17 December 2012 13: 44
    For the most part, the Japanese are frenzied nationalists and all other peoples — the young Papuans, and the Russians are all spies, chauvinism is everywhere there. That is why not many people aspire there for permanent residence.!
  10. Kibl
    Kibl 17 December 2012 16: 49
    Young people in modern Japan seriously believe that the Soviet Union carried out the atomic bombing of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki! And the Amers saved them from Uncle Joe’s aggression, what a time!
    1. F-22
      F-22 17 December 2012 18: 32
      Do not repeat the same nonsense. One patient with a hurray-patriot came up with a head, and the rest repeat. Japan EXTREMELY knows who bombed them and they don’t like Americans there.
      The trial of Japanese war criminals was. The Tokyo process is called. Almost all war criminals were either executed or imprisoned for life.
      The Japanese empire was liquidated as a state. Present Japan has nothing to do with that country.
      Senkaku Islands are personal Wishlist of China. He did not have and does not have any rights to them.
      So I advise all subhumans to better learn history. I say this as a person with a higher historical education.
      1. Sergh
        Sergh 17 December 2012 21: 48
        Quote: F-22
        I say this as a person with a higher historical education

        Was it formed in Japan in an hour? Stomp with your foot and foot!
        1. F-22
          F-22 17 December 2012 23: 03
          Yes, even in Cotdivoir. Essentially, you have nothing to object to. You can only minus!
      2. AlexxxNik
        AlexxxNik 18 December 2012 05: 42
        but I heard that the emperor paid off)
  11. F-22
    F-22 17 December 2012 18: 53
    An international military tribunal for the Far East was formed on January 19, 1946 in Tokyo (Japan) by order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Occupation Forces, General Douglas MacArthur, and arrests of war crimes suspects were carried out in accordance with the same order. A total of 29 people were detained - mostly cabinet members of General Hideki Tojo.

    The tribunal represented 11 states: the USSR, the USA, China, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, India and the Philippines. During the process, 818 open court hearings and 131 courtroom sessions were held; the tribunal received 4356 documentary evidence and 1194 testimonies (of which 419 were heard directly by the tribunal).

    The USSR was represented by Major General Ivan Mikheevich Zaryanov Member of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR
  12. taseka
    taseka 17 December 2012 18: 56
    "Most of the Japanese school textbooks are quite outspoken about things like the Nanking Massacre and the colonial oppression of Koreans. " - Maybe it is time for Japan to honestly recognize the genocide against Russia on Sakhalin in 1904, in the Far East 1920 and its readiness to fight Hitler against the USSR in 1943-1945.
  13. Egoza
    Egoza 17 December 2012 21: 51
    And I liked the title of the article - "Why Japan has not yet repented" And who writes? American, and in the most popular newspaper ...
    And so everything explains well ....
    When will the article "Why the United States have not repented yet"?
  14. Selevc
    Selevc 17 December 2012 22: 11
    And mine should all be up to the bulb Japan repented or not !!! They don’t want to be friends and let them go through the forest !!! Trying to raise some territorial questions? So they don’t argue with the winners !!!

    Little Hiroshima and Fukushima - it means they are still jumping !!! Japan - a country with the world's first economy - is simply a regional dwarf in terms of armaments ... It is ridiculous to listen to their howl - when the same half-starved North Korea with its ONE missile would somehow pose a threat to them :))) If from Japan If the Americans ever leave, this country will be torn apart the next day by its competitor neighbors ... !!!
    GOLUBENKO 18 December 2012 02: 13
    All this is the situation with the islands.
    This is a pre-planned provocation of China in the USA, and Japan is a puppet here.
    What goals these two sour friends pursue is a matter of thought.
    For Russia, this is an example of how the Japanese would try to resolve the issue of smoking with us.
    Playing with matches is this situation. Japan, like a pug, barks at a Chinese elephant having behind it an American who has an itch and that he will throw it out.
  16. Bykov.
    Bykov. 18 December 2012 06: 05
    It is hoped that sober-minded people in all interested countries - perhaps with the unofficial assistance of the United States - will be able to convince governments not to escalate passions to a dangerous level.

    In, gives, made fun.
  17. ka5280
    ka5280 19 December 2012 04: 17
    Kak bi diko eto ne zvuchalo, vojna v Azii, eto to chto nuzhno vsemu chelovechestvu! Na na zemle 7 milliardov, a Zemlja mozhet prokormit 3.