Friday, November 28, 2014

The Different Attitudes of Japan and Germany

Japan, unlike Germany, has never
sincerely acknowledged its past wrongdoing
Distortion of History... Tipping Japan to the Far Right

Japan has shown no signs of improvement on its track record of the distortion of the past history. 

There are growing criticism on Japan never admitting their past history like a runaway locomotive, despite rising concerns of the international community.

The reason of Japan not being able to break away from distorting the history is not irrelevant to the country's political situation. 

The dominant analysis of Shinzo Abe who is considered the most right wing figure taken office as Prime Minister last 2012 reads that it is a result of Japan's further tilt to the right.

Because of this, the Abe's administration put great weight on its conservative side to obtain public support. In this process, he repeatedly visited the disputed Yasukuni temple, disputes over Senkaku Islands", denied the existence of comfort women, and make claims to South Korea's islet, Dokdo.

Eventually, not apologizing for historical mistakes, Japan faced a fierce backlash from the international community. There is criticism warning Japan that the consequence for being in denial
and failing to admit to the history of invasions in the past may be the isolation from the international community.

In addition, the Korea-Japan relations does not seem to improve. The case in point is that the last Korea-Japan summit was in December 2011, Japan made their position clear of succeeding the 'Kono discourse." which acknowledged and apologized the coerciveness of comfort women, in order to accomplish the Korea-U.S.-Japan summit last March. But the Ministers' meeting of Korea and Japan which was to discuss the comfort women problem immediately after the summit is not making much progress.

Projections have been made that president Obama's trip to Asia would play a catalytic role in the relations between Korea and Japan. Even after U.S. President Obama's strong remarks about the comfort women issue calling it a "terrible and shocking human rights violations," the gap between Japan and Korea is nowhere near closing. Evident from the non-apologetic behavior of Japan, it seems difficult to improve the Japan-Korea relations unless Japan makes some fundamental changes to their stance.

The problem is that it is not easy to change Japan's fundamental position about the past history. That is, it is difficult for Japan's government, which used 'Strong Japan' as its slogan, to keep the constituents happy by leaning to the right.

Moreover, there is a close relationship between the United States' Asia-conscious foreign policy and Abe regime's conservative swing. The United States focuses on strengthening the alliance with Japan which is pushing ahead to obtain the right of collective self-defence in order to keep the rise of China.

Song Wan Beom, a professor at Korea University's Japan Research Center says, "it is not easy to change the attitude of Japan toward its won history," and he predicted that "the Abe regime will bring up the historical issue again when the Se-Wol-ho incident settles down." Hong Hyeon-ik, a Senior Research Fellow of the Sejong Institute said that "Unless we see a drastic turn of events like the fall of the regime or the United States sets a sanctions against it, Japan's tendency to distort history will not easily change." The influential thinkers with conscience in the international community should continue to inform the public about Japan's anti-human crimes.

▲ Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister
of Japan's visit to honor Japan's
Yasukuni Shrine  war casualties.

▲ A photo showing then West German Chancellor
Willy Brandt kneeling down at the monument
to the victims of the Nazi-era Warsaw Ghetto
in Poland on in December 28, 1970

   The Very Very Much Different Attitudes of Japan and Germany

▲  Japan, unlike Germany,
has never sincerely acknowledged
its past wrongdoing