China Daily recently reported, “Japan apologizes for annexation of Korean Peninsula.”
I think this is a responsible move on Japan’s part. It is a step forward in reconciliation. Some people argue unless the Japanese take full responsibility for their past atrocities, warming of relations with Japan should not be allowed. That is backwards. I have always said in the past, the warming of relations gives confidence and actually allows both parties to face a difficult past. This is more in tuned with human nature. Of course, this does not mean the past ought to be forgotten.
For the Chinese people, they in fact have shown incredible forbearance. The ultimate lesson of this recent history for us all is to not let it repeat. That should be a goal our generation work towards. If we do not, we are in fact likely sewing the seeds for our future generations to repeat the past. The Chinese government is expanding relations with Japan despite this unresolved history. That is responsible, wise, and admirable.
Here is the brief report carried on China Daily:
The apology came ahead of the 100th anniversary of Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula on August 29. Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula extended from 1910 to the end of the Second World War in 1945.
The move, directed at the Republic of Korea (ROK), is believed to aim to strengthen future-oriented ties between the two countries.
In addition to the apology, Japan will also return some Korean artifacts to the ROK.
During Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910-45, many Koreans were forced to fight as front-line soldiers, work in slave-labor conditions, or serve as prostitutes in brothels operated by the military.
In response, South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Kim Young- sun said Seoul “paid attention” to the position included in Prime Minister Kan’s statement that Japan admitted its colonization was forced upon the Korean people against their will and that Japan is willing to be frank about facing its past mistakes.
Seoul takes the move as Tokyo’s intention to overcome their unfortunate past and expects all Japanese people to share this view, Kim added.
yinyang, the article(s) pretty much summarise the picture: out of pragmatism, in view of the economic resurgence of SK and China, the imperative for Japan to accommodate the views of its key neighbours is more important than ever.
At ground level, the attitudes remain ambivalent. Unlike Germany which (imo) accepts that WW2 was a misguided adventure (to put it mildly) inspired by a discredited ideology, Japan upholds the belief that theirs was a patriotic and just war , that they were victims too, and the idea persists bcos the values system was maintained under a puppet regime for the longest time.
I think that could account for the lack of guilt but the sense of shame about the excesses of their imperialism. (at least among those aware).
You are right that China, and probably SK, is astute enuf to take the forward view with Japan: by engaging the moderates, can the conservatives and right-wing revisionists be outflanked. and a long overdue process of reconciliation begin.
The SK minister could be referring to the latter two groups when he called for all island dwarves (*-*) (can’t resist an occasional swipe, sorry) to accept the facts of history.
Agreed with your take.
In the end, there is some explanation for what transpired in Japan for their imperialism (in spirit of truth and not justification) that the Asian victims will come to – just as the ‘right’ attitude is expected of the Japanese to eventually come to.