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Japan PM shuns shrine, apologizes at WWII ceremony
Posted 8/15/10 , edited 8/15/10
TOKYO — Japan's new liberal prime minister shunned a visit to a shrine that has outraged Asian neighbors for honoring war criminals, breaking from past governments' tradition and instead apologizing Sunday for the suffering World War II caused.

Members of the now-opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which ruled Japan nearly continuously since the end of the war, made a point by carrying out their own trip to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The Shinto shrine — a spectacular building with sweeping roofs and a museum in its grounds that glorifies kamikaze pilots — has set off controversy by honoring the 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including Class A war criminals such as Hideki Tojo, Japan's wartime prime minister who was executed in 1948.

Among those who visited Yasukuni was LDP leader Sadakazu Tanigaki and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. About 40 legislators went to the shrine, but none from Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Cabinet, according to Japanese media reports.

Kan leads the Democratic Party, which took power last year after winning elections on promises of greater transparency and grass-roots democracy. It is the first time since the end of World War II that the entire Japanese Cabinet has avoided visiting Yasukuni on Aug. 15, the day Japan surrendered in the war.

"We caused great damage and suffering to many nations during the war, especially to the people of Asia," Kan told a crowd of about 6,000 at an annual memorial service for the war dead at Budokan hall in Tokyo.

"We feel a deep regret, and we offer our sincere feelings of condolence to those who suffered and their families," he said. "We renew our promise to never wage war, and we promise to do our utmost to achieve eternal world peace and to never repeat again the mistake of war."

Among those listening to Kan's words were Emperor Akihito, whose father Hirohito announced the surrender 65 years ago in a radio broadcast — the first time the Japanese public had heard the real voice of the emperor, who had been revered as a living god to justify imperial expansion.

Akihito, who has never visited Yasukuni, led a moment of silence at noon, bowing deeply before a stage filled with yellow and white chrysanthemums.

The families and friends of more than 3 million Japanese who died in war, including a gray-haired woman in a wheelchair clutching a black-and-white photo of a soldier, bowed their heads in silence for a minute.

"I don't ever want war," said the woman, Chiyoka Takakura, 96, whose husband died in the Philippines. "I am asking his spirit to protect us all."

Takakura and others, mostly elderly but some younger mourners remembering older family members, each placed a chrysanthemum on the stage.

"I feel once again a deep sadness for those many who lost their precious lives and for their families," Akihito said, attending the ceremony with his wife Michiko. "I pray for the continued prosperity of our nation and for world peace."

Tomoaki Iwai, a professor of politics at Nihon University, said Kan's shunning the Yasukuni visit underlined the Democrats' liberal-leaning pacifist policies.

"His decision is in line with what would be expected of the Democrats," he said.

Kan also paid respect at a far less controversial memorial for the war dead, laying a bouquet before a grave for Japanese soldiers.

Last week, he apologized to South Korea for Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule. Imperialist Japan committed atrocities in Asia, including forcing Koreans to fight as front-line soldiers, work in slave-labor conditions and serve as prostitutes in military-run brothels.

In Seoul, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, speaking Sunday before a crowd packing a plaza near the former royal palace, said history should not be forgotten but urged Japan and his nation to work together for a new future.

"I have taken note of Japan's effort, which represents one step forward," Lee said of Kan's apology.


A week or so ago, when Japan was mourning the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagisaki, quite a few Japanese people said that "it should never have been done", and "America needs to understand what's its done", and things along that line.

I think that the bombings were terrible, and feel sad the thousands of people who died during the bomb and in the aftermath. However it should also be said that America gave them chances and warnings to give in, but do to their way of thinking and military mentality they did not and suffered the consequences. So to end the war, America bombed them once. They told Japan again, they would do far worse harm over and over till they gave in. The Japanese did not give in, so America struck again.

Japan gave in.

My problem is that Japan even today insists on making sure everyone knows about the bombings, and what happened to their country. They do not however, insist on telling what THEY did to other countries and people.

Up till 1970's Japan edited their school textbooks and other material and hid the real atrocities from the public. The public was under the impression that even though Japan may have done "some things" they were actually pretty good, and not bad at all. In fact one source claimed that Japanese children were taught that America's bombings to them (nukes/firebombings) were completely unprovoked and that they "didn't understand why America was so angry at them." No mention of Pearl Harbor.

Beyond that, Japanese war crimes were simply inhuman, and in my opinion I think they were the worst (yes, even beyond the Russians).

The Death March of Battan, The Rape of Nanking (China, 1937), the infamous "Killing Contest" between two Japanese officers who wanted to see who could kill more people and faster, Comfort Women, rape of men, women, children and even babies, cannibalism etc.

For instance, Japan used to deny the Rape of Nanking; now they only say that the Chinese are stretching the numbers of people that were brutally murdered.

I'm NOT saying that Japan is the only country to commit War Crimes; all countries did to some extent - yet all the other countries have admitted it and apologized and this is where Japan is lacking. The Nationalism has gone too far in this case, and it's not fair how they want apologies, and go on like they're the only ones who've suffered, but they are not ready to admit the truth to their public and to the world.



What do you think about all this?
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Posted 8/15/10
Anyone else have trouble reading the first sentence? Had to read it twice to make sure I was reading it right. Hopefully it's just me being tired or something.

That aside, I'm happy that the new Prime Minister has taken this step in breaking a nasty tradition that has only garnered hate from other Asian countries. Lee Myung-bak is right, this is truly a step forward in improving relations in the region, and I'm delighted for this step to have been made. Go progress!
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Posted 8/15/10 , edited 8/15/10
Change is good... if it's for the better.
Which this is, so good for Japan LOL

&


Your_Typical_Friend wrote:

im getting bored with people posting news on crunchyroll *sigh* lets talk about something else
http://www.youtube.com/user/KKeeNNi


What is this i dont even

you're gonna be subject of a modrage for that i'm fair sure.
Posted 8/15/10

Sunnyxx wrote:

Change is good... if it's for the better.
Which this is, so good for Japan LOL

&


Your_Typical_Friend wrote:

im getting bored with people posting news on crunchyroll *sigh* lets talk about something else
http://www.youtube.com/user/KKeeNNi


What is this i dont even

you're gonna be subject of a modrage for that i'm fair sure.


hahahah most mods know me and my antics so i can really care less what they think about me and i enjoy their mod rage. gives me time to have a one and one talk
Posted 8/15/10
Good thing it was diffused & everything is fine.
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Posted 8/15/10

A week or so ago, when Japan was mourning the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagisaki, quite a few Japanese people said that "it should never have been done", and "America needs to understand what's its done", and things along that line.


it HAD to be be done in order to finish the war faster without causing so much more casualties to American troops & its allies. also, to cause a domino effect against the German's allies.

as far as i know, America understood what it has done & haven't used it UNLESS needed to.
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Posted 8/15/10
A world with more compassion would be great ^ o ^. Let the past be in the past, and the present to be full of joy.
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Posted 8/15/10

autumn_dreamsicle wrote:

A world with more compassion would be great ^ o ^. Let the past be in the past, and the present to be full of joy.


That would be great!! BUT Japanese ppl wouldn't let that go.
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Posted 8/15/10
banzai
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Posted 8/16/10 , edited 8/16/10

rilenthe wrote:


autumn_dreamsicle wrote:

A world with more compassion would be great ^ o ^. Let the past be in the past, and the present to be full of joy.


That would be great!! BUT Japanese ppl wouldn't let that go.


The Japanese Minister would like forgiveness from the countries, which Japan have occupied. Japanese in this century have to face what their elders have done would be stressful, since certain Japanese have protested against the war.

I read your page, and one of teacher said that practice make permanent not perfect. ^ o ^
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Posted 8/16/10

Sunnyxx wrote:

Change is good... if it's for the better.
Which this is, so good for Japan LOL

&


Your_Typical_Friend wrote:

im getting bored with people posting news on crunchyroll *sigh* lets talk about something else
http://www.youtube.com/user/KKeeNNi


What is this i dont even

you're gonna be subject of a modrage for that i'm fair sure.


I'd be honored to recieve modrage

ne way on topic lol yay for japan
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Posted 8/16/10
Indeed a step forward, and now lets see how the rest of the population responds.
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Posted 8/16/10
^ You guys are weird.
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Posted 8/16/10
This Prime Minister is a good man. Those who fought in WWII were all arses.
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Posted 8/16/10
Hooray for progress, change, and the abolishment of war.
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