Postwar Japan is often juxtaposed with Germany, and for good reason. Tuesday is the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty between France and Germany, which sealed their reconciliation. Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is recanting a previous administration's scant "apology" for World War II-era war crimes.
Can one imagine German Chancellor Angela Merkel paying homage to Nazi war criminals? If not, why is the world silent when Abe visits the Yasukuni shrine, where the souls of 2 million war dead — including war criminals — are said to be enshrined?
Japan has been America's proxy in the region since the end of World War II. While the Japanese were able to rebuild their country under U.S. protection, they have largely avoided coming clean about their war crimes.
My parents and we kids were interned by the American government in a concentration camp during World War II. My parents described the experience as being like a recreational summer camp to shield us from the shame of incarceration.
Perhaps the Japanese government, acting in loco parentis, is trying to shield its citizenry from the shame of Nanking by altering its version of history.
Robert Y. Nakagawa