Wednesday, June 29, 2005

US Newspaper Articles on Yasukuni

Recently The New York Times and The USA Today took up the Yasukuni problem in Japan one after another. The article in the former [1] describes the following argument of Yasukuni's war museum: "America forced Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor as a way of shaking off the Depression, and the US economy made a complete recovery once the Americans entered the war." Then the author of the article critically writes, "Yasukuni's view of history is one that few Asians or Americans would accept."

Further, the author refers to USA's noticeable silence on Yasukuni and the verdict on the Class A war criminals (in 1978 Yasukuni secretly enshrined 14 Class A war criminals convicted by an international tribunal after World War II, as is pointed out by the article of The USA Today). He guesses the reason for this silence as follows: "China's rise alarms America just as much as did the rise of Communism in the 1940's. So better a strong, remilitarized Japan, no matter what the Japanese say about Yasukuni or war criminals."

The article in The USA Today [2] similarly introduces the following descriptions at the Yasukuni Web site: "The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the invasions of China and Southeast Asia were made to maintain the independence and peace of the nation and for the prosperity of all Asia. The 14 [A Class] war criminals are martyrs who were unjustly tried as war criminals by a sham-like tribunal of allied forces."

The author of the article in The USA Today puts a rhetorical question, "So why does Koizumi visit Yasukuni despite the furor [of China, South Korea and other Asian countries]?" The answer is given by the words of Michael Cucek of the consultancy Okamoto Associates: "Koizumi is currying favor with right-wing Japanese politicians whose support he needs to implement his policies, particularly the privatization of Japan's postal system."

I suspect rather that the right-wing thought is deeply rooted in the mind of Koizumi and many politicians of Liberal and Democratic Party. The Japanese should learn all the above facts conveyed in the articles in the newspapers of USA to make good choice in the next vote for the Diet members.

  1. N. Onishi, "A war shrine, for a Japan seeking a not guilty verdict," New York Times (June 22, 2005).
  2. P. Wiseman, "Tokyo shrine a focus of fury around Asia," USA Today (June 23, 2005).

The followings have been taken from the comment column of the blog site where this post originally appeared:

Michael Cucek 06/30/2005
Ted -
I would like to think that I understand the Prime Minister's thinking--but he remains a cipher, a black box. He acts not according to a fixed set of rules but more from a loose set of constantly reconfigured concepts. Ask his inner circle what his philosophy of governance is and you hear a range of contradictory opinions reflecting the prejudices of the speakers rather than the core beliefs of the man. When Paul Wiseman asked me what the PM's motives could be for continuing to go to Yasukuni, I gave an answer that ignores the PM's feelings. It was the only intellectually honest route.

Ted 06/30/2005
Hi Michael,
Thanks a lot for your kind comment. Sure, Koizumi-san is a black box. However, I cannot at least judge him to be the man who sincerely repents Japan's aggressive wars in the past.

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