Decades Of Apologies
BBC reports here. AP here.
It's interesting, this never-dying rage. I grew up in Japan and only one time during all the years I spent there did I feel that rage directed at me, as an American. I was about nine at the time, riding on a public bus in the rural part of Japan in which we lived. An old woman, who probably had lost who many family members in the war, glared at me with a hatred that I fully understood, even then.
No similar events occurred in all the years I lived there. Attribute it to a knowledge that they were the aggressors, and perhaps more importantly, to a national ethic of going along with the crowd, and in Japan the crowd apologizes for the war.
My personal experience tells me Japan's atonement is real, that there is a revulsion with their pass and a sorrow for what they did to others, and for what happened to them as a result.
Six generations on, some legitimate anger about the rapes and murders still exist in Korea, China, Burma and elsewhere. But I think it's boiling down to economics and politics more and more. Korea is angry about everything, so let's discount them. In Singapore, where there were atrocities aplenty, anti-Japan protests are rare to nonexistent. The Singapore economy is strong and the nation's view is cosmopolitan.
The same was true for decades with Hong Kong. But this year, there were demonstrations -- suspicious given Beijing's deliberate promotion of anti-Japan sentiment.
Koizumi's doing the right thing, but he should know that as long as Japan stays free and wealthy, China and its Socialist/Communist brothers in East Asia must attack it. They can't attack it for being free, so they'll attack the past.