I’m not so sure I believe him.
Japan’s ambassador to the United States apologized Saturday on behalf of his country for the 65-mile forced walk of U.S. troops and allies during World War II that left some 11,000 prisoners of war dead.
“As former prime ministers of Japan have repeatedly stated: The Japanese people should bear in mind that we must look into the past and to learn from the lessons of history,” Ichiro Fujisaki said at the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
He said his country was extending a heartfelt apology for “having caused tremendous damage and suffering to many people, including prisoners of war, those who have undergone tragic experiences.”
Although Fujisaki received a standing ovation from about half of the 400 to 500 attendees, others said the apology was overdue and didn’t seem sincere.
Former POW Hershel C. Boushey told the ambassador that he did not accept “your apology,” and that the atrocities and mistreatment many suffered was severe.
In 1942, Japanese captors marched about 78,000 prisoners of war — 12,000 Americans and 66,000 Filipinos — for six days on the Philippine island of Luzon to a prisoner-of-war camp in what became known as the Bataan Death March. Many prisoners were denied food, water or medical care, and some were stabbed or beheaded.
……Survivor Tony Montoya, of Woodland, California, also questioned Fujisaki’s sincerity.
“This young man knows very little of the atrocities,” Montoya said. “They probably rehearsed him on it.”
I tend to agree with the critics. The resentment of World War II vets against the Japanese is justified. The Japanese were especially brutal and sadistic in their treatment of POWs and were certainly on par with the Nazis.
It’s a nice gesture on Fujisaki’s part, but many Japanese still believe their actions were acceptable.
Their school textbooks gloss over their culpability for WWII, often portraying them as ‘victims’ rather than instigators. For America’s part, we never held the same level of war crimes trials against the Imperial Japanese (or the Fascist Italians) as we did the Nazis.
The atomic bomb brought a swift end to the war in the Pacific and hastened the freedom of Allied POWs.
Those who think we shouldn’t have dropped the bombs on Japan mistakenly believe that they would have surrendered under any other circumstances. They thought Hirohito was a god and would have blindly fought to every last man, woman and child. A land invasion of American troops would have resulted in the deaths of thousands more Americans.
I’m interested in seeing the reaction of the Japanese population to their Ambassador’s apology.