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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 January 29 - February 4  > Nation blind to its negative history will be isolated in the world
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2014 January 29 - February 4 TOP3 [HISTORY]
column 

Nation blind to its negative history will be isolated in the world

January 29, 2014
Akahata ‘current’ column

In freezing cold weather, Holocaust survivors talked about their horrible experiences at a ceremony held in Washington D.C. to commemorate the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The number of the survivors is declining as they are getting older. Meanwhile, the number of those visiting the site of the concentration camp is increasing and young people are frequently seen among them.

Since the end of World War II, the governments of Germany and Poland have made joint efforts so that children of the two countries can study history using a common textbook.

Germany and France have also made similar efforts for a long time. Many nations in Europe, including Germany, have focused on teaching about Nazi war crimes in schools. Through these consistent efforts, they have developed mutual understanding and appreciation for peace.

What about Japan? The country has yet to create common ground with other Asian nations it invaded during the war. Japan’s ties with China and South Korea have increasingly been worsened since Prime Minister Abe Shinzo took office in December 2012. The recent remarks by the NHK president which rationalized Japan’s wartime sexual slavery system provoked fierce anger inside and outside the country.

The Imperial Japanese Army engaged in barbarous acts under its colonial rule. It claimed a tremendous number of lives abroad in a bid to expand Japan’s territory. Instead of collaborating to depict these historical facts with neighbors, Japan’s rulers continue clinging to historical interpretations that justify Japan’s past actions which in turn provoke anger, mistrust, and humiliation.

There is a clear difference between nations facing up to their past wrongdoings and a country ignoring them. The future of the people socialized with a distorted “patriotism” and “pride of nation” is bleak and dangerous. In order not to isolate Japan in the global community, we have to work to drive out of the political arena the forces trying to turn back the tide of history.
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