Japan’s homework assignment for this month: Call German diplomats! An interesting article in the (Rev. Moon-owned) Washington times from UPI had an interesting suggestion for Japan:
Several respondents mentioned Germany’s role in dealing with its past as an opportunity for Japan to heal wounds and deal with the future.
The best answer came from a European envoy who told UPI, “Germany holds a knife that can cut the Gordian Knot.”
“The Germans have had big influence on Japan’s development going back to the early days of the country’s military, industrial, and institution building along Western patterns,” the envoy said.
“The last lesson Germany can show Japan is how to apologize,” the diplomat added.
The foreign representative noted: “Don’t forget Asians and Westerners measure time in different ways; we look at anniversaries in terms of five and ten years’ time passing- China gave neighboring countries a 60-year calendar which runs full circle this year.”
“Picture this scenario,” the diplomat said. “Germany and Japan together express remorse and apologize for the wrongs they did first in May (when Nazi Germany capitulated) then August (when Imperial Japan surrendered).”
The diplomat believes “joint apologies in Europe and Asia allow the Japanese an initial face saving measure and formula that could enable Japan to apologize on its own in the future.”
Perhaps. UPI notes that Sino-Japanese relations are at a critical impasse, with both sides entrenched and unable to break a destructive cycle of mutual bitter feelings that could destabilize the region unless something is done immediately.
Seems like a great idea, for Japan at least. Germany doesn’t have nearly as much to do to convince the world that it’s really sorry about World War II. Germany doesn’t have much to gain from associating itself with Japan’s method of apology. Looking at it from a cynical political perspective, Japan has to make it worth Germany’s while. That way Japan’s image will improve and maybe China would even support its entry to the UNSC. But I think Japan also has an obligation to express its regret and apology on the 60th anniversary of its surrender.