That settles that issue, I guess.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is coming to the United States late this month for a state visit with President Obama.
He won’t apologize for what his forebears did on Dec. 7, 1941. You see, Abe will be at the place where the United States was drawn into World War II. He’ll visit Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He’ll likely tour the USS Arizona Memorial. He’ll get to hear about the suffering brought to the men who are entombed in the shattered remains of the ship that still rest at the bottom of the harbor.
As the Associated Press reported: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that ‘the purpose of the upcoming visit is to pay respects for the war dead and not to offer an apology.'”
Frankly, I wish he would at least offer an expression of regret.
We’ll learn in due course whether he changes his mind.
President Obama visited Hiroshima, Japan earlier this year. He didn’t apologize, either, for the atomic bomb that President Truman ordered dropped on that city. Then again, I don’t believe an apology — in that instance — was warranted. The Japanese started the fight with the sneak attack on our forces at Pearl Harbor; we finished it with the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and, three days later, on Nagasaki.
Abe’s circumstance, of course, is much different. He represents a government that in an earlier era talked to American diplomats about seeking peace while plotting an act of war.
He need not grovel. He need not beg for forgiveness. Indeed, U.S.-Japan relations are stronger than ever at this moment seven decades after the two nations’ forces fought each other to the death throughout the Pacific Theater of Operations.
He’ll emphasize the “reconciliation” that has occurred. That’s fine. We all know that it is strong.
The act of war that precipitated the era of good feelings that followed, however, ought to require a statement of contrition from the leader of the government that caused all that senseless carnage in the first place.