Aug 19 2010

Sometimes national leaders should apologize

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:26 am

Obama has become famous for his international apology tours, in which he seems to apologize for everything under the sun, as if America is the most brutal and vicious regime in history, as if we’ve been weighed in the balance and found wanting, as if we’re solely responsible for global warming and hunger around the world, in addition to being rude to all the other nice nations. Truthfully, he’s apologizing just for America being America… but here’s a national leader who knows when its time to apologize, as Japanese P.M. apologizes on anniversary of WWII end

Japan’s new liberal prime minister shunned a visit to a shrine that has outraged Asian neighbors for honoring war criminals, breaking from past governments’ tradition and instead apologizing Sunday for the suffering World War II caused.

Members of the now-opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which ruled Japan nearly continuously since the end of the war, made a point by carrying out their own trip to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The Shinto shrine — a spectacular building with sweeping roofs and a museum in its grounds that glorifies kamikaze pilots — has set off controversy by honoring the 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including Class A war criminals such as Hideki Tojo, Japan’s war-time prime minister who was executed in 1948.

“We caused great damage and suffering to many nations during the war, especially to the people of Asia,” Kan told a crowd of about 6,000 at an annual memorial service for the war dead at Budokan hall in Tokyo.

“We feel a deep regret, and we offer our sincere feelings of condolence to those who suffered and their families,” he said. “We renew our promise to never wage war, and we promise to do our utmost to achieve eternal world peace and to never repeat again the mistake of war.”

Among those listening to Kan’s words were Emperor Akihito, whose father Hirohito announced the surrender 65 years ago in a radio broadcast — the first time the Japanese public had heard the real voice of the emperor, who had been revered as a living god to justify imperial expansion.

Last week, <Kan> apologized to South Korea for its 1910-45 colonial rule. Imperialist Japan committed atrocities in Asia, including forcing Koreans to fight as front-line soldiers, work in slave-labor conditions and serve as prostitutes in military-run brothels.

In Seouln President Lee Myung-bak, speaking Sunday before a crowd packing a plaza near the former royal palace, said history should not be forgotten but urged Japan and his nation to work together for a new future.

“I have taken note of Japan’s effort, which represents one step forward,” Lee said of Kan’s apology.

How does what Japan has to apologize for compare to what America has to apologize for? Your answer to that will inform your response to Obama’s apology tours.