Monday, March 12, 2007

Japan's War on Trial

Japan has never found itself able to live with WWII. From its Hiroshima museum to its history books and even its Shinto shrines, the Japanese perspective of the war and that nation's responsibility for it has been deflected if not completely falsified.

There has always existed a bellicose, nationalist force that reached the top levels of Japanese society but lurked in the shadows until recently. Now it lies behind efforts to restore Japan's military and remove the constitutional restraints on its use.
That whole effort now faces a threat to its mythmaking. According to The Guardian, 112 victims of the US firebombing of Tokyo are suing the Japanese government for compensation. The crux of their claim is that, by the time of the air raids, the war was already conclusively lost. Therefore the Japanese government owed its people a duty to end the war - as early as summer, 1944.
Today as Japan prepares to return to full membership in the international fold, it would be helpful for Japan and other nations that were brought into its war to have the true history of those events accepted by Japan and its people.

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