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World View: Japan’s Shinzo Abe ‘Insults’ Korea in Plans for Commemorating End of WW II

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Japan’s Shinzo Abe raises controversy at Hiroshima commemoration
  • Japan’s Shinzo Abe ‘insults’ Korea in plans for commemorating end of WW II
  • Palestinians promise to continue efforts to pursue Israeli ‘criminals’

Japan’s Shinzo Abe raises controversy at Hiroshima commemoration

Doves fly over the Atomic Bomb Dome in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on Thursday (Reuters)
Doves fly over the Atomic Bomb Dome in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on Thursday (Reuters)

Japan has been holding a series of very emotional commemorations, 70 years after American forces dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, bringing World War II to an end. On Thursday, there was a commemoration in Hiroshima, and on Sunday it was in Nagasaki.

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe called for a nuclear-free world in his speech on Thursday:

Here today, at the opening of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing, I reverently express my sincere condolences to the souls of the great number of atomic bomb victims.

I also extend my deepest sympathy to those still suffering from the aftereffects of the atomic bomb even now.

Seventy years have passed since that morning. A single atomic bomb dropped here in Hiroshima deprived a tremendous number of people, numbering around 140,000, of their precious lives and turned the city into ruins. In this catastrophe, even those who narrowly escaped death suffered unspeakable hardships in the days to come.

Looking around the city of Hiroshima today, we see that this City of Water has undergone a robust restoration and transformed itself into an International City of Peace and Culture. This morning as we mark 70 years since the atomic bombing, I once more profoundly contemplate how precious peace is.

As the only country to have ever experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, Japan has an important mission of realizing a world free of nuclear weapons by steadily carrying out a succession of realistic and practical measures. We also have a duty to communicate far and wide the catastrophic humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, across generations and beyond national borders.

However, there was some controversy because Abe’s speech omitted mention of the “three non-nuclear principles”: Japan will not build or maintain nuclear weapons, and will permit any nuclear weapons on its territory. Activists expressed concern that the last of these three principles will be negated by passage of security legislation that will re-interpret the pacifist constitution that permits military action only in self-defense. (See “5-May-14 World View — Japan debates ‘collective self-defense’ to protect America and Japan”)

The two commemorations have revived the decades-old moral debate over whether America should have used nuclear weapons at all, since so many civilians were killed, first by the explosion and then afterwards by radiation poisoning.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the fact that nuclear weapons were used is no surprise at all. During a generational crisis war, the value of an individual human life keeps falling, until the explosive climax of the war. At that time, the value of a human life is almost zero, and any means or method or weapon will be used to end the war, irrespective of civilian casualties. In fact, in WWII this was already apparent long before the nuclear weapons were dropped. In 1944, the Allies sent tens of thousands of soldiers onto the beaches of Normandy, knowing that thousands would be shot down and killed like fish in a barrel. The firebombing of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo in 1944 and 1945 actually killed more civilians than the nuclear weapons did.

Some of the criticism directed at President Truman for authorizing the atomic bombings was that Japan was about to surrender anyway, because the Soviet Union was entering the war against Japan. A historical analysis on the BBC made by Dr. Anthony Best, professor at London School of Economics, specializing in the history of Japan, made the following points:

  • After the firebombings, there really was no viable moral or ethical argument for NOT using the atomic bomb. The bomb had been designed with Germany in mind. The Germans had surrendered, but Japan was continuing. Why would you not use this new weapon to end this conflict?
  • Radiation poisoning and sickness were not well understood at the time.
  • Neither President Truman nor anyone else had any information that the Japanese were about to surrender, even in view of Russia’s entering the war.
  • Earlier in the year, the battle of Okinawa saw very high American casualties, as well as very high Japanese civilian casualties. If the bomb hadn’t been used, there were plans later in 1945 for an American invasion of Japan’s islands, and the Japanese were making extensive preparations to fight to the death, training the army, but also arming civilians. There would have been massive casualties on both sides.
  • Why were the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki chosen? This was a new weapon, and this was its first use. In order to assess what this weapon would do, it had to be used on a city that had not been previously touched by conventional weapons.

Generational Dynamics predicts that there will be no nuclear-free world, and that by the time that the climax of the next world war is reached, every nuclear weapon in the world will have been used as a weapon somewhere. BBC and Japan Times and Shingetsu News Agency

Japan’s Shinzo Abe ‘insults’ Korea in plans for commemorating end of WWII

On Thursday, Japan’s prime minister will give a speech commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, when Japan surrendered, several days after the bombing of Nagasaki.

The planned statement is major news in South Korea, where officials are waiting to see of Abe will apologize for Japan’s use of Japanese and Chinese “comfort women” during World War II. Two of Abe’s predecessors have apologized, and both Japan and China are urging Abe to use words such as “aggression,” colonial rule,” “remorse” and “apology” in the upcoming statement.

However, Abe is apparently going to be guided by a report submitted last week by “The Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century and on Japan’s Role and World Order in the 21st Century,” a panel established by Abe in February to provide input to Thursday’s statement. The report recommends that Abe express remorse, but not apologize.

According to an editorial in the Korea Times, the panel’s recommendations actually insulted the Koreans by differentiating between China and Korea, and claiming that “The Korean governments’ policy on Japan has vacillated between ‘reason and emotion.'” According to the editorial, “It befits all modifiers Japan is infamous for ― cunning, crafty and sly.” Arirang (Seoul) and Korea Times and Japan Focus

Palestinians promise to continue efforts to pursue Israeli ‘criminals’

Palestinians are calling for revenge after the second victim of last weekend’s ‘Jewish terrorism’ died on Saturday. ( “1-Aug-15 World View — Tensions with Palestinians soar after brutal Israeli settler ‘price tag’ attack”)

An 18-month-old Palestinian boy was killed last weekend when attackers used Molotov cocktails to set two homes on fire in the West Bank. On Saturday, the child’s father died. The brother and mother are still being treated in a hospital.

The brutality of the Jewish settler “price tag” attack has shocked even most Israelis. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised that the “Jewish terrorists” would be brought to justice, but so far no one has been charged.

However, three Israelis have been given “administrative detention,” and this has caused controversies of its own. Israel holds hundreds of Palestinians in administrative detention, but this is the first time it has been used to detain Jews. Furthermore, the three Israelis were not linked to last weekend’s attack.

Israel defends its use of detention for up to six months without trial, saying it is needed to stem violence and allow for further investigation in cases where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, or where going to court would risk exposing secret informants.

However, human rights activists in Israel object to the use of administrative detention against either Israelis or Palestinians. According to activist Sarit Michaeli:

These recent government actions look more like an attempt to divert attention and appease public outrage following this terrible attack in Duma than a real effort to enforce the law on settlers who attack Palestinians.

There is a very long-term and clear unspoken policy to not enforce the law in these situations, by the Israeli authorities, to turn a blind eye, to not conduct proper police investigations into these matters, and therefore it’s very hard to see how a couple of arrests will change that.

The Palestinian Authority government said Saturday it is planning to continue its diplomatic and legal efforts to pursue Israeli “criminals.”

A spokesman for the government in Ramallah said the father’s death is “further proof of the gravity of the crime committed by a group of settler terrorists,” adding that the “presence of Israeli occupation is the reason for all crimes committed against our people. The only way to stop these crimes is by ending this occupation.” Jerusalem Post and Reuters and Jerusalem Post

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Japan, Shinzo Abe, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Germany, Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Harry Truman, Anthony Best, London School of Economics, Okinawa, China, South Korea, Palestinian Authority, Israel, Price tag attack, Sarit Michaeli
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