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Japan apologises to South Korea for World War 2

Wang

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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 05:27 GMT 06:27 UK

Japan apologises to South Korea


Japan's prime minister has apologised to South Korea for the brutality it suffered during the 35-year Japanese occupation of the country.

"I sincerely apologise for the pain and sorrow Japan inflicted on the Korean people under Japanese colonial rule" Junichiro Koizumi.

Junichiro Koizumi was visiting Seoul in an attempt to mend strained relations damaged by disputes over Japan's wartime past, fishing rights and its backing of the US attacks on Afghanistan.

"I sincerely apologise for the pain and sorrow Japan inflicted on the Korean people under Japanese colonial rule," Mr Koizumi said while visiting a former prison where independence fighters were tortured and executed.

The prime minister bowed his head as he delivered his apology to South Korea. Koizumi laid a wreath to honour Korean independence fighters.

But his visit to the Sodaemun Prison Hall Museum was met by angry anti-Japanese demonstrations which threatened to drown out his landmark speech.

And a planned visit to the National Assembly was cancelled after opposition politicians threatened to block his entry.

After laying a wreath to commemorate Korean fighters, Mr Koizumi said he would be looking frankly at the past in a bid to forge better relations for the future.

Delicate task

The prime minister has already apologised to China for the aggression shown against it by Japan in the 1930s and 1940s.

But in South Korea, he faces an even more delicate task.

The media and politicians are still fuming over Japan's approval of a history textbook which plays down the brutality of its imperial past.

They were also infuriated by the prime minister's visit in August to a shrine that honours Japanese war criminals.

Relations have been further strained by a damaging dispute over fears that Japan is about to take away fishing rights.

And to cap it all, there is mounting resistance to Japan's promise to support the US-led attacks on Afghanistan, with many fearing it could lead to Japan's re-emergence as a military power.

Goodwill

Relations between the two countries - historical rivals, but important trading partners - have improved in recent years.

They had hoped their co-hosting of the 2002 World Cup football finals would bring them closer together, but the recent controversies are threatening to undermine much of the goodwill.

The visit threatens to backfire on the government, which had initially been reluctant for it to go ahead.

The opposition Grand National party warned that if Mr Koizumi's public comments expressing regret for Japan's wartime past do not go far enough, the government must take full responsibility.


I have posted this article, although it's a bit dated, to show everybody in the world that Japan did apologize for World War 2 in recent times.
 

bossel

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The problem is that Koizumi said "I apologise...". I know that for a lot of Chinese this is not enough. They want a formal, written apology.

AFAIK, Koizumi is not the first PM to apologise, but as long as no formal apology happens many people in China (& Korea) won't be satisfied.
 

Arekkusu

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Well, being I am part South Korean and all I do not hate the japanese for what happend to my family line(from what I been told).
I mean you can't blame the future generation on stupid mistakes of the past, and that's why I love the new generation.
Hate is starting to fade away(I think) from past mistakes.
I mean I don't hate the japanese for the death of my great grandfather.
WHy should I?
I even to the point love everything of japan, and wanna live there!
I(being the new generation)wanna have a new world from the old really..
 

kinjo

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Ah.......I see there's at least some hostility between Japan and South Korea. I really never knew that.........
 

bossel

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Didn't know, that Japan had done that in the case of Korea. Interesting.
But then why not in the case of China? If they did, I have never heard of it either & it surely has not yet reached the people there.
 

bossel

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Thanks for the link, but I knew that PM's had already apologised but not issued the formal public apology China wanted.
In case of Korea that was obviously there, but do the average people know about this? Well, I will ask my Korean student tomorrow.

The Korean youth doesn't seem to have such an issue with Japan, anyway. The older generation has to be convinced (or maybe it's just to wait till time solves that problem).
 

yimija

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half and half

Wang said:
I have posted this article, although it's a bit dated, to show everybody in the world that Japan did apologize for World War 2 in recent times.
Since I'm half Korean and half Japanese, I might just say that I don't care for anyone's (in)formal, (un)political, "(un)sincere" excuses and apologies. Whether it is with Japaneses or with Koreans I want to live a life similar than the one my Mother and Father lived : love, harmony and respect of each other. Isn't it time that we stop remembering the past pains and turn toward the future, knowing that what has been was bad and not worth it in any way. ?
Yes it' time !
 

ippolito

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I am asking why no one has done a film about before during and after Hiroshima
and Nagasaki....
I saw a lot of films about Vietnam Korea etc.......many of them well done
even soldier Ryan.....all the descripions....the events etc.
Nothing at all about the sad day.....no excuses..from us presidents ..yes it was war an jp were fighting till the end but with convetionals weapons....
In our planet history was the first time of using an athomic bomb against
civilians....and Ii hope the last one.
I think that no one in us could know what kind of damage were doing not only in those few minutes but on the son's son that became monsters....
not a word not a film.....just forgotten event....




t

I think yor words are correct....but .if we should look forwards
the past should be a teacher .....as for the future decisions...
Actually I see a lot of jp and kr going out of the school but they do not talk eachother....some young can be friends....not old people.
What I wish is one Korea united like Germany and help those poors that
live in the north especially children....I saw how they live in a tv report
and also from the few images north koreans sent after the recent explosion.
all the planet habitants should think like you to live in harmony , love and respect....
unfortanly this is not so easy when you are very poor and you have to fight every day for some bread or rice for you and your family......
poverty ignorance change a lot the human spirit.
have a nice week



QUOTE=yimija]Since I'm half Korean and half Japanese, I might just say that I don't care for anyone's (in)formal, (un)political, "(un)sincere" excuses and apologies. Whether it is with Japaneses or with Koreans I want to live a life similar than the one my Mother and Father lived : love, harmony and respect of each other. Isn't it time that we stop remembering the past pains and turn toward the future, knowing that what has been was bad and not worth it in any way. ?
Yes it' time ![/QUOTE]
 

stupidumboy

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and ROK government never demand official apologizations from Japanese government after 1965 diplomatic agreement.

the Koreans who demanded apologizations were from the private organizations.
You need to clarify the fact.
 

shiroma

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stupidumboy said:
and ROK government never demand official apologizations from Japanese government after 1965 diplomatic agreement.
Roh Demands Apology from Japan
Marking the 86th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement, President Roh Moo-hyun demanded yesterday that the Japanese government offer apologies and further compensation to its Korean victims.
More links: here here here

It seems that they will never be satisfied no matter what.
 

Brooker

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People made such a big deal about the fact that Japan hadn't apologized, and now that they have, they're saying that it's not good enough. They just need to put it behind them. Japan has tried to make amends, and no matter how much they apologize, it isn't going to change the past. So, let it go.
 

Nefelia

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The media and politicians are still fuming over Japan's approval of a history textbook which plays down the brutality of its imperial past.

They were also infuriated by the prime minister's visit in August to a shrine that honours Japanese war criminals.

An apology is one thing, but how sincere is the apology. Japan has to come to terms with its role and actions leading up to and during WWII. Simply compare Germany and Japan, for instance. German textbooks are actually viewed as being too harsh on the Germans for their role in WWII, and the German government freely admits German wrongdoing and actively rejects revisionist views. As a result, Germany has been fully forgiven by its neighbors.

Japan is either unwilling or unable to do the same. The results are telling.
 

Mal

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German textbooks are actually viewed as being too harsh on the Germans for their role in WWII, and the German government freely admits German wrongdoing and actively rejects revisionist views. As a result, Germany has been fully forgiven by its neighbors

Even though I agree that the general sentiment is that yes most people have forgiven the German nation this obviously isn't true across the board for everyone.

Also you are neglecting a key component to modern Germanys situation - the physical location of its neighbors (not seperated by sea) as well as the multi-national influence on the reconstruction post WW2. I'd dare say that German views of their former facist state owe a great deal to overal European liberalism as well as the fact that the most horrific reminders of the former regimes crimes were preserved and remain as memorials and not out of sight. Compare that to Japan where the forced labor camps were destroyed and the most famous monument is the peace memorial where little boy was dropped.

As a Yank I'll be the first to admit we probably wasted a chance to help heal the wounds between Japan and its neighbors. But then again we didn't have a long history of antagonism with the Japanese so we probably were more inclined to just get on with things.

Anyway, I think this problem will be pretty much corrected over the upcomming decades. No matter how you slice it Japan is going to need to acquire a ton of outside labor to keep its economy going as the countrys birthrate declines and its population ages. And pretty much all those workers are going to have to come from China and Korea. Economics will slowly force Japan to become a more heterogenous society and once that process is underway the rest will follow eventually.
 

Nefelia

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Anyway, I think this problem will be pretty much corrected over the upcomming decades.

Probably, depending on the tone of Japan's foreign policies in the following decade. Yet, in the meanwhile, the Japanese will be missing out due to the WWII legacy. While the West largely ignores Japan's questionable treatment of its role in WWII, the issue remains relevant in the Asian community, and continues to damage their credibility. As a result, Japan is missing opportunity after opportunity to enmesh itself deeply within the rapidly forming Asian Bloc (granted, there are also other factors that damage Japan's credibility). I honestly feel that an earnest appraisal of Japan's WWII atrocities and a movement to acknowledge and move on would be in the best interest of the Japanese people and government.

As for the differences between Germany and Japan...different cultural practices may have something to do with it. The Asian concept of face may play into the Japanese government's decision to revise the realities of WWII. I'd like to hear from a Japanese member about this, since I really don't know enough about face to apply it to this issue.
 

Mal

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Yet, in the meanwhile, the Japanese will be missing out due to the WWII legacy. While the West largely ignores Japan's questionable treatment of its role in WWII, the issue remains relevant in the Asian community, and continues to damage their credibility. As a result, Japan is missing opportunity after opportunity to enmesh itself deeply within the rapidly forming Asian Bloc (granted, there are also other factors that damage Japan's credibility).

This actually isn't true. While there is alot of political ruckas raised over these issues, Japan hasn't actually been penalized in any way economically by them. Japanese investments in Korea and China are huge and rising every year. Infact at this point in time its absolutely inconcievable that any real pressure would be brought against the Japanese government simply because Korea and China need these investments. Pretty much everything you hear about this is toothless hot air.

Issues like this play well to the home crowd, but there is no politican alive that will bow to rhetoric when there is money on the line.

I honestly feel that an earnest appraisal of Japan's WWII atrocities and a movement to acknowledge and move on would be in the best interest of the Japanese people and government.

I don't think you'll get much argument from that from anyone except maybe a Japanese.

As for the differences between Germany and Japan...different cultural practices may have something to do with it. The Asian concept of face may play into the Japanese government's decision to revise the realities of WWII. I'd like to hear from a Japanese member about this, since I really don't know enough about face to apply it to this issue.

I doubt that has as much to do with it as geographical location does. Europe prior to WW2 was a much more integrated community of nations than Asia is even today. After the dust settled and the war was over, it was quite evident to the German public that they were going to have to do some serious soul searching to be accepted back into the European community. Japan on the other hand was able to do what it always seems to do, that is - retreat back into itself with the minimal amount of changes necessary. Also at the time Japans focus shifted from Asia to the West. There wasn't any immediate short term advantage in placating its former enemies with the exception of the United States - which of course, they did.

At this point we start getting into "What if?" scenarios. My personal favorite "What if?" is:

What if FDR didn't die and Eisenhower had fufilled his plan to race to eastern Germany before the Soviets did? Could this have prevented Russia from absorbing the various satilite states around it and prevented the Cold War?

The world will never know I suppose :eek:

Also... without the imminent threat of Soviet expansion in Asia, would the United States had stayed so long overseas in Japan? Would a Japan that didn't have resident American troops on their soil been more willing to placate its former enemies in the region?

In alot of ways Japan was pretty lucky that it was the United States that put their boots down there. I seriously doubt things would have gone very well for them if it had been the Russians or the Chinese.
 

Nefelia

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I appreciate the insight provided by you answer, particularly to my direct question.

This actually isn't true. While there is alot of political ruckas raised over these issues, Japan hasn't actually been penalized in any way economically by them. Japanese investments in Korea and China are huge and rising every year. Infact at this point in time its absolutely inconcievable that any real pressure would be brought against the Japanese government simply because Korea and China need these investments. Pretty much everything you hear about this is toothless hot air.

I'm not fully convinced, but thats something I will have to settle myself through research. I am aware that while political relations between China and Japan are spiralling downwards, trade between the two continue to sky-rocket. In fact, China recently surpassed America as Japan's largest trading partner. The focus of my assessment is the Japan-China-ASEAN relationship. ASEAN will be crucial, if not central, to the formation of an Asian economic-political bloc, and the common consensus is that China is setting itself up to lead this bloc. I've already researched the China-ASEAN relationship, but I have yet to look deeply at the Japan-ASEAN relationship.

Hmm, up till now I've assumed that Japan hasn't forged a stronger foothold into ASEAN because it lacked the credibility and didn't have ASEAN's trust. While this might still be a factor, you might have also pointed out another important factor: "Also at the time Japans focus shifted from Asia to the West.". I wonder if Japan is capable of bringing its focus back to Asia.

And um, yeah...sorry for veering this off topic. I seem to be good at that. ^^
 

Mal

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In my personal opinion I find it unlikely that China will be able to emerge as the defacto economic power in the Asian region for many decades to come. There are alot of reasons for this, but mainly because of how tightly they control their markets. Even to date it is mandated that the Chinese government must control 50+1% of all companies in China. This obviously puts any sort of foreign investment at an extreme risk in China and as we all know the last thing that markets like is risk.

Also the manufacturing sector that has been so good to China is starting to leave their shores, already they are seeing competition from various other nations in a proverbial "race to the bottom". This is offset somewhat by them being in a position to capitalize on IT opportunities (Indian IT jobs are now leaving India and migrating to China), but in the long run they have one hell of a fight ahead of them to keep expanding their manufacturing base at their current rate.

Finally, one thing that many people who are not students of Japanese political history (including many Japanese themselves!) have failed to notice is that Japan has always been outside of any unipolar cultural influence. In older times that cultural influence came from China. Infact there was a great rivalry between Korea and Japan over this issue! (Perhaps the foundations of alot of the distrust?). Korean emissarys used to write their letters to the Japanese court in somewhat obscure Chinese phrases, almost assuredly in an effort to humilate the Japanese and reinforce their position as the "Country bumpkins" of the Asian region. Interesting, eh? The Koreans lost no opportunity to point out to the Japanese that they were much closer to China than they were and you can bet the Japanese noticed.

When the power balance of civilization shifted west towards Europe in the 1800's the Japanese first started in earnest their infatuation with all things western. The elite (mind you the commoners were never made aware of this) built houses in Western style (italian architecture) held parties with French dancing, played Western classical music, read Western authors, etc. This is probably where they first got their reputation in the west as being masters of mimicry as it was described quite ruthlessly in many published works, yet another thing that infurated the Japanese.

Many scholars have posited that Japans flirt with Imperialism was based largely on attempts to imitate the west. If all the great western powers were imperial powers, then why shouldnt the Japanese also be an imperial power? It makes alot of sense, does it not? Infact there was a meeting with the league of nations where the Japanese wanted an acknowledgement of Japanese racial equality with western nations and they were rather impolitely laughed off. Many scholars can point to this as the beginning of nationalist fervor and the birth of Japanese imperalism.

Anyway, my contention is that the Japanese elite (and almost certainly the average Japanese these days too) really doesn't want to focus attention on Asia. They are still to this day looking at the west. They want very much to be considered a great power, a civilized nation, a modern nation (all laudable goals actually). They can have a powerful military, a modern democracy, technological aptitude, and a first world economy, but they are also missing the single key ingredient to "internationalism", that is to put it bluntly - being cosmopolitan. Japan has always been the outsider, first to China and now to the West. Being an outsider is so deeply ingrained in their cultural heritage its no wonder that everyone who is not Japanese is gaijin. Think of it logically - is this completely an attitude born from Japaneses opinions of other people, or is it perhaps born from their opinions of themselves? I think a vibrant argument could be made that Japanese attitudes towards non-Japanese owes a great deal more to their perpetual outsider status than it does to any fake sense of Japanese superiority. To put it this way: The easiest way to classify someone as "not us" is to know who "us" is. The easiest way to know who "us" is, is to be told very forcefully that you are not "them". Perhaps that sounds confusing, but I'm having a difficult time explaining the concept (up 24 hours so far - its the weekend still!)

Suffice it to say, I'm of the opinion that Japanese seeming hostility towards foreigners stems mostly from their perpetual outsider status.
 

Eisuke

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Mal said:
Finally, one thing that many people who are not students of Japanese political history (including many Japanese themselves!) have failed to notice is that Japan has always been outside of any unipolar cultural influence. In older times that cultural influence came from China. Infact there was a great rivalry between Korea and Japan over this issue! (Perhaps the foundations of alot of the distrust?). Korean emissarys used to write their letters to the Japanese court in somewhat obscure Chinese phrases, almost assuredly in an effort to humilate the Japanese and reinforce their position as the "Country bumpkins" of the Asian region. Interesting, eh? The Koreans lost no opportunity to point out to the Japanese that they were much closer to China than they were and you can bet the Japanese noticed.

When the power balance of civilization shifted west towards Europe in the 1800's the Japanese first started in earnest their infatuation with all things western. The elite (mind you the commoners were never made aware of this) built houses in Western style (italian architecture) held parties with French dancing, played Western classical music, read Western authors, etc. This is probably where they first got their reputation in the west as being masters of mimicry as it was described quite ruthlessly in many published works, yet another thing that infurated the Japanese.

Many scholars have posited that Japans flirt with Imperialism was based largely on attempts to imitate the west. If all the great western powers were imperial powers, then why shouldnt the Japanese also be an imperial power? It makes alot of sense, does it not? Infact there was a meeting with the league of nations where the Japanese wanted an acknowledgement of Japanese racial equality with western nations and they were rather impolitely laughed off. Many scholars can point to this as the beginning of nationalist fervor and the birth of Japanese imperalism.

Anyway, my contention is that the Japanese elite (and almost certainly the average Japanese these days too) really doesn't want to focus attention on Asia. They are still to this day looking at the west. They want very much to be considered a great power, a civilized nation, a modern nation (all laudable goals actually). They can have a powerful military, a modern democracy, technological aptitude, and a first world economy, but they are also missing the single key ingredient to "internationalism", that is to put it bluntly - being cosmopolitan. Japan has always been the outsider, first to China and now to the West. Being an outsider is so deeply ingrained in their cultural heritage its no wonder that everyone who is not Japanese is gaijin. Think of it logically - is this completely an attitude born from Japaneses opinions of other people, or is it perhaps born from their opinions of themselves? I think a vibrant argument could be made that Japanese attitudes towards non-Japanese owes a great deal more to their perpetual outsider status than it does to any fake sense of Japanese superiority. To put it this way: The easiest way to classify someone as "not us" is to know who "us" is. The easiest way to know who "us" is, is to be told very forcefully that you are not "them". Perhaps that sounds confusing, but I'm having a difficult time explaining the concept (up 24 hours so far - its the weekend still!)

Suffice it to say, I'm of the opinion that Japanese seeming hostility towards foreigners stems mostly from their perpetual outsider status.

Your story is not right. Japan never wanted to be a insider of a West or East club. Japanese have the "island mentality".
When western countries industrialized. Japan did not want to be a second class country. Therefore Japan used and imitated things from western nations to make Japan stronger, better and more advanced. Japan was the first non-Western country to successfully modernize and win a war against a European power (Russia - Japan war 1905). Then western powers finally recognized Japan as a first class nation.
This article explains the "We-They" life stance: GLOCOM Platform - Special Topics - Colloquium
 

shiroma

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노무현

Roh Blasts Japan in German Press
President Roh Moo-hyun aimed a broadside at Japan in the German press Friday when he told a newspaper it was "a great misfortune that the entire world has to live with those who consider their past acts of aggression glorious."
The head of a nation had better have hard facts to back the rationale when making statements like that.

Is it about the islet dispute? No, it is strictly post-war issue (info here.)
Is it about the history textbook? Any exact quote of distorted paragraphs, not to mention that they are from which chapter of which publisher's which edition.
Is it about Yasukuni visits? Yomiuri reported on Nov. 24th 2004,
During the 70-minute talks, Koizumi said, "I visit Yasukuni Shrine to express my heartfelt condolences to those who died in battle against their will, and make a no-war pledge."
Does the prime minister sound like glorifying past acts.

President Roh Slams Japan in Allgemeine Zeitung
"Germany had succeeded in healing the wounds of the war, had overcome them and then move on to integrated itself into Europe," Roh said.
Past perfect expressions like "had succeeded" "had overcome them" are chosen here; this link has some info on the topic.

More reports:
Roh Denounces Japan as "Global Misfortune"
Roh Blasts Japan's History Distortions


The question is, why whining in front of foreign press instead of making an official complaint directly to Japanese government, unlike the tantrum for pleasing domestic audience:
"President Roh Has Nothing More to Say窶ヲ Into a Frontal Diplomatic War"
(full text here)
 
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[Neutral]

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Well I don't think Roh is directly mentioning Mr.Koizumi...he seems to indirectly referring to the committee that was involved in approving the textbook content...media reports that he could have been slighted by the Japanese response to his foreign policy doctrine and essentially dismissing it as part of his national agenda. And the visit to the shrine itself resonates more in action than what the Mr.Koizumi would offer as an explanation of his true intent. There has been various suggestions from the Japanese media itself to the possibility of observing the dead without expliciting going to the marked place. I thought Mr.Koizumi would be fully recognizant of this sensitive issue, and could very have minimized the impact pragmatically, as befitting the head of a nation.
 
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