Looking back, there is not much evidence of the Japanese fighting back. Some say that was because the Emperor issued a call to the nation to "bear the unbearable and endure the unendurable" and the Japanese embraced it. But I doubt that the Emperor has ever imagined beating themselves up with made up atrocities would become part of it. "The Japanese War Guilt Information Program" seems to have achieved its goal even to the extent that some Japanese seem to enjoy seeing themselves through the victor's eyes, seeing the Japanese as a nation/people war happy and atrocious, feeling "masochistic" pleasures to remind themselves of their nation's guilt on every occasion whether it is true or not. They even do not trust themselves to have a real military forces (the "peace constitution" does not allow any form of real military force). So, if you see any Japanese who are opposing against having real military forces or real constitution to the detriment of their own country's security, you are seeing a living proof of the program's success, and there are many of them.
A recent NYT article Pressure in Japan to Forget Sins of War has proven that there are groups both inside and outside Japan still trying to enforce that war guilt information program today, and some of them are those "masochistic" Japanese, such as the article's contributor Hisako Ueno. The title says it all, and when you read the article, you get an impression that the villagers could not build any memorial for the Koreans in the old village grave yard because the mayor's office was threatened by "Net Right" radicals sanctioned by Prime Minister Abe. However, if you see the accompanying photo, it already has a memorial dedicated to the Koreans. I guess NYT thought they could get away with that kind of deception and spin since only the Japanese and the Chinese can read those letters. The fact was that the mayor's office has never received the application to build additional memorial with a politically controversial inscription from the local group associated with the Koreans and Communist/Socialist parties, who tried to build it on the village property without the mayor's permission. The mayor had all the rights to stop that kind of sneaky operation. Some people made angry phone calls to the mayor's office believing it was the mayor who was building the additional memorial, based on the articles published in Korean media.
|A memorial dedicated to the Korean victims of the war time construction work in an old grave yard of the village, where some Korean workers died and were buried (photo appeared in the NYT article).|
You may also wonder why NYT is focusing on this story that happened a your ago, especially if you do not know what happened in Japan recently (it started on August 5, 2014). That was the day Asahi News retracted a series of 32 year old articles that shocked the Japanese people and cemented their war time guilt by reporting a fake story of Japanese military going around Korean villages kidnapping young women by a truck load to ship to the Japanese military camps all around Asia as "sex slaves", which was denied by the Korean villagers themselves as ridiculous. After the Asahi's retraction that disgusted and angered many people, Mr. Abe has made his wish publicly known that Asahi should issue the correction in various languages, considering the damages the articles have caused worldwide over the years. Since that day, Asahi News has been struggling to come to terms with their guilt in having run distorted anti-Japanese propaganda articles one after another over the years. It is yet to be seen, however, if this Asahi News' admission of their disgraceful past is the beginning of the end of the post war "War Guilt Information Program" regime at long last.
To me, however, this NYT article is an Asahi and their friends' (including Chinese and Korean media as well as NYT) answer to Mr. Abe, demonstrating their intention that they will not stop anti-Japanese propaganda. They may have to retreat in Japan, but they can still inflict damages to Japan from outside Japan, and enjoy their masochistic pleasures.
Of course, as you might have guessed, there are people who are making money based on all these fabricated accusations and that includes not just Koreans, but also Japanese lawyers and activists who have been helping them coming up with the fabricated stories as well as with the legal procedures, and the Japanese politicians who have agreed to pay the settlement money.
***************** March 2016 addition ************
You can find those activists in such places as in the committee hearings on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women at United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Those so called leftist Japanese human rights NGOs who have been accusing the Japanese government for not doing enough for the Japanese women's rights, are also accusing the Japanese government for not doing enough for the Korean women who worked as wartime prostitutes for the Japanese military for a good money. Those activists insist that those Korean prostitutes were abducted and forced into sex slavery. The fact is that there were some who were sold by their parents to the prostitution operators/recruiters. Although selling ones own children into indentured services was common among poor people and was not a crime in those days, some were no doubt deceived and did not realize brothel was their destination until they arrived there. The Japanese military authority was not always successful in eliminating those bad operators. It is understandable if they hold the Japanese military accountable for that failure, but they are making fool of themselves by stretching the facts beyond what's warranted.
You also have to remember that the Chinese and the Korean governments have settled with the Japanese government long ago, and were paid for all issues related to the Japanese activities during the WWII for good. Besides, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has no business taking up things that happened before 1985 as the Japanese government repeatedly protested:
"Since this Convention does not apply retrospectively to any issues that occurred prior to Japan’s conclusion thereof (1985), the Government of Japan considers that it is not appropriate for the report to take up the comfort women issue in terms of the implementation of State Party’s duties regarding the Convention." (See the statement issued on 16 Feb. 2016 in CEDAW 63rd Session (Japanese audio; English audio not found. You can find the same document on the UN site, but appears not text searchable).The implication is that someone in OHCHR is coordinating with the Japanese NGOs to take up this issue of Korean wartime prostitutes (comfort women) in violation of the charter, and it has "Chinese" written all over. Chinese money has also been funneled in to those Japanese and Korean activists. Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia (based in California) is a well known anti-Japanese organization backed by Chinese money. It is mentioned as the organization who expressed high hopes that the U.S. government would find documented evidence of Japanese war crime from the declassified government documents, which were examined specifically to uncover that evidence (see the final report of the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Inter agency Working Group (IWG)). The final report says:
As researchers pore over this extraordinary collection of important and interesting documents, will they rewrite the history of World War II, the Holocaust, or the Cold War? Probably not...Among the disappointed will be those who had hoped for a voluminous release of U.S. records relating to Japanese war crimes. My understanding of the depth of feeling surrounding this issue changed dramatically in 2001, when I spoke to a meeting of the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia...To these people, I state unequivocally that the IWG was diligent and thorough in its search for relevant records about war crimes in Asia.Also, if you go to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland (outside Washington, DC), you can find documents created by the United States military during World War Two. Among them are Interrogation reports on captured civilian brothel owners. The detailed reports portray how they became brothel owners, how they recruited what kind of women, who (Japanese, Korean, and Chinese women) were paid how much, how the Japanese military licensed them, etc.
No matter. Those anti-Japanese alliance groups are forging a head, and recently built anti-Japanese war memorial in San Francisco, just like the one in Nanjing, full of fake facts and fake eyewitness accounts and victims. It is sad that some misguided Japanese are taking part in such anti-Japanese organization that is bordering violation of the Civil Rights Act according to a California lawyer Kent Gilbert.
Then, why does the Japanese government keep apologizing and keep paying money? I will try to make sense in a separate post. For now, let me just point out some possibilities:
- The Japanese people may have somewhat different (higher) ethical standards than the rest of the world.
- The Japanese government may have been coerced by the U.S. and/or Chinese governments.
- There may have been politicians and high officials in the Japanese government who have been "cooperating" with the Americans, Chinese, or Koreans ever since Japan was put under the occupation forces.