August 15, 2007

A Victory So Sweet

SIXTY TWO YEARS AGO today, the Allied Powers, led by the United States, threw down the cruel Empire of Japan, putting an end to that nation's decades-long reign of terror over much of eastern Asia. It took nearly four years and cost untold lives and required incredible sacrifice, but we did it.

I was pleased to learn today that Rhode Island -- who knew? -- actually had a state holiday commemorating the day when Japan finally surrendered, but less pleased to learn some in the Ocean State would rather not celebrate it at all. Opponents argue that Japan later became an ally of the United States and surely it is time to bury the hatchet. Besides, they argue there's no holiday for beating the Nazis, something we accomplished a few months earlier.

There is no denying that Japan -- like Germany -- has markedly changed for the better over the past several decades, and there is something to be said for not burdening sons with the sins of their fathers. But unlike Germany, which has wholeheartedly repudiated its Nazi past, Japan has not fully apologized for the crimes it committed during the war. (Here's a list of the major atrocities -- you won't find a dull sentence in it). Until the Japanese can muster the courage to fully put their wartime atrocities behind them, and make full apologies to the people who deserve them, Americans should continue to politely remind Japan that these things happened, and that there are some accounts which still need settled.

(Photo credit: U.S. Navy, from the surrender ceremony of Sept. 2, 1945)

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 15, 2007 05:58 PM | TrackBack
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