[FOUNTAIN]History says Japan is no peacemakerIn 1989, the Japanese video game company Koei introduced a strategy game about World War II titled “Teitoku no Ketsudan,” or “Admiral’s Decision.” Players can command “forced labor” to build military bases and click on a “comfort” button to give the tired soldiers some relaxation. The concept reminds me of the comfort women impressed into service by imperial Japan.
In 1986, an episode on Nihon TV’s “Tensai Takeshi No Genki Ga Deru TV,” or “Refreshing TV Show of Takeshi the Genius,” featured a game that recreated a Nazi concentration camp. The game designer Ryohei Takenaka complained that the Japanese are playing with their own history of aggression by making past wars material for computer games.
In fact, many Japanese lack a sense of responsibility for modern history. A Japanese surveyor asked its citizens whether they considered the five decades from the Sino-Japanese War to the Pacific War a war of aggression. In three surveys taken in 1982, 1987 and 1997, about half of the respondents said that imperial Japan had invaded its neighbors. But 45 percent of the respondents in the 1982 survey said that war was inevitable. Again, 40 percent of the 1987 survey respondents and 32 percent of the 1994 survey respondents said that the aggression was unavoidable.
In a poll in the 1990s, 56 percent of Japanese respondents said the United States and Japan were both responsible for the Pacific War, while only 30 percent said that Japan was solely accountable.
Five decades after the imperial aggression, Japan has not yet sincerely repented of its past. Since the Japanese education ministry ordered that the wartime aggression be called an “advance” and that Korea’s March 1 independence movement be called a “riot” in history textbooks, the distortions have not yet been corrected. Without a sincere apology and repentance, neighbors are still furious.
Japan now wants a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. As long as the Japanese continue to avoid their history and claim that the war was inevitable, Japan does not deserve to be a permanent member of the Security Council. The Korean government must let the world know about the hypocrisy of the newly “pacifist” Japan.
by Ahn Sung-kyoo
The writer is a political news deputy editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.